“The willingness to accept responsibility for one’s life is the source from which self-respect springs.” ~Joan Didion
Emotional Intelligence Is the Other Kind of Smart…When emotional intelligence came on the scene it really hit home for people. For the first time we all had an explanation for an unusual finding: people of average intelligence outperform people with the highest levels of intelligence the vast majority of the time ( Over 70%!). Suddenly we had a name for the main determinant of success in life: Emotional Intelligence.
Emotional intelligence is critical to managing your behavior, moving smoothly through social situations, and making critical choices in life. There are four emotional intelligence skills and they group under two primary competencies: personal competence and social competence.
- Self-Awareness is how accurately you can identify your emotions in the moment and understand your tendencies across time and situation.
- Self-Management is how you use awareness of your emotions to create the behavior that you want.
- Social Awareness is how well you read the emotions of other people.
- Relationship Management is how you use the first three emotional intelligence skills to manage your interactions with other people.Emotional Intelligence (EQ), Intelligence (IQ), and Personality Are Not Connected.The three do not go together in any meaningful way. Emotional intelligence explains a fundamental element of your behavior that is unique from your intellect. You cannot determine someone’s IQ based on their EQ and vice versa. Intelligence is how quickly you absorb new information and it does not change throughout your life. Emotional intelligence is unique because it is a flexible skill that you can improve with practice. Anyone can develop a high degree of emotional intelligence.
Like IQ, your personality does not change. Personality is the style with which you approach the world: what motivates you and the people and situations that give you energy (versus those that drain it). One example of this is the tendency we all have to be introverted or extroverted.Emotional Intelligence Dictates Performance.
Emotional intelligence has a massive impact upon personal and professional success. Working to improve your emotional intelligence results in improvements in many areas of your behavior. We’ve found that more than 90% of top performers have high EQs. High EQ individuals make $29,000 more on average than those with low EQs and every point you add to your EQ adds $1,300 to your annual salary.Emotional Intelligence Can Be Increased With Practice
Your brain is hard-wired to give emotions the upper hand. The limbic system (the emotional brain) reacts to events first before we have the opportunity to engage the rational brain. The communication between these two areas of the brain is the very definition of emotional intelligence. EQ requires effective communication between the rational and emotional centers of the brain.
Why is emotional intelligence (EQ) so important?
As we know, it’s not the smartest people that are the most successful or the most fulfilled in life. You probably know people who are academically brilliant and yet are socially inept and unsuccessful at work or in their personal relationships. Intellectual intelligence or IQ isn’t enough on its own to be successful in life. IQ can help you get into college but it’s EQ that will help you manage the stress and emotions of sitting your final exams.
Emotional intelligence affects:
- Your performance at work. Emotional intelligence can help you navigate the social complexities of the workplace, lead and motivate others, and excel in your career. In fact, when it comes to gauging job candidates, many companies now view emotional intelligence as being as important as technical ability and require EQ testing before hiring.
- Your physical health. If you’re unable to manage your stress levels, it can lead to serious health problems. Uncontrolled stress can raise blood pressure, suppress the immune system, increase the risk of heart attack and stroke, contribute to infertility, and speed up the aging process. The first step to improving emotional intelligence is to learn how to relieve stress.
- Your mental health. Uncontrolled stress can also impact your mental health, making you vulnerable to anxiety and depression. If you are unable to understand and manage your emotions, you’ll also be open to mood swings, while an inability to form strong relationships can leave you feeling lonely and isolated.
- Your relationships. By understanding your emotions and how to control them, you’re better able to express how you feel and understand how others are feeling. This allows you to communicate more effectively and forge stronger relationships, both at work and in your personal life.
All information to the brain comes through our senses and when this information is overwhelmingly stressful or emotional, instinct will take over and our ability to act will be limited to the flight, fight, or freeze response. Therefore, to have access to the wide range of choices and make good decisions, we need to be able to bring our emotions into balance at will.
Memory is also strongly linked to emotion. By learning to use the emotional part of your brain as well as the rational, you’ll not only expand your range of choices when it comes to responding to a new event, you’ll also factor emotional memory into your decision-making. This will help prevent you from continually repeating earlier mistakes.
To improve your emotional intelligence—and your decision-making abilities—you need to understand and control the emotional side of your brain. This is done by developing five key skills. By mastering the first two skills, you’ll find skills 3, 4, and 5 much easier to learn.
Developing emotional intelligence through five key skills:
Emotional intelligence consists of five key skills, each building on the last:
- Emotional intelligence (EQ) skill 1: The ability to quickly reduce stress.
- Emotional intelligence (EQ) skill 2: The ability to recognize and manage your emotions.
- Emotional intelligence (EQ) skill 3: The ability to connect with others using nonverbal communication.
- Emotional intelligence (EQ) skill 4: The ability to use humor and play to deal with challenges.
- Emotional intelligence (EQ) skill 5: The ability to resolve conflicts positively and with confidence.
The five skills of emotional intelligence can be learned by anyone, at any time. But there is a difference between learning about emotional intelligence and applying that knowledge to your life. Just because you know you should do something doesn’t mean you will—especially when you become overwhelmed by stress, which can hijack your best intentions.
In order to permanently change behavior in ways that stand up under pressure, you need to learn how to take advantage of the powerful emotional parts of the brain that remain active and accessible even in times of stress. This means that you can’t simply read about emotional intelligence in order to master it. You have to experience and practice the skills in your everyday life.
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