Classic Intelligence and rational thinking have dominated Western Society for centuries. It was Freud who showed, through his analysis of the unconscious, that there is more to us than rational thinking. Since Freud, the development of psychology has brought the insight that a person’s actions are not just rational or logical, Emotional Intelligence seems a good name to name our “non-rational” way of thinking and being.
“In the last decade or so, science has discovered a tremendous amount about the role emotions play in our lives. Researchers have found that even more than IQ, your emotional awareness and abilities to handle feelings will determine your success and happiness in all walks of life, including family relationships.” (John Gottman, Ph.D)
What is Emotional Intelligence?
Quite simply, emotional intelligence is the intelligent use of emotions: You intentionally make your emotions work for you by using them to help guide your behavior and thinking in ways that enhance your results.
- “Emotional Intelligence is a way of recognizing, understanding, and choosing how we think, feel, and act. It shapes our interactions with others and our understanding of ourselves. It defines how and what we learn; it allows us to set priorities; it determines the majority of our daily actions. Research suggests it is responsible for as much as 80% of the “success” in our lives.” (Freedman)
- “Emotional intelligence is the ability to sense, understand, and effectively apply the power and acumen of emotions as a source of human energy, information, connection, and influence.” (Dr. Robert K. Cooper)
Emotional Intelligence can further be described as:
- Knowing one’s emotions. Self awareness – recognizing a feeling as it happens.
- Managing emotions. Handling feelings so they are appropriate, is an ability that builds on self awareness.
- Motivating oneself.
- Recognizing emotions in others
- Handling relationships
Managing your Emotions
- Recognize and control emotional impulses, so that you can stop your emotions from managing you.
- Learn to manage your emotions.
- Relive experiences and be able to dissociate from them so that they don’t affect you and you can learn from them.
- Re-assess the emotions you like and have more of them more of the time.
- Choose your emotional state: e.g. confident, resolved, easy going.
- Motivate yourself.
- Your mind and your body are inseparable and operate as one single system. What effects one affects the other and vice versa.
- An emotion is something you do, a specific product of human functioning. They can be charted and organised.
- There is a context for which anything you do may be appropriate.
- You have within you all the resources to achieve what you want. You just don’t know how to assess these resources as much as you’d like, yet. If somebody can do something, so can you.
At this stage, the biggest challenge you encounter may be to control your emotions. By learning to do this you will be able to manage them and restructure them in the way you desire.
- Emotions can be used as a goal on their own (e.g. being relaxed, having fun, power). Ideally you should be able to remain in a resourceful state in an ongoing fashion, as it will act as a filter which will color your everyday experiences in the best possible manner.
- You can also use emotion as a resource for reaching a goal, i.e. use it as a means to an end. For example, although anger is often perceived as negative, provided it is in the right proportion, focused on the right person, in the right place and at the right time, it may be the appropriate emotion to have. By learning to separate an emotion from the context where it emerges spontaneously and to consciously apply it in other, perhaps more appropriate context, you can develop your emotional competence.
External Links about Emotional Intelligence:
- Emotional Intelligence: What it is and Why it Matters (EI Consortium)
- What Makes a Leader? (Harvard Business Review)