The Science of Connection

Increase your social skills and create connections with research-backed tips from Wonder.

Emotional Intelligence

5 Animations That Will Make You Better at Life

As a concept, emotional intelligence can seem a little abstract.

Most of us get it in theory, but it’s hard knowing what it looks like in real life. Luckily, the internet has an enormous amount of resources that can help us understand EQ better. We went ahead and did the hard work for you, going through the good, the bad, and the ugly EQ-related videos on YouTube to bring you this delightful list of informative and inspiring animations. Each of them will teach you about one of the five key components of emotional intelligence, and hopefully inspire you to grow. We hope you enjoy them!


We’ve all tried to help a friend in need at some point in our lives. Problem is, most of us have been going about it in the wrong way. In this beautifully animated talk, Brené Brown explains the difference between offering sympathy and having empathy — and why the latter works best.


Sometimes saying “no” to ourselves in the present is difficult, but it essential for our future happiness. In this cute little animation from Epipheo, Kelly McGonigal explains the different types of willpower that we need to overcome our daily desires, and how a little self-regulation can allow us to focus on what’s really important in our lives.


In order to make changes in your life, you need to understand your own emotions, and the strengths and limitations that go with them. This beautiful animation, produced by students from the Gobelins Film School, depicts one woman’s attempt to take control of her own life…and her imaginary crocodile!


What motivates us to get up in the morning for work? According to Dan Pink in this wonderful short from RSA, it’s not the financial carrot on a stick that drives us forward, but something deep within ourselves.

Social skills

Social skills are a very visible part of emotional intelligence, and probably the most important to success.  Without social skills, we can’t build meaningful relationships with people, and we struggle to get ahead in our careers. Where our social skills come from, and how they develop is still up for debate, but according to this informative short from NPR, play could be the answer!

P.S. Loved these videos? Then subscribe to our YouTube channel for more!

Connection, Social Skills

5 Infallible Ways to Become Even More Likable

Loving and accepting yourself is paramount, but being someone others enjoy having around can also help make you happier and more successful.

A Harvard study suggests that, at work, being likable matters more than being smart or competent. Researchers found that most people prefer to work with someone they like than with someone they don’t like, even if the person they don’t like could do a better job.

Scientists also have solid evidence that strong social relationships — a direct result of being able to get along with people — has been proven to increase someone’s survival odds by 50%. That’s twice as much as exercise, and just as powerful as not smoking.

So, while it’s vitally important to have a positive self-esteem, the esteem of others’ goes a long way in your health, success and happiness too.

Now, how do you increase your people skills? Here are five strategies that have been proven to work:

Expect the best
Be a social optimist and expect that the new people you meet are going to love you. You will subconsciously be more open and warmer with those you are talking to, and of course, be much more approachable.

Pay Attention
Is someone talking to you? Then sit upright, put the phone away, and make eye contact. Giving people your undivided attention will make them feel important. And everybody likes to feel important.

Don’t Brag
Are you awesome? Have you just come back from a trip around the world? Good for you, but don’t tell everyone. Research shows that self-promotion tends to backfire, and that sharing stories of your incredible adventures may actually lead to people excluding you.

Ask For Advice
When you ask people for advice, it makes them feel like experts. Never miss an opportunity to ask others for tips, whether it’s for an upcoming trip, a great place to eat, or feedback here on Wonder. They’ll love it that you thought to ask them in the first place.

Be Curious
Dale Carnegie said, “You can make more friends in two months by becoming interested in other people than you can in two years by trying to get other people interested you.” So ask questions, try to really get to know people. They’ll be surprised (and delighted!) you want to know more about them.

Wonder Types

Anaïs Nin: The Artist

French author Anaïs Nin (1903-1977) sought to discover and grow as a woman and artist and to live her life to the fullest.

A prolific writer of diaries, she began her first at age eleven. She published a total of sixteen journals spanning more than fifty years of her life. Her heightened self-awareness is a result of an intense desire to listen her inner voice and understand her story.

Mirages: The Unexpurgated Diary of Anaïs Nin, 1939–1947

A woman not bound by the norms of her time, she pursued multiple, often simultaneous love affairs, including a torrid romance with the writer Henry Miller in the early 1930’s. Nin believed emotional excess made her more creative:

“Something is always born of excess: great art was born of great terrors, great loneliness, great inhibitions, instabilities, and it always balances them.”

With her heightened self-awareness and low self-regulation, she personifies the The Artist EQ Type.

On Wonder, we learn that:

Artists are sensitive souls who sometimes let their emotions get the best of them.

The Artist can teach The CoachThe High-Speed Racer, The Entertainer, and The Soldier to increase their self-awareness.

Nin’s number one formula was keeping a diary. “It was while writing a diary that I discovered how to capture the living moments,” she said. She also believed that new experiences and psychotherapy were valuable tools for learning about oneself.

The Artist can also inspire The BossThe DiplomatThe Soldier, and The Lone Wolf to let go of control, even if just a little.

Nin’s way was surrounding herself with young people, who reminded her of the importance of staying curious and taking risks. She also sought challenges and was never regretful or fearful of failure.

One of Nin’s most famous quotes is, “Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one’s courage.”

Growth Mindset

Will You Reach Your Full Potential? Ask Yourself One Question To Find Out

Are people born smart or creative, or can they develop these traits over time?

How you answer this question says a lot about you. In fact, it determines how you approach challenges, and helps predict whether you will achieve your full potential or not.

If you think qualities like intelligence and creativity are carved in stone — you’re born with a certain amount and that amount stays the same throughout your lifetime — you’re doing yourself a huge disservice.

According to psychology professor Carol Dweck, the idea that you can’t change or improve (what she calls a “fixed mindset”) is the most powerful — and toxic — belief you can have.

“The fixed mindset creates an urgency to prove yourself over and over,” writes Dweck. A fixed-mindsetter who is considered smart may not admit when he doesn’t know the answer for fear of looking dumb. As a consequence, he misses out on opportunities for learning something new.

Dweck’s research shows that fixed-mindsetters live under the belief that talent is born, not made. When the picture they paint or the cake they bake doesn’t come out perfect on the first attempt, they conclude they just don’t have what it takes to master those skills. They see the need for practice as an evidence of incompetence, so they don’t allow themselves to fail until they succeed.

The fear of tackling challenges combined with a contempt for effort is a recipe for underachievement. Ultimately, a fixed mindset will hold you back from learning and growing.

If you want to do all that you were put on this world to do, you need to start thinking differently. Cultivate a growth mindset, and success — in the form of curiosity and contentment — will follow.

Emotional Intelligence

4 ways increasing your EQ can help your career

With so many technical skills you can learn to improve your performance at work, emotional intelligence might be at the bottom of your to-do list. But more and more studies show that investing in your EQ can actually help you advance in your career faster than, say, mastering Excel or learning to code. Here are five reasons why you should make increasing your emotional intelligence a top priority:

  1. It will make you more friends at work

Becoming more emotionally intelligent means increasing your empathy and social awareness —two skills that help you win more friends at the office. Think you don’t need friends at work? Think again. Research done by the OfficeVibe found that 70% of employees say friends at work is crucial to a happy working life. Employees that have a best friend at work are 137% more motivated to develop as a person and as a professional, and have a 35% higher commitment to quality.

  1. It will help you perform better in any job

Emotional intelligence plays a big role in your productivity —it’s what helps you meet that sales target in spite of your recent breakup, and quickly turn out an impeccable press release in the middle of a crisis. According to EQ experts Travis Bradberry and Jean Greaves, EQ is responsible for 58 percent of performance in all types of jobs. “It’s the single biggest predictor of performance in the workplace and the strongest driver of leadership and personal excellence.”

  1. It will make you money

Emotional intelligence has been proven to help you bring home a bigger paycheck. According to Bradberry and Greaves, people with a high EQ make approximately $ 29,000 more per year. “The link between EQ and earnings is so direct that every point increase in EQ adds $ 1,300 to an annual salary. These findings hold true for people in all industries, at all levels, in every region of the world,” they wrote. Their thesis is supported by a recent study from the University of Bonn, which found that people who are good at recognizing emotions have an income that is “significantly higher”.

  1. It may land you the job

“CEOs are hired for their intellect and business expertise—and fired for a lack of emotional intelligence,” an executive told Daniel Goleman. Companies like Johnson & Johnson and L’Oreal have realized that hiring people with a high EQ saves them time and money in the long run, and so have incorporated emotional intelligence as a criteria in their recruiting processes. Even if the company you want to work for doesn’t assess emotional intelligence, having worked on your EQ skills will still pay off when you go on your job interview —self-awareness, self-regulation and social awareness will help you keep your cool and connect with your recruiters more easily.

Feedback, Growth Mindset

The Truth About Negative Feedback: It’s Not Just About You

Most of us mistakenly believe that the labels and judgments we get from other people concern only ourselves. Actually, they reveal a lot about the people who made them.

Criticism is people’s way of hinting at their unresolved feelings and unmet needs. A person who calls you insensitive may be (awkwardly) asking for your affection.

“Well, if that’s what they want,” you may ask, “why don’t they just say so?”

Short answer: because it’s hard. Most of us aren’t in touch with how we feel, and those of us who are don’t always know how to articulate it.

Get better at expressing your feelings

On top of that, saying how we truly feel makes us vulnerable, something we’ve learned to think of as negative. So, instead of admitting we’re sad, scared, frustrated, angry, jealous or disappointed, we talk about how bad other people, and all the things they are doing, are.

Learn to give negative feedback

With needs, it’s the same story. We weren’t trained to think in terms of needs; instead, we learned to think about what is wrong with other people whenever our needs are not being met. So, if we need peace and quiet to concentrate on our work at the office, for example, we’ll think of anyone who laughs and talks loudly around our desks as rude and obnoxious.

Looking at criticism as a reflection of people’s needs and emotions helps us deal with it more productively. It also makes us more empathetic.

So let’s imagine that a good friend tells you, “You’re the most selfish person I know.”

You may react by:

1)   Blaming yourself
“Wow, I must be a really bad friend!”

2)   Blaming your friend
“You can’t say that! I’m always doing you favors! YOU’RE the one who’s selfish!”

3)   Expressing your own feelings and needs
“I’m really hurt to hear you say that, because I need some acknowledgment for all the times I’ve considered what you wanted, too.”

Blaming yourself makes you feel guilty, ashamed, and depressed —all of which are bad for your self-esteem. Blaming the other person doesn’t help and can end up ruining the relationship. Finally, simply expressing your feelings while ignoring the other person’s won’t improve the situation.

The counter-intuitive, but more proactive way to respond is:

4)   Helping the other person express how they feel and what their needs are
“Are you upset because you’d like me to ask you about your preferences more?”

If you want to help the other person and learn something useful in the process, go with #4.

Feedback, Social Skills

How to give good “bad” feedback

We all need honesty in our lives. Together with love, acceptance, empathy, and encouragement, honesty helps fulfill our basic human need of interdependence. Yet we rarely get the kind of honesty that empowers us and helps us learn from our limitations. Instead, we get criticism.

Criticism doesn’t tend to be helpful, and it rarely works. When our mothers tell us we dress like slobs, we may get annoyed, angry, or defensive, but we’re rarely inspired to change our wardrobe.

Perhaps one of the reasons is that criticism focuses so much on the receiver. The critic rarely tries to demonstrate how his feelings and needs are connected to what he’s criticizing, so it’s hard for the person receiving the feedback to have empathy to really listen.

So how do we give negative feedback positively? How do we give the people we care about the type of honesty they need to grow?

Marshall Rosenberg’s “nonviolent communication” teaches us to include an observation, a feeling, a need, and a request in our negative feedback, as explained below:

Observation: be specific about what you see

Giving (good) bad feedback requires paying attention. You have to be able to specifically describe what the other person is doing that is bothering you, and, if possible, to say when, where, and how. Most importantly, you have to be able to do this without judging or evaluating. Saying “You cancelled our last three dates ” is an observation, saying “You’re a flake” is an evaluation.

Feeling: show vulnerability

Identify what feelings you have about the situation. When you see the other person do the specific thing that bothers you, do you get nervous? Annoyed? Sad? Scared? Furious? Most of us have trouble figuring out how we feel. We also tend to confuse thoughts with feelings —we say things like, “I ‘feel’ like a failure” or “I ‘feel’ like this person is manipulating me” without realizing we’re not really saying how we feel. Another common mistake is to confuse our feelings with how we think others behave towards us. “Feeling” rejected, misunderstood, ignored or threatened reflects how we think others treat us, not how we feel.

Spot your exact feeling on our emotional cheat sheet

Need: recognize what you are lacking

After you identify how you truly feel, ask yourself what unfulfilled need might be at the root of that feeling. Judgments, evaluations and interpretations of others are actually expressions of personal needs not being met. For example, calling your partner “lazy” may simply mean that you need more help around the house.

Request: ask for something concrete

Once you’ve figured out what you need, it’s time to ask the person you’re giving feedback to for something specific, a concrete action. Use positive language (say what the person should do rather than what he or she should not do) and be as clear and precise as possible.

With the incorporation of observation, feeling, need and request, good “bad” feedback sounds like this:

When you cancel our plans at the last minute like you did tonight —and last Tuesday—, I’m disappointed, because I really look forward to us spending more time together. Would you be willing to set a day for us to meet every week?

When giving negative feedback, remember: your goal should not be to change the other person or their behavior to get what you want, but to develop relationships based on honesty and empathy, where everyone’s needs are met.

First Impressions, Personality

5 Things About You That Are Obvious To Most People In Just 10 Seconds

Have you ever made an effort to conceal something from your friends, only to find out later that what you were trying to hide was obvious to them from the start?

If you think only they can read you like that, think again. Studies show that even strangers can tell a great deal about you from observing you for just 10 seconds.

Researchers call it “thin slice vision”. It involves quickly —and accurately— extracting personal information from nonverbal cues (i.e., body language).

Thin slice vision is possible because, while we can easily control what we say, we can’t as easily control our facial expressions or how we move. Yet these non-verbal cues say a lot about our emotions, dispositions, internal goals and motives, and social relationships.

By looking at you for at least 10 seconds (and no longer than 5 minutes), a stranger can make accurate inferences about your:

  1. Personality traits

Strangers can easily tell whether you’re extraverted or introverted —and much more. Researchers Borkneau and Liebler asked a group of people (let’s call them group A) to answer questions about their personalities. Then, they filmed each of them reading a weather report. They later showed the video, on mute, to another group of people (we’ll call them group B), who answered questions about the personalities of members of group A. The answers group B gave matched the answers that members of group A had given themselves.

  1. Mood

In one study, researchers had people watch a silent video containing segments of admission interviews at a psychiatric hospital. Half the patients in the video were being admitted for depression, half for other reasons. Then, they asked spectators to point out who was being admitted for depression. They answered correctly 88% of the time.

  1. Sexual orientation

Sexual preferences are visible from thin slices. Researchers videotaped heterosexuals and homosexuals discussing topics not related to sex (e.g., the demands of academic and extracurricular activities). Then, they showed 10- and 1-second silent flashes of these videos to a group of volunteers, who were asked to judge the participants’ sexual orientation.  Again, answers were accurate most of the time.

  1. Biased attitudes

Can people tell, using visual nonverbal cues, whether a teacher is likely to be biased? A researcher answered this question by getting high school students to view a 10-second silent clip of teachers they didn’t know giving a lecture to a class full of students. Then, he asked them to rate the extent to which teacher could be expected to treat high- and low-achieving students equally during a one-on-one interaction. Their ratings matched those of each teacher’s own students.

  1. Intelligence

Strangers can infer the IQ of someone using one visual cue, according to one recent study: the eye gaze while speaking. Intelligent people gaze more at the people they’re talking to; people who gaze more at the people they’re talking to are generally perceived as more intelligent.

And you thought you could fool people.

Emotional Intelligence, Emotions

How Are You Feeling? Your (Surprisingly Detailed) Emotional Cheat Sheet

You may be feeling jittery, jealous, furious, frazzled, panic-stricken, petrified, lonely, bewildered. If someone asks you how you’re feeling, chances are you’ll say “awful”, or another vague word that won’t communicate your specific emotion.

Expressing our feelings can be harder than it seems. Most of us aren’t always in touch with how we feel, and even when we are, we don’t always know how to articulate our emotions. On top of that, saying how we truly feel makes us vulnerable, something we’ve learned to think of as negative.

But learning to identify and name our feelings helps us gain self-awareness, improves our communication, and increases our chances of getting exactly what we need. When we know how we truly feel and can articulate it,  we’re better able to help ourselves and get help from others. We’re also better able express gratitude.

To be specific about how you feel, you first need to know the wide range of emotions you can experience. Use this detailed list (created by Center for Nonviolent Communication), to expand your emotional vocabulary:


Friendly, affectionate, compassionate, loving, open-hearted, sympathetic, tender, warm

Curious, absorbed, alert, curious, engrossed, enchanted, engaged, entranced, fascinated, intrigued, interested, involved, spellbound, stimulated, hopeful

Confident, empowered, open, proud, safe, secure

Excited, amazed, animated, ardent, aroused, astonished, dazzled, eager, energetic, enthusiastic, giddy, invigorated, lively, passionate, surprised, vibrant

Grateful, appreciative, moved, thankful, touched

Inspired, amazed, awed

Happy, amused, delighted, glad, joyful, jubilant, pleased, tickled

Hopeful, expectant, encouraged, optimistic

Calm, clear-headed, comfortable, centered, equanimous, fulfilled, mellow, peaceful, quiet, relaxed, relieved, satisfied, serene, still, tranquil, trusting

Refreshed, enlivened, rejuvenated, renewed, rested, restored, revived 


Afraid, apprehensive, foreboding, frightened, mistrustful, panicked, scared, suspicious, terrified, wary, worried

Annoyed, aggravated, dismayed, disgruntled, displeased, exasperated, frustrated, impatient, irritated, irked

Angry, enraged, furious, incensed, indignant, irate, livid, outraged, resentful

Disgusted, appalled, horrified, hostile, repulsed

Confused, ambivalent, baffled, bewildered, dazed, hesitant, lost, mystified, perplexed, puzzled, torn

Bored, alienated, aloof, apathetic, bored, cold, detached, disconnected, distant, distracted, indifferent, numb, removed, uninterested, withdrawn

Upset, alarmed, discombobulated, disturbed, perturbed, rattled, restless, shocked, startled, surprised, troubled, turbulent, turmoil, uncomfortable, uneasy, unnerved, unsettled

Embarrassed, ashamed, chagrined, flustered, guilty, mortified, self-conscious

Anguished, bereaved, devastated, heartbroken, hurt, lonely, miserable, regretful, remorseful

Sad, depressed, dejected, despaired, despondent, disappointed, discouraged, disheartened, forlorn, gloomy, heavy-hearted, hopeless, melancholy, unhappy, wretched

Anxious, cranky, distressed, distraught, edgy, fidgety, frazzled, irritable, jittery, nervous, overwhelmed, restless, stressed out

Helpless, fragile, guarded, insecure, leery, reserved, sensitive, shaky, vulnerable

Jealous, envious, nostalgic, wistful

Now stop for a moment and ask yourself, how am I really feeling? 

© 2005 by Center for Nonviolent Communication |  Website: |  Email:  | Phone: +1.505.244.4041

Friendship, Personality

Why You’re Wrong About How Creative and Intelligent You Are (and other key things, too)

Next time you find yourself complaining about how little intelligence or creativity you have, see if your friends agree. Washington University study showed that friends are better at assessing our intelligence and creativity than we are.

The reason, according to Simine Vazire, the researcher behind the study, is that the high value we place on these two traits makes us too emotionally invested to rate ourselves accurately. Instead, we lean towards self-enhancement…or self-diminishment.

Our friends, who are not as attached to the identities we create for ourselves, are able to see us more clearly.

The same rule goes for other traits we tend to think of as desirable, according to Vazire. For example, our level of physical attractiveness, or how interesting a person we are, is more realistically assessed by our friends (and research suggests that most of us see ourselves as less attractive and less interesting than we really are.)

Friends also tend to be right when they judge us on traits that can be easily spotted from our facial expressions or how we move, like how extraverted we are, says the research. But when it comes to interpreting body language, closeness isn’t even that important. Strangers can tell just as much as friends.

See what strangers can accurately guess after looking at you for just 10 seconds.

Are we privileged at all when it comes to knowing our own selves? According to the study, we’re generally better at judging traits that express themselves more internally than externally —our levels of happiness, anxiety and self-esteem, for example.

But, as you probably guessed, close friends are able to see even these more subtle aspects of our personality.