Emotional Intelligence, just like quarantine or kombucha, has become a buzzword lately, yet it’s still highly misunderstood in terms of what it means. According to Psychology Today, Emotional intelligence is the ability to manage one’s own emotions, as well as the emotions of others. It sounds simple enough but the reality is, not everyone possesses it. Because the definition of emotional intelligence is unclear for most, many people mistake it for simply meaning the ability to be empathetic or being a “nice” person. But there is much more to understand. Here are a few facts about EI:

  1. The term “Emotional Intelligence” – wasn’t coined until 1990.
  2. Emotional Intelligence includes three skills. The ability to: 
    1. harness emotions, 
    2. the ability to apply emotions to thinking and problem solving, 
    3. the ability to regulate, or control your emotions
  3. It can’t be developed quickly – Emotional Intelligence isn’t something you can read up on, understand, and just apply. It takes time and effort.
  4. EI equals actions over feelings – Have you ever heard someone say, “I can’t control the way I feel, but I can control the way I react”? Well, that is not entirely true. We all can control our feelings to an extent. However, the effort it takes to do so is much more than the effort it takes to take control and responsibility over our actions. That is the essence of Emotional Intelligence. Being able to control your reactions to emotions in any given situation.
  5. EI can make or break your relationships – Being able to communicate effectively and tackle sensitive issues in a rational and understanding way is a big plus, and that’s what happens when you possess Emotional Intelligence. It can make all the difference in your work and workplace performance and leadership abilities.

Now, let’s tackle some of the myths of Emotional Intelligence, and believe me, there are many!

  1. EI doesn’t really exist – Scientific study of EI is fairly new, and while scientists haven’t developed a full understanding, there’s no doubt that it exists.
  2. Emotional Intelligence is common sense – It’s not. You can have all the common sense in the world and still not know how to process human emotion.
  3. Emotional Intelligence is something you have to be born with – While some people do have a greater propensity for Emotional Intelligence, it’s not something you have to be born with and it can be learned over time.
  4. EQ is more important than IQ – Emotional Intelligence, which is also known as Emotional Quotient, can be just as important as a person with a decent IQ, or Intelligence Quotient, but it’s not more important than IQ. Actually, when someone possesses both, it is believed that they are more likely to achieve long term success.
  5. You can’t control your feelings – As I mentioned in the facts above, emotional intelligence is all about actions over feelings. While controlling your feelings is much more difficult, you can control how you respond to them with a bit more ease. 

Now that we’ve covered some of the basic facts and myths of emotional intelligence, what do you think your level of emotional intelligence is? Do you think you need to increase it?