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Emotional Intelligence, And Why You Should Care About It

Yes, you heard it right, there is such a thing called emotional intelligence and just as you might have guessed from the word, it has nothing to do with math or science or overrated IQ tests.

So let me start with what it is.

The capacity to be aware of, control, and express one’s emotions, and to handle interpersonal relationships judiciously and empathetically is termed as emotional intelligence.

Now the concept of emotional intelligence might seem insignificant and unrelated to our day-to-day life, but it’s just as important as our traditionally limited idea of intelligence in academic terms.

It is important to understand that the word ‘intelligence’ is used as an umbrella term for a variety of aptitudes, thereby meaning that there isn’t just one type of intelligence but several, like linguistic intelligence or musical intelligence.

The concept of EI was first popularized by Daniel Goleman, an author and science journalist in his book ‘Emotional Intelligence: Why it can Matter more than IQ’.

Let’s explore this concept through a scenario. Suppose one day you find your friend not paying attention to you and when you ask him what’s wrong, he sulks and starts insulting you for no reason. What would be your immediate reaction to this?

I know what most of you will do. You’ll get enraged and in the heat of the moment, will say worse things to each other blaming them for their sulking and irrational behavior.

Now, this is a good example of a person with poor EI.

So, what are the characteristics of a high EI person? Here are just a few to give you some idea:

  1. You stay resilient in hard times

There can be exceptionally hard days in life when clinging on to hope is hard and things seem so grim as if they’ll never get better again. Being resilient in times like this requires immense emotional capacity and the ability to not see life as centered around you. Emotionally intelligent individuals find it much more manageable to endure such situations.

  1. You make efforts to see things from others’ viewpoint

Go back to that scenario and think, did you try to find out the reason behind your friend’s angry outburst. Perhaps, he was going through a hard time at home and thus needed some time. Or maybe they were stressed about something and you just happened to talk to them at the wrong time. Learn to see that people aren’t bad, they may just be going through a bad day.

  1. You pause

Reacting before thinking often leads to nasty situations which may lead to disastrous consequences. The pause is as simple as taking a moment to stop and think before you speak or act. Don’t take permanent decisions based on temporary emotions.

  1. You forgive and forget

A lot of relationships have been ruined because of the sheer ego and the decision to hold on to grudges. One simply inflicts torture on oneself by not letting go and forgiving. When the offending party has moved on, it will only harm you to hold on to bitterness. Be Mature, Forgive and Move on.

Emotional Intelligence isn’t inherent and improves with experience and introspection. A little maturity and patience to improve one’s emotional capacity will go a long way in life and give you a richer and more fulfilling life.

The world can only be a better place when we act intelligently -both technically and emotionally.