The Heart of a Winner

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Author: Pieter van Jaarsveld

Publisher:   Lux Verbi B.M

Reviewer: Goke Ilesanmi


Winners are a rare breed with a special dominant attribute, that is, tenacity. They naturally hold on to their goals until success is achieved. That informs the popular antithetical maxim “winners never quit and quitters never win”. Now that we are in a new year, we need to hold on to our goals and resolutions with the tenacity of winners to be able to achieve outstanding success. That is why we are reviewing this text entitled “The Heart of a Winner” this week.

It is written by Dr Pieter van Jaarsveld, a renowned international consultant in leadership training in the corporate business world. Jaarsveld holds two master’s degrees in Psychology and Theology and a doctorate for his thesis on the self-esteem of people. He is an optimist who possesses a good sense of humour and real love for life. This author takes hold of the real issue at the heart of personal success, that is, our emotional well-being. In this book, Jaarsveld shows exactly how to become what God has already created us to be.

According to him, there are numerous definitions of emotional intelligence(EI), although many lack sufficient research to properly substantiate the views of their exponents. He says Goleman defines emotional intelligence as the capacity for recognising our own feelings and those of others, for motivating ourselves and for managing emotions in ourselves and in our relationships.

Jaarsveld says he prefers the definition of Reuven Bar-On, who began his research in Grahamstown in 1985, and in August 1996 developed the assessment instrument known as the “EQi”. This assessment instrument for EI, according to Jaarsveld, is now recognised in South Africa as the best and extensive research has been based on it. EI is an array of non-cognitive abilities, competencies and skills which influence one’s ability to succeed in coping with environmental demands and pressures. This author submits that a lot of books have been published on EQ which emphasise the emotional dimension of intelligence only, but he personally believes that it is the collective non-cognitive dimensions of intelligence which determine success in life, rather than merely the emotional.

Structurally, this book is divided into two parts of seven chapters. Part one is generically christened “EQ skills for adults” and contains five chapters. Chapter one is entitled “Self-mastery and self-regard”. In this chapter, Jaarsveld stresses the enhancement of self-confidence through acquisition of skills to improve self-mastery and self-regard. This author says you can utilise your potential more fully by changing your negative conditioning, learning to use mind power and developing an ability to manage self-talk. According to Jaarsveld, our minds are greater than what we can imagine, but what happens in reality is that people walk around burdened by feelings of insecurity, inferiority, depression and inadequacy.

He says the concept of self-fufilling prophecy can be a significant factor in one’s daily life as it involves the idea that other people have had a major impact on one’s beliefs and attitudes. Jaarsveld reflects that our minds are somewhat like the memory of a computer as that which is programmed into the memory will remain. He adds that generally, it cannot even be deleted or destroyed by a virus and the only way to change this information is to re-programme it.

Chapter two is entitled “Emotional self-awareness”. Here, this author offers you tips on how to manage your emotions as well as deal more effectively with anger and criticism. According to Jaarsveld, “Emotional self-awareness is the ability to recognise your emotions and to differentiate between them. It is important to know what you are feeling, why you are feeling that way, and what has caused these feelings. Self-awareness is the key to emotional intelligence which, as among other things, is important to one’s success in the workplace.” This author discusses the intelligence of emotions and offers tips for improving your self-awareness and managing your emotions.

In chapters three to five, Jaarsveld examines concepts such as optimism; stress management and self-actualisation.

Part two is conceptually woven together as “EQ skills for children”. Chapter six is entitled “Leading children towards personal competence”. In this chapter, the techniques and principles to help parents and others who work with children to enhance the self-esteem and self-regard of those children are discussed. According to Jaarsveld, “Research has shown that the EQ skills which determine a child’s enthusiastic and optimistic learning at school are the same as those which will determine his or her success in the workplace later on in life. They will also determine that person’s success at marriage and other relationships, as well as how effectively he or she will handle life and unleash potential.”

He says James Flynn of the University of Otago, New Zealand has discovered that the general IQ has increased by over 20 points since it was first measured in the last century. In Jaarsveld’s words, “Children are getting smarter and smarter, but emotional and social skills (important EQ dimensions) are rapidly decreasing. The perception children later have of themselves is largely fashioned by that which was projected to them by their parents. The child who is always being shouted at and criticised, is likely to later regard himself as being worthless.”

Chapter seven has the thematic focus of specific EQ skills such as self-motivation, optimism, self-control, honesty, integrity, trust, humour, socialising, emotional awareness, communication, social responsibility, empathy, caring and problem-solving.

Conceptually, this text maintains depth. It is expected, given the author’s twin educational background in Psychology and Theology.

Stylistically, one thing that stands out this book is the uniqueness of its logical presentation. Apart from the simplicity of the language, this author employs suggestive and reflective illustrations, fascinating personal anecdotes, quotes, biblical allusions, literary/classical allusions, acrostics, self-help tests and diagrams for the purpose of analytical reinforcement, notional clarity, active reader participation and concrete conviction on readers’ part. However, in chapter two, the second redundant preposition “to” should have been removed in the expression “Emotional self-awareness is the ability to recognise your emotions and to differentiate between them.”

Finally, this book is fantastic. It is a must-read for every leader, business person, parent, child worker, etc., interested in effective personal development and long-lasting success.

GOKE ILESANMI (FIIM, FIMC, CMC), CEO of Gokmar Communication Consulting, is an International Platinum Columnist, Professional Public Speaker, Career Mgt Coach and Certified Mgt Consultant. He is also a Book Reviewer, Biographer and Editorial Consultant.

Tel: 08055068773; 08187499425

Email: gokeiles2010@gmail.com

Website: www.gokeilesanmi.com.ng


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