What exactly is emotional intelligence?
Psychology Today (the world’s leading psychology and mental health professional’s journal) defines emotional intelligence as “the ability to identify and manage one’s own emotions, as well as the emotions of others.”
Emotional Intelligence is Complex
As simple as that sounds, it is an extremely complex and important concept to master.
There is no accepted quantifier (eg. psychometric test or scale) for emotional intelligence as there is for general intelligence factor. This is why many people argue that emotional intelligence is not an actual construct, but simply a way of describing a set of interpersonal skills.
In spite of the cynics and the relative newness of the term, the concept is a great way to describe a person’s interpersonal skills and therefore holds wide appeal. The term is widely used in the general public’s lexicon and also in specific fields. Some educational institutions and employers are incorporating EQ tests in their application processes.
Aspects of Emotional Intelligence
Emotional intelligence is said to include five skills: self-awareness, self-regulation, self-motivation, social awareness, relationship management.
Self-awareness: This is about knowing your limits, being confident but not arrogant, knowing your position in society as a whole and your family and friend groups. It is also about knowing your moods, emotions and desires and how to handle them without negatively affecting others or doing any self-harm.
Self-regulation: Having this trait means that you are able to control or regulate your impulses. For example, when you are tempted to lose your temper or give up on something out of anger, you press pause and think rather than react.
Self-motivation: What is your reason for doing what you do? Are you driven by money and status? Or do you truly love what you do? A person who is motivated by passion for their occupation or studies will always be a higher achiever.
Social awareness: Understanding what others are going through might be the single most important aspect of emotional intelligence. As one of literature’s most beloved characters, Atticus Finch (To Kill a Mockingbird) tells his young and impressionable daughter, “You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view…until you climb in his skin and walk around in it.”
Relationship management: Whether you are an introvert or extrovert, your social skills are crucial to your success in the workplace and in your studies. Your ability to find common ground with other people – probably from different walks of life – will stand you in good stead throughout your life.
Having a high EQ is not innate. These are skills that you can work on throughout your life. These skills make you a better student, a better employee or employer, a better husband, wife or partner and a better person all-round.
“I can never have an IQ of 150. I can never be 1,8m model-tall. But I can challenge myself to grow in these five areas.” Anonymous
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