The Secret to High Performance and Fulfilment – Daniel Goleman

Psychologist Daniel Goleman shot to fame with his groundbreaking bestseller Emotional Intelligence. Raw intelligence alone is not a sure predictor of success in life. A greater role is played by ‘softer’ skills such as self-control, self-motivation, empathy and good interpersonal relationships.

Ingredients for Rapport

  1. Full mutual attention
  2. Non verbal synchrony: body language
  3. Feels good

Type of Attention

  • Selective attention: focus on one thing and ignore others
  • Sustained attention: holding and maintaining attention over a period of time
  • Alternative attention: ability to switch or transfer focus from activity to another
  • Divided attention: ability to focus on 2 or more things at the same time

Leaders Need 3 Kinds of Focus:

  • Inner Focus: when making decisions, we draw in our experience to make that decision. It’s a prehistorical part of our biology, which is the gut feeling. Important that people are intune with their gut feeling
  • Ability to Read People: cognitive empathy (I understand how you think about things), emotional empathy (sense of what’s going on in another person), empathic concern (how can I help)
  • Outer Focus: understand the ecosystem of your organization, big picture thinking view


  • Sensory distractors: background distractions
  • Emotional distractors: thought about the conversation that didn’t go so well

How to Train Attention

  • Sit straight
  • Focus on your breath
  • If your mind goes somewhere else, then bring it back and restart

Other Notes

  • Attention is now besieged like never before and it’s becoming a rarer commodity
  • Performance is highest when it’s between no stress and over stress; when you’re 100% focused
  • When stress is high, your emotions take over and impacts performance
  • When stress is low, you’re unmotivated and disengaged
  • Attention is like a muscle, where similar to going to the gym, it can be trained
  • One definition of maturity is lengthening the gap between impulse and action
  • Learn to delay of gratification in pursuit of your goals
  • Emotions are contagious when we pay full attention to each other
  • People tend to follow the emotions of the leaders; if the leader is in a bad mood, the team is often also in a bad mood
  • If we align what we’re passionate about, what we’re engaged with and what we value in our ethics, we natuarally perform better