EQ Theory: The Prime Six

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To begin building a robust emotional vocabulary and increase EQ, there are a total of 107 emotions incorporated into Conversational EQ Levels I to IV. The more you incorporate these emotions into your conversations, the more emotional intelligence you will develop.

"I feel..." "I Think..."

The most important mechanic of the Prime Six Courage Club is the differentiation between "I feel..." and "I think..." statements. Most of the time, when we say "I feel" it is really what we think. The first EQ technique we learn is to organize our communication for the sake of our brains (we will discuss later how this especially relates to children). This is important because:

  • The brain is designed to differentiate between feelings and thoughts.
  • Mixing up "I feel" for "I think" confuses the brain.
  • Using "I feel" and "I think" properly regulates and engages both hemispheres.
  • Saying, "I feel..." in present tense keeps us intentional and present for regulation.
  • Saying "I think..." acknowledges and takes responsibilities that are thoughts impact our emotions and vice versa.

The Prime Six

There are 6 emotion cards that are marked with the words, "Prime Six". We use these cards to teach how emotions affect your brain and EQ. 

In the first years of life, babies are meant to learn how to navigate through six key emotions. This is done completely non-verbally by observing facial communication. These emotions are like primary colours on an artist's palette for a lifetime of rich and creative emotional expression. Unfortunately, depending upon our parental resources as children, we don't always get a chance to learn healthy skills to regulate these Prime Six emotions. The good news is it's never too late to learn!

The Prime Six emotions are:

  1. Anger
  2. Disgust
  3. Fear
  4. Sadness
  5. Hopeless Despair
  6. Shame

Mixing the Prime Six

Each emotion can be used to break down more complex emotions. For example:

  • Anger + Hopeless Despair = Enraged
  • Fear + Shame = Dread
  • Hopeless Despair + Shame = Overwhelmed

Knowing the Prime Six can help break down more complex emotions for healthier responses and regulation.

The Emotions Scale

The Prime Six are part of a bigger emotional scale framework. There has been scientific research into the vibratory frequencies of human bodies when experiencing different levels of emotional consciousness. There are also studies on how different emotions have psychological and biological impacts on the brain. Using this research, the list of emotions was adapted into a scale for the purpose of enhancing EQ development through conversations. 

The Emotions Scale is:

  • + 7 Peace
  • + 6 Joy
  • + 5 Love
  • + 4 Understanding
  • + 3 Acceptance
  • + 2 Optimism
  • + 1 Trust
  • = 0 Courage
  • - 1 Pride
  • - 2 Anger
  • - 3 Disgust
  • - 4 Fear
  • - 5 Sadness
  • - 6 Hopeless Despair
  • - 7 Shame

The actual value of the emotions on the scale is not important. It is the order, and relation of the emotions to each other, that is key to EQ development. In particular, we highlight five emotions for better understanding.


Shame has been measured to be the lowest vibratory frequency in human consciousness. The next step after shame is death. With enough toxic shame, an individual will decide to 'hide forever' and fall into very destructive behaviours, including suicide. 



Pride, in relation to the Prime Six, is the emotion that comes from thinking something is 'good' as opposed to being 'bad'. For example, if we feel pride in terms of our skills at work, we think we are 'good' employees as opposed to 'bad ones'.

As the adage goes, prides always goes before a fall. This is true for the emotional scale. Pride has a negative vibratory frequency in human consciousness. Although not part of the Prime Six, we say that pride is the emotion that begins the downward slope into lower frequencies. Pride also gets us stuck in the Prime Six and leads to inappropriate behaviours. For example, when pride is added to anger and disgust, we feel contempt. Contempt is the number one emotion that leads to failed marriages.


The tipping point between the negative and positive level of human consciousness is courage. It takes courage to be vulnerable and authentic with one's emotions. It takes courage to trust the process of Collaborative Change over defaulting to the Corrective Complex. It takes courage to even play the Conversational EQ game! When you act courageously, you are moving into positive emotional possibilities. Courage opens you up for trust, optimism, acceptance, understanding, love, joy and peace.

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