The concept of emotional intelligence (EI) refers to a person’s ability to not only acknowledge and effectively (or affectively, to be even more appropriate) manage their emotional disposition but to also recognize the emotions being exhibited by others.
It is a mode of intelligence which is often overlooked since academics is primarily focused on fostering more intellectual forms of cognitive prowess. Moods, feelings, and emotions are often regarded as the “soft” side of differences amongst people, but with such a label, it is too common to underestimate their value. Possessing the ability to tune into these cues not only within you but also in others, can offer many advantages in regulating your own behavior and managing interactions with others.
Often dubbed a person’s “emotional quotient” (EQ), emotional intelligence describes people that are in possession of conscientious qualities.
In contrast, general intelligence tests have been the most commonly used method of assessing a person’s intellectual capability, commonly referred to as g. Acclaimed for its ability to capture an accurate and stable representation of one’s level of intelligence, g is considered the best, and most valid, predictor. As an enduring consequence, standardized measures of intelligence such as IQ tests have been a common utility for predicting a person’s scholarly aptitude and also in forecasting future job performance.
All things considered, g often fails to capture the full scope of a person’s potential.
While IQ captures academic representations of intelligence, testing often fails to consider the practical and creative potential a person may possess. In addition to these gaps, an individual’s prowess to regulate their own state of being and make themselves aware of the disposition of others could prove useful throughout their lives.
Although the term was first mentioned in a scientific paper during the early 1960s, emotional intelligence gained traction through Daniel Goleman’s 1995 publication, in which he noted distinctions between EI and traditional perceptions of intelligence.
In the time passed since its printing, there has been a proper amount of scrutiny and reappraisal to the theory of EI, but Goleman posited that people high in general cognitive ability alone tend to be ambitious and productive, while effectively apathetic, disconnected, and in possession of a cold demeanor. In contrast, Goleman believed people with high levels of emotional intelligence were considered to be extroverted, amicable, and very considerate of their relationships with others. In recent years, cofounder of TalentSmart and author Travis Bradberry has offered a fresher take on the hotly debated topic with his book Emotional Intelligence 2.0, in which he discusses the applications EI can have in benefiting the way we interact with ourselves and our surrounding world.
“…Of the two, emotional intelligence adds far more of the qualities that make us more fully human.” – Daniel Goleman
If you find yourself capable of embodying EI qualities, the chances are that you’re more in touch with your own strengths and weaknesses. You know what is and isn’t important to you in the grand scheme of life, and motivate yourself to strive for that desired state through regulating your own thoughts and behaviors. In dealing with others, emotional intelligence is further apparent by manifesting through one’s comprehension of the body language others put on display.
General intelligence is an enduring trait in people, but being emotionally intelligent will often be helpful.
The human race is comprised of social beings whom depend on one another for continued survival, and to maintain cohesive and productive relationships, social skills are a valuable quality to possess. Through greater conscientiousness of yourself and those around you, you may be better prepared to navigate the trials and tribulations of life.