I’ve written a lot about Emotional Intelligence in my blog posts. But exactly what is it?

Most people today have heard the term in relation to the book of the same name by Daniel Goleman. His book Emotional Intelligence: Why It Can Matter More Than IQ is well researched and a great review of the literature on the subject. Goleman defined emotional intelligence as including “self-awareness, managing your emotions effectively, motivation, empathy, reading other people’s feelings accurately, social skills like teamwork, persuasion, leadership, and managing relationships.”

The exact term “emotional intelligence” was first coined by Salovey and Mayer. Their definition: “Emotional intelligence involves the ability to perceive accurately, appraise, and express emotion; the ability to access and/or generate feelings when they facilitate thought; the ability to understand emotion and emotional knowledge; and the ability to regulate emotions to promote emotional and intellectual growth.”

I have found the most accurate and concise definition of Emotional Intelligence to be that of Dr. Reuven Bar-On: “An array of personal, emotional, and social competencies and skills that influence one’s ability to succeed in coping with environmental demands and pressures.” Through research and study Bar-On identified fifteen such competencies and skills: Emotional Self-Awareness, Self-Regard, Self-Actualization, Impulse Control, Independence, Assertiveness, Optimism, Happiness, Interpersonal Relationship, Empathy, Social Responsibility, Stress Tolerance, Flexibility, Problem Solving, and Reality Testing.

Bar-On coined the term “EQ” (Emotional Intelligence Quotient) to correspondingly differentiate it from “IQ” (Intelligence Quotient). Bar-On developed a way to measure one’s Emotional Intelligence called the Emotional Quotient Inventory (EQ-i). It is a self-assessment where respondents answer a variety of questions. The answers are then calculated to give the respondent a score in each one of the fifteen Emotional Intelligence competencies. This measure has been found to be scientifically reliable and valid—meaning that it really does measure what it’s supposed to.

The one common thing that all these researchers have found is that successful people have high EQs, even more so than they have high IQs; that is, Emotional Intelligence is a better predictor of success than intelligence is.

Bar-On’s work looked at “stars” in their fields, the top performers, the best and brightest. His research found that these stars have common traits. For example, the best managers score high in Interpersonal Relationship, Problem Solving, and Flexibility; the top earning sales people score high in Independence, Interpersonal Relationship, and Empathy.

Now the great thing about your EQ is that it can be increased, you can learn and improve your Emotional Intelligence skills. On the other hand, our IQ, our intelligence, is pretty much fixed. Sure we can do brain teasers and puzzles to exercise our brains, but our intelligence is limited by the brain structure we were born with.

But we can learn Emotional Intelligence skills such as how to solve problems, how to deal with stress, and how to initiate and develop relationships. And that is the purpose of this blog—to help you increase your EQ skills and become successful.

I am writing through by own unique experiences and insights. My hope is that something I write will spark something inside you; that it lead to an epiphany, an “aha” moment where you are enlightened with a new understanding and awareness. I want to help you as I have been helped, to become a better, successful person.

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