Emotional Intelligence And Why It Is Critical to Your Success

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The 20th century marked a time of great growth and expansion. In those 100 years, the world saw an unbelievable amount of change: decolonization, the two world wars, the nuclear age and space exploration, the Cold War conflicts, poverty reduction, world population growth and the rising awareness of the degrading health of our environment. It was the birth of the Digital Revolution which saw massive advances in technology.

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We also began to better understand us as humans- most importantly why some succeeded and others, although very promising, didn’t. Until the 1960s and 70s, it was widespread belief that those with the best diploma – the ones with the highest IQ – were destined for success. The world was understandably confused when this belief was shaken by incredibly successful entrepreneurs such as Ray Kroc, Warren Buffet, and Sam Walton who started from humble beginnings and had a poor education yet grew to be some of the richest men the world has ever seen.

Patrick Lencioni, author of The Five Dysfunctions of a Team, wrote “Not education. Not experience. Not knowledge or intellectual horsepower. None of these serve as an adequate predictor as to why one person succeeds and another doesn’t. There is something else going on that society doesn’t seem to account for.”1 It sparked the question, “how could they be so successful while some of those graduating with the highest honors from the greatest universities would never make a name for themselves?” Is IQ all it is made out to be? In reality, emotional intelligence is more critical to someone’s success than IQ.The term “emotional intelligence” seems to first appear in a paper by Michael Beldoch in 1964. A few years later in 1983, the idea of multiple intelligences was introduced by Howard Gardner. This theory revolved around the idea that a human had more forms of intelligence than IQ. This theory included both intrapersonal intelligence, which is, in other words, self-awareness and interpersonal intelligence, which is the ability to understand other individuals’ motives, interests, and desires. However, the idea that IQ was not the dominant intelligence didn’t gain traction until Daniel Goleman published his book Emotional Intelligence – Why it can matter more than IQ in 1995. His book was a New York Times Best Seller for over a year and a half and is given credit for spreading this new found understanding of how we as humans work.

Since then, more in-depth findings have been discovered and many more books have been written on these findings. Dr. Travis Bradberry, an intellect on the topic, argues in his book, Emotional Intelligence 2.0, that human behavior is made up of three main elements; IQ, EQ, and Personality. IQ is your capability or ability to learn and unless a traumatic brain injury occurs, it is fixed from birth. Because of this, your IQ typically will not change throughout your life and therefore you have very little influence over it. Personality defines the “way” you approach life and whether you are extroverted or introverted. Like IQ, personality is also relatively fixed, with most traits lasting your entire life. Many incorrectly believe that those with an extroverted personality have a higher EQ than introverts. This is not the case as EQ doesn’t influence what settings (alone or in a social group) you need to be in to “recharge”. In contrast, emotional intelligence is the awareness of your emotions. Unlike the other three elements that make up human behavior, it is a skill that can be learned and improved.

According to Dr. Bradberry, Emotional Intelligence is made up of four skills, split into two competences.Self-AwarenessSelf-awareness is “your ability to accurately perceive your own emotions in the moment and understand your tendencies across situations.”2 Increased self-awareness lessens the chance you might lose control of your emotions, or as Daniel Goleman put it in his book Emotional Intelligence; Why it can matter more than IQ, “those moments of impassioned action that we later regret, once the dust has settled.”3 Greater self-awareness also allows for a better understanding of what motivates you. Self-ManagementSelf-management is about controlling the emotions that you have now become aware of. Because of this, self-management depends entirely on understanding you; self-awareness. “Anybody can become angry, that is easy; but to be angry with the right person, and to the right degree, and at the right time, and for the right purpose, and in the right way, that is not within everybody’s power, that is not easy.” – AristotleThat’s self-management. Social AwarenessSocial Awareness is simply the ability to understand other’s emotions. It requires listening and observation

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