your partner in
emotional intelligence

Grant yourself to live with High Touch

Learn how to move your reason and to reason your emotions

What is emothink’s model of emotional intelligence?

emothink proposes a new model of emotional intelligence called Homo emoticus, in opposition to the anthropological hypothesis of economists, which they call Homo economicus.

Homo economicus dominates economics and to some extent all the social sciences. It is also implicitly the one that governs the business world and the life of the company. According to this hypothesis, human beings are eminently rational beings who determine their choices on the basis of a cost-benefit analysis: What does it cost? What does it yield?

The problem with theories about human behavior is that they influence the reality they are supposed to describe. The more one believes in a theory, the more one conforms to it, and the more it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy, for better and for worse. With the hypothesis of Homo economicus, one comes to consider only the material interest of people. In this way, as well as in others, this hypothesis is excessively reductive.

With the hypothesis of Homo emoticus, the perspective is radically opposite. Human beings are no longer conceived as exclusively rational beings but as essentially emotional beings who experience not rational reasonings but passionate reasonings, to use an expression of Théodule Ribot, the father of French psychology.

The Homo emoticus perspective makes it possible to understand human behaviors that seem irrational—namely, they are irrational because they are emotional.

If one understands the reason within emotions, emotions can become intelligible and understandable. If emotions are taken into account, it is possible, for example, to understand why thousands of people around the world work free of charge on their own time and anonymously to build the largest encyclopedia in the history of humankind. I am talking about Wikipedia. Also, this hypothesis helps us understand why the number of blood donors may decrease when it is proposed to pay them for their donations, as has been observed in the United Kingdom. We can also better understand the problems of motivation at work, absenteeism or presenteeism, stress or burnout.

We hear much talk today about improving well-being at work. Yet well-being is a feeling. It corresponds to an emotional state in which positive emotions dominate and negative emotions have virtually disappeared. Homo emoticus offers a much better account of well-being and how to achieve it than does the Homo economicus hypothesis.

Simply put, the Homo emoticus model allows us to make more sense out of all that human beings are and therefore to provide us with a much better foundation for meeting human needs and desires.

How does the so-called Homo emoticus model developed by emothink work?

Homo emoticus is a new anthropological hypothesis aimed at explaining human behavior through four emotions considered as primary: fear, envy, admiration, and gratitude.

This theory sheds light on a list of emotions that is much different than the classical list of emotions provided by the ancient Stoics, which included joy, sadness, desire, and fear, or the one of psychologists specialized on emotions, such as Paul Ekman, which distinguishes six main emotions: joy, surprise, sadness, disgust, fear, and anger.

Our approach is different because it finds its justification, not in the impressionistic observation of the physical manifestations of emotions, but in the identification of phenomena activating these emotions: the danger for fear, the obstacle for envy, the perfection for admiration, and the gift for gratitude. In other words, we are more interested in why an emotion is activated rather than in how it is activated. Knowing the why of things is usually more useful in life than knowing the how.

In the Homo emoticus perspective, joy, sadness, and anger are not primary but secondary emotions—that is, they are not their own cause but are caused by other emotions.

It is thus necessary to understand that some emotions arouse others, that some emotions derive from others. Thus, for example, we are not joyful without reason, and we are not merry due to joy. Rather, we are merry because of admiration or gratitude. We are joyful because we meet a perfection or a gift. As a result, joy arises largely from admiration or gratitude. In the same way, we are not sad by sadness or angry by anger, but we are sad or angry because we encounter a danger or an obstacle. And so we are sad or angry out of fear or envy.

Once we understand this approach, we start to gain a certain hold on emotional life, ours and that of the others, because we learn how to effectively act on it, by activating or deactivating these four phenomena: danger, obstacle, perfection, and gift. In doing so, we activate or deactivate fear, envy, admiration, or gratitude, which in turn will activate joy, sadness, or anger.

This is the heart of the Homo emoticus method we propose at emothink. We use it in dealing with interpersonal, parental, conjugal, private, or professional relations as well as in inter-organizational, inter-company, or intergovernmental relations. This approach is effective in any human relationship, because the same emotions are at work, regardless of one’s age, sex, or culture. Ours is a universal method of managing human relations.

How do emotions play an essential role in our interactions at work?

Emotions play an essential role in our interactions at work because they determine our motivation and well-being at work and everywhere else.

In our research, we have found that the whole issue of well-being at work needs to take into account four emotions: fear, envy, admiration, and gratitude. Indeed, each of them defines a certain spirit at work.

If you work under the influence of fear, you are like a slave obsessed with survival or security. If you work under the influence of envy, you are like a mercenary obsessed by your wealth or social superiority. If you work under the influence of admiration, you work like a craftsman captivated by beauty or excellence. And finally, if you work under the action of gratitude, you are like a volunteer inflamed by love or communion.

The slave, the mercenary, the craftsman, and the volunteer are four figures of the individual at work that we can directly relate to the dominant influence of one of these four emotions. Of course, we endorse each of these figures according to the different moments of our lives, depending on the main emotion that dominates us.

We have also found that the same four emotions essentially drive our behavior when we work as a team or when we are in a managerial position. Whatever roles or responsibilities we have, these emotions play an integral and critical role in what we do and why we do it. They can even impact how we perform our work and develop our work relationships.

emothink wants to help you become aware of the spirit that animates you at work and to, as much as possible, introduce in your work life the spirit of craftwork and voluntary work—the only possible way, we believe, for you to recover a good quality of life at work.