-ARISTOTLE, The Nicomachean Ethics
Emotions make us want to act; different emotions guide us toward different actions.
For instance, when we feel angry, our blood flows to our hands, our heart races and a rush of adrenaline generates energy for action. Anger can motivate us to attack, lash out and stand up for ourselves.
When we feel scared, fear drives blood to the large skeletal muscles, such as in the legs, making it easier to flee; the body freezes.
The body is alert, making it edgy and ready to act. Fear can motivate us to get away.
When we feel happy, the brain inhibits negative feelings and fosters an increase of energy and a quieting of worrisome thoughts. Joy or happiness can motivate us to join in, participate and share. This configuration offers the body a general rest and strives towards goals.
In recent years, Emotional Intelligence emerged as a popular concept. We now know that intellectual ability or your intelligence quotient (IQ) isn’t enough on its own to achieve success in life. EQ would help you manage stress and emotions and help you become more adaptive to human relationships and society.
Our emotional and rational minds operate in tight harmony for the most part, guiding us through the world; feelings are essential to thought, thought to feeling. As we refer to our “heart” and “head”. However, when our emotions surge, the balance tips and they take the upper hand, it swamps the rational mind.
Emotional explosions hijack rationality and make us later regret. Finding the intelligent balance between reason and emotion, harmonizing our head and heart, emotional intelligence rises—so the intellectual ability as well. Then we can do well in life.
The originators of the term EQ, Peter Salavoy and John Mayer, described EQ as “a form of social intelligence that involves the ability to monitor one’s own and others’ feelings and emotions, to discriminate among them and to use this information to guide one’s thinking and action.” Daniel Goleman later popularized it in his book ‘Emotional Intelligence’, advocating that cognitive intelligence, or IQ, does not guarantee business success, but emotional intelligence does.
The great news is that Emotional intelligence is a set of skills and behaviours that can be learned, developed, and enhanced.
The four main components of EI are self-awareness, self-regulation, social awareness, and social skills.
- Self-awareness is the ability to identify and understand our emotions and the impact on others. It’s the cornerstone of emotional intelligence and the other components of EI depend on this self-awareness.
- Self-Regulation is the ability to manage emotions and behaviours. It allows us to handle feelings, so they are appropriate. It builds on self-awareness. Once we’re aware of our emotions, we can begin to manage them and keep the disruptive emotions and impulses under control.
- Social Awareness is the ability to understand the emotions of others, the key component is empathy. People with solid social awareness tend to be kind.
- Social Skills are the capacity to influence, conflict manage, work in teams, and the ability to inspire others, making it possible to build and maintain healthy relationships in all parts of our life. People with strong social skills understand others and act on the knowledge to move people toward a common goal. They can make a difference for themselves, others, teams, or organizations.
Research has shown that people with higher levels of emotional intelligence enjoy more satisfying and successful careers and relationships. Ultimately, emotional intelligence can only be measured by how an individual progresses through life – the ability to manage their emotions, develop meaningful relationships with others, and thrive towards their goals.
Emotional intelligence is the one part of the human psyche that we can develop and improve by learning and practising new skills. Working on your emotional intelligence could be the most important aspect of your personal development.