Ever since Daniel Goleman’s international best-seller Emotional Intelligence was released in 1995, interest in this quality has risen dramatically. Many psychologists and other experts claim that higher emotional intelligence (also known as EI or EQ) leads to better performance, better pay, and overall success. But is emotional intelligence really all that it’s cracked up to be?
Here are five brutal truths I’ve discovered about emotional intelligence.
1. It doesn’t matter what you call it. It’s real.
Some claim that emotional intelligence doesn’t really exist, that it’s a myth. The study of EI as a science is relatively new, and many psychologists disagree on its application. But the general idea of EI has been around as long as we have. To boil it down to basics, ask yourself:
- Do emotions influence your thinking and decision making?
- Can awareness and deliberate efforts to control emotional reactions make a difference in behavior and outcomes?
The resounding answer to both these questions is yes.
2. There’s no quick way to develop it.
When it comes to emotional intelligence, there’s no microwave way to success. Like any skill or ability, developing EI takes time and dedicated effort.
3. It has a direct effect on your physical health.
Doctors and scientists have proved that stress can cause a variety of health problems, including headaches, muscle pain, stomach problems, and fatigue. It can even increase the risk of heart attack and other serious diseases. This is all the more reason you should learn how to manage stress properly.
4. It can save your relationship.
Think about the last argument you had with your significant other. Where did things go wrong?
Emotional intelligence can help you:
Using EI to deal with disagreements turns potentially destructive conversations into opportunities to learn–and will help you and your partner discover new ways of working together.
5. It can be used for evil.
It’s important to know that emotional intelligence can be used both ethically and unethically. Every day, certain politicians, colleagues, and even supposed friends use emotionally intelligent skills to manipulate others.
Of course, this is just one more reason why you should work at raising your own EI, to protect yourself.