What is Emotional Intelligence?
There has been a lot of discussion in the scientific world about the meaning of the term emotional intelligence, and even about whether emotional
intelligence really exists or is just a new repackaging of old well established psychological traits.
It is clear now, after years of research and discussions, that there are two types of emotional intelligence:
one is related to the ability to process and use emotional information and is therefore somehow connected to the general ability of the person to process and use all kinds of information, what we normally call general intelligence. The second one is related
to a conglomerate of personality traits. People with an emotionally intelligent personality tend to respond to situations, events, and challenges that are emotionally charged in ways that are effective and positive.
you may be emotional intelligent because you know how to process emotional information, reason with that kind of information and used it in ways that are beneficial to you, or you can be emotionally intelligent because you have a personality that mostly intuitively
knows how to respond to the emotions involved in almost all human interactions. Of course, you may enjoy both kinds of emotional intelligence, which probably is the best.
Basically, EI can affect two big areas:
our own emotions, and the emotions of others. In relation to our emotions, we may have knowledge about our emotions, be able to identify them when we experience them, understand them, regulate them, and express them in socially appropriate ways. In relation
to others, we may be able to identify the emotions other people are experiencing, understand them, and respond to them in socially effective ways.
The research that I have done and the research of many others
had led me to believe that there are five main emotional dimensions that are essential to experience success in many endeavors. Three are emotional skills, and the other two are emotional traits. The emotional skills are the ability to understand emotions,
the ability to regulate them, and the ability to express them in socially effective ways. The two traits are a positive sense of self, including a positive sense of self-competence, self-esteem, self-worth, and self-efficacy, and a high level of intrinsic
In any case, one important aspect of both EI is that they can be developed and improved over time. It does not mean that it is easy, but it can be done. On one hand, we can learn more about emotions,
when they appear, what do they mean, and how to use them in beneficial ways. On the other hand, we can practice positive ways to reacting to emotionally charged situations, so when forced to face those situations in real life, we respond in what we now know
is the beneficial way for us and for everyone involved. We can enhance the vision we have of ourselves, and definitely we can find ways to increase our motivation to pursue our goals.
If you ever watched the movie
“The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King”. You may remember the last battle in which Aragon gives a speech to his soldiers about dying in battle. Aragon knows that his soldiers need to fight with rage, hope, and commitment if they are
to win, and he does not achieve this goal by providing the soldiers with facts about the number of soldiers in each side, the weapons available, or the reasons for the war, but with a very emotionally charged speech about the time of men. This is emotional
intelligence at its best.