What Is Emotional Intelligence?
By Tristan Loo
Emotional intelligence, also known as EI, is the innate ability of a person to perceive, assess, and influence one’s own emotion and the emotions of other people around them. The term emotional intelligence itself originated with Dr. Wayne Payne 1985, but the term became popular with the book Emotional Intelligence, written by Daniel Goldman in 1995.
Studies in the early 1990’s by John Mayer and Peter Salovey came up with a working model of emotional intelligence that defined it as the capacity to understand and to reason with emotions. In their analysis, Mayer and Salovey, broke emotional intelligence down into five parts:
- Self Awareness: the ability and need to understand your own emotions, knowing what those emotions are, and acknowledging those feelings.
- Need Management: that is the ability to handle emotions in a mature way that is relevant to the present situation.
- Self Motivation: the ability to remain focused on a goal despite your level of self-doubt and impulsiveness.
- Empathy: the ability to tune into the feelings of others and effectively understanding them pretty much the same way as they understand themselves.
- Managing relationships: the ability to handle conflict negotiations and third party mediations.
Why is emotional intelligence important?
Despite the fact that emotional intelligence lacks the volume of quantitative empirical cognitive research that IQ has, the research in the field of cognitive learning has suggested that emotional intelligence is a key fundamental aspect of learning. According to a report published by the National Center for Clinical Infant Programs, the level of success that a student has learning new material boils down to their individual levels of confidence, self-control, curiosity, their ability to communicate, their cooperativeness, their elatedness and their intentionality. All these traits are aspects of emotional intelligence.
More recently social scientists are beginning to uncover the relationship of emotional intelligence to other organizational psychologies, such as leadership, group performance, individual performance, interpersonal exchange, performance evaluations, and change management. Humans are social beings and as such our level of success when dealing with people is intimately linked with our level of emotional intelligence.
Improving your level of emotional intelligence
Researches and scientists see the intelligence quotient, also known as I.Q., as fixed, meaning that it does not change throughout ones lifetime. E.I. differs greatly from I.Q. in that E.I. can be improved through a combination of life experience, maturity, conscious thought, and perseverance. You can improve your level of emotional intelligence by doing the following:
- Think back to the most recent time you can think of when you had hurt somebody’s feelings and analyze what your reactions were at the time and analyze what you said that inflicted emotional pain on the other person. Try to put yourself in the other person’s shoes and empathize with them and their feelings as you said these words. In this drill, you will effectively increase your understanding of empathy thereby increasing your level of emotional intelligence as a result.
- Instead of finding fault with others, develop a mindset of positive thoughts and try to seek positive solutions on a given problem. Remember that everyone you deal with is human and as humans we make mistakes. Also by being human we have the ability to learn from our mistakes and by creating a positive attitude we can effectively coach other people and ourselves to move forward instead of blaming other people or events for mistakes.
- Realize that in order to succeed in the game called life, it becomes necessary to have a high level of interpersonal communication with those around you. You are, for the most part, helpless without other people to help you along the way. By better understanding their emotional needs you will be able to communicate with them more effectively and more accurately thus paving the way to your own personal success.
In conclusion, emotional intelligence is one’s ability to understand their own emotions and also the emotions of the people that are around them. The emotionally intelligent person makes each day of their life a lesson in emotional intelligence and it is their goal to increase their level if emotional intelligence each day as they communicate with other people around them and themselves.
About the author
Tristan Loo is the founder of the Synergy Institute, LLC, a personal development firm based out of San Diego County, Calfornia. Tristan is a former police officer, author, professional mediator, and conflict negotiator. He is the author of Street Negotiation–How to Resolve Any Conflict Anytime. Please visit our website at http://www.synergyinstituteonline.com