We all know what an IQ (intelligence quotient) is and that most of us fall within the average range. We use names like “smart,” “intelligent,” “dumb,” “idiot,” and “stupid,” when talking about a person’s level of intelligence. What most people do not know is that we also possess an EQ (emotional quotient) or EI (emotional intelligence) which is our level of emotional intelligence.
Emotional intelligence is difficult to measure in numbers because it is that “thing” inside us that recognizes emotions in ourselves and others, then guides us to respond. Understanding emotions may seem unimportant or trivial but in fact, it is the opposite. In fact, it is widely believed by experts that a person’s level of emotional intelligence may be a better predictor of success and overall happiness than their IQ.
What is emotional intelligence?
Having a high level of emotional intelligence means you can accurately express your feelings and take responsibility for them. People often say things like, “You hurt my feelings,” and “You shouldn’t have,” which puts blame on the other person for the way you feel. A person with high EI realizes the feeling belongs to him and responds with statements such as “I was hurt by that.”
Being emotionally intelligent means you can identify and manage not only your own emotions but the emotions of others too. It means you have an awareness of your own feelings and are able to balance emotion and reason. You can recognize feelings and emotions in others and show empathy and compassion, which is a crucial part of all relationships both business and personal. For example, a good leader has the ability to understand what motivates others and build on that motivation.
7 signs you are emotionally smart
Although emotional intelligence is not completely understood, it has become increasingly known that it plays a critical role in our quality of life. A person who is emotionally intelligent generally has better physical health, a more positive outlook, fulfilling relationships, and is more successful than those with low EI.
- You can read non-verbal communication – this means you are able to look at someone and know by the look on their face, the way they hold their arms, their posture, etc. what their mood is.
- You are interested in other people and their feelings/thoughts – when someone asks you “what are you thinking about?”, it shows their interest in understanding. Emotionally intelligent people want to know and understand others and genuinely listen to their answers.
- You are emotionally resilient – bad things happen in life. You lose a good job, your significant other moves on without you, you have setbacks and know there will be more coming. However, you also know you are strong enough to persevere until better times come. You do not internalize failure.
- You know where you need improvement – People with low EI make the world believe they know everything and can anything. When something goes wrong they put the blame anywhere but on themselves. If you have a high EI you know the areas in your life that need improvement. You are always learning and therefore always growing.
- You are aware of your own feelings – you know how you are feeling, what caused the feeling and how to process and deal with the feeling. Your feelings guide you toward finding a solution rather than shut you down.
- You avoid negative self-talk – When something does not go right, even if it was by your own mistake, you do not berate and belittle yourself. You are able to acknowledge what went wrong and explore your options for solving the problem, then move forward and do so.
- You pursue success – You have dreams and strategy to make those dreams a reality. You set goals and regardless of how long it takes you meet each one. You deal with setbacks, adjust shortcomings, and know that the only way you will lose is if you quit.
How many of these qualities do you possess? The good news is that unlike brain intelligence (IQ), emotional intelligence can be raised to some extent. Part of our EI is innate, part of it is shaped by our environment, and another part of it is our attitude. Are you willing to learn to understand and conquer your emotions? Are you interested in becoming a better problem-solver? Do you want to achieve your goals?
Developing your emotional intelligence allows you the opportunity to avoid miscommunications and misunderstandings. It deepens your relationships and helps you balance work, home, and fun in a meaningful way. Remember, the biggest determinant of success is measured by EQ, not IQ.