Emotional intelligence is how you reason with emotions – the ability to regulate, understand and identify emotions. Self-awareness, empathy, self-regulation, motivation and social skills are all components in what we call emotional intelligence. Many intuitive thinkers are well aware of IQ, and many show high scores when it comes to tests that measure your intelligence. But IQ isn’t the only kind of intelligence that matters when it comes to success.
According to International search firm Egon Zehnder International, executives that had high emotional intelligence were also more likely to succeed than those who had a lot of experience or unusually high IQ. Harvard Business Review reported in January 2004 that emotional intelligence accounts for up to 90% (!) of your work-related success. So aside from the ability to form healthy relationships and remain happy, there is plenty of reason to develop your EI.
Three ways to improve your EI
Develop your self-awareness: The core of emotional intelligence is self-awareness. You need to know yourself to some extent. Why are you doing things the way you do? Why are certain topics sensitive to you? What is it that you feel? Step one is to practice identifying and expressing emotions. Instead of just saying “I’m looking forward to it” just admit that you are in fact thrilled.
Read others: Work on your ability to draw information from facial expressions. There are plenty of EI/EQ tests out there that let you read people’s faces in order to determine what they are feeling. Practising with tests similar to those could give you experience to benefit from. Remember that other people can read you too, which makes it important that you’re also aware of what signals you’re sending out to them.
Practice empathy: Remind yourself that it is healthy to feel compassion. That you are not only allowed, but in need of, relating to other people. Try and imagine what it would be like to be someone else. Your annoying in-laws for example – what is their life really like? Try to find reasons for people’s behaviours that make sense to you, and then explore these situations by pretending the imagined life was actually yours.
Reduce your negative thinking
Self-regulation is important when it comes to emotional intelligence. Your intuitive thinking skills can be an asset if you can use them to get a rational view of the situation. Remind yourself about the fact that there are many available options out there for you. If you were to lose something in your life, for example a job, there would be positions available for you in other places, some of which you haven’t even heard of yet. If you were to lose your apartment, the same concept should be applied: there are still plenty of possible places for you to live, some of which you don’t even know about yet.
Sure, no-one wants bad things to happen to them. But very few things in life should be treated as the end of the world. It’s healthier to focus on feeling confident and positive rather than getting stuck in overthinking sessions. Something worth remembering is that an unimaginably small number of things that happen will still matter that much in a year – even fewer in five years. The difference between acting with confidence and really being confident is whether or not you believe yourself to be capable. (One approach that may appeal to NT types is Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, a set of techniques you can apply yourself to defuse unconstructive thoughts and to realign with your own values.) An emotionally intelligent person knows that bad things can happen, but that no matter what happens, they’ll be able to handle it.