What is Emotional Intelligence?

TWALKITOUT: Upasna Sharma

All learning has an emotional base. What is that which helps a person to function well and succeed in all spheres of life? What is now being held responsible for success than intelligence? With the dawn of 21st century the human mind added a new dimension. This is termed as ‘Emotional Intelligence’ and is measured as EQ. What is Emotional Intelligence? Emotional intelligence refers to the ability to perceive, control and evaluate emotions. Emotions are the primary source of human energy, aspirations and drive, activating our innermost feelings and transforming them from abstract to concrete reality. The management of emotions has given rise to the concept of emotional intelligence. Emotional Intelligence is the ability to identify, use, understand and manage emotions in positive ways to relieve stress, communicate effectively, empathize and overcome challenges. Emotional Intelligence helps in building stronger relationships succeeding at work and achieving career and personal goals.

We all have different personalities, different wants and needs, and different ways of showing our emotions. Navigating through this all takes tact and cleverness – especially if we hope to succeed in life. This is where emotional intelligence becomes important. Emotional intelligence is the ability to recognize your emotions, understand what they’re telling you, and realize how your emotions affect people around you. Emotional intelligence also involves your perception of others: when you understand how they feel, this allows you to manage relationships more effectively. People with high emotional intelligence are usually successful in most things they do.

The earliest roots of emotional intelligence can be traced to Charles Darwin’s work on the importance of emotional expression for survival and second adaptation. Emotional intelligence has its roots in the concept of “Social Intelligence” first used by Thorndike in 1920. Similarly, Wechsler described the influence of non-intellective factors on intelligent behavior in 1940, the first use of the term Emotional Intelligence is usually attributed to Wayne Payne’s doctoral thesis, a study of emotion: Developing emotional intelligence from 1985. Psychologist Peter Salovey and John Mayer published their landmark article “Emotional Intelligence” in the journal imagination, cognition and personality. The concept of emotional intelligence got popularized after publication of psychologist and New York Times science writer Daniel Goleman’s book Emotional Intelligence: Why it can matter more than IQ (1997). In    this book he compiled a lot of interesting information on brain, emotion and behaviour and defined Emotional intelligence as the capacity to reason with emotions in four areas:

  • To perceive emotion,
  • To integrate it in thoughts,
  • To understand and
  • To manage it.

The term Emotional intelligence appeared in a series of academic articles authored by Mayer and Solvay (1990, 93 and 95).  The term entered the mainstream only with Daniel Goleman in 1995.  According to Goleman, IQ contributes only about 20% to success in life and other forces contribute the rest.

Concept of Emotional Intelligence

Goleman (1995) defined Emotional Intelligence on the basis of traits that include self control, zeal and persistence and the ability to motivate oneself. He identified five domains of E.Q:

1. Knowing your emotions.

2. Managing your own emotions.

3. Motivating self.

4. Recognizing and understanding other people’s emotions.

5. Managing relationship.

Emotional Intelligence “Is the type of social intelligence that involves the ability to monitor one’s own and others emotions to discriminate among them and to use the information to guide one’s thinking and actions”. (Mayer and Solvay, 1993).Emotional intelligence is one’s ability to perceive emotions, to access and generate emotions so as to assist thoughts, to understand emotions and emotional knowledge, and to reflectively regulate emotions so to promote emotional and intellectual growth. (Mayer and Solvey 1997).Emotional intelligence refers to the “Capacity of recognizing one’s own feelings and these of others for motivating ourselves and for managing emotions well in ourselves and in our relationships”. (Goleman, 1998)

Emotional Intelligence has following five characteristics and abilities:

1. Self-awareness- Knowing your emotions, recognizing feelings as they occur and discriminating between them.

2.Self-management- Handling feeling so that they are relevant to the current situation and you react appropriately.

3. Self-motivation- Gathering up your feelings and directing yourself towards a goal, despite self-doubt inertia and impulsiveness.

4. Empathy- Recognizing feelings in others and turning into their verbal and non-verbal cues.

5. Managing relationship- Handling interpersonal interaction conflict resolution and negotiations.

It is not the smartest people that are most successful or the most fulfilled in life. There are people who are academically brilliant and yet are socially inept and unsuccessful at work or in their personal relationships. Intellectual intelligence or I.Q isn’t enough on its own to be successful in life. When it comes to happiness and success in life, Emotional Intelligence matters just as much as intellectual ability (I.Q).

(photo credits:freedigitalphotos.net)

Upasna Sharma

The auther is a Ph.D scholar and has a vast experience of teaching and training students of different age groups.

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