Emotional Intelligence, known as a key determinant of life success, is the ability to effectively regulate emotions by accurately perceiving a situation and then understand, apply and manage one’s emotions. There is a difference in such ability across the population and this can be ascertained with psychological testing and perhaps enhanced with appropriate training.
While intelligence (traditionally measured with IQ) is related to one’s ability to learn, the pace of acquiring knowledge and problem solving, emotional intelligence is related to something more basic as decision making. There are many theories that point towards multiple intelligences and there is little consensus on one robust definition of emotional intelligence. In general, emotional intelligence relates to aspects related to the emotions and the way they interfere with our response to situations.
There is a difference between the elements of personality or behavioral preferences such as extraversion, optimism or assertiveness and the underlying capacity to be emotionally intelligent. At some level, emotional intelligence can be seen a skill that can be put through objective measurement and could be used repeatedly in coaching and enhanced through training and development.
Many psychologists and popular trainers linked life success to Emotional Intelligence. Many companies relabelled their behavioral training programs as emotional intelligence programs. While there is a connection between personality and emotional intelligence, what’s important to notice is that emotional intelligence largely relates to the capacity to regulate one’s emotions and not the preferences as purported by the trait’s theory and personality models.
Emotions tend to start automatically, alters our attention and thinking and creates certain physiological differences in the body. Emotions are temporary and prepare us for action. Ultimately, emotions help us survive in our environment. They contribute significantly to the choices we make, to the decisions we make on day to day basis and the responses we give in interpersonal situations.
To Use Emotional Intelligence for Success in Life, Consider the Following Four Points.
- The first aspect of emotional intelligence is related to our ability to identify the emotion. It’s the accuracy of perception that matters here. For example, by realizing and naming the emotion we may be feeling at a certain time or in a certain situation, we may influence how that emotion is influencing us physiologically. Because emotions are often related to people’s intent and their expected response, accurately identifying someone else’s emotions may be the key to better interpersonal relationships.
- And then emotions influence thinking. Positive emotions help us learn, reflect, be engaged in creative tasks and group tasks. Negative emotions may be more appropriate when we are looking for mistakes or errors and identifying risks. When people differ in their ability to regulate emotions, they may differ in their ability to generate the appropriate emotions for the task at hand. This creates a difference in the level of emotional intelligence of people.
- Earlier we talked about identifying emotions and labelling them. The ability to understand emotions assist us in not only labelling the emotions we experience but also understand how they will influence our thinking and how they may progress. There exists an entire vocabulary for emotions that could help us label emotions such as surprise, disgust, shame, guilt etc. By understanding how each one of them show up and how they progress, transmit and subside, we could regulate emotions better.
- Finally, regulating emotions is about identifying the emotions, understanding how they may influence our thinking and decision making, understand different emotions and their respective characteristics and staying open to integrating all the knowledge to cope or make the best of every situation.
This openness to adapt and the ability to integrate all the steps above to be more effective in intra and interpersonally defines one’s emotional intelligence. Many authors and psychologists have spoken about how emotional intelligence is a better predictor of life success than intelligence (IQ) in its traditional sense. To sum it up, Emotional Intelligence can influence life success tremendously and can fortunately be developed with appropriate training.