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What is Emotional Intelligence? Why is it Important? How to Develop?

Emotional intelligence is a very important and fundamental element in the pursuit of a balanced life. It is one of the most talked about topics in recent years, both in our individual and social lives and in the business world. In the Future Jobs Report of the World Economic Forum, emotional intelligence has been recognized as one of the 10 most important skills employees need to be successful in 2020.

Emotional intelligence can be defined as: It is our ability that allows us to have an idea about what we feel and our emotions. Emotionally intelligent people are also good at perceiving the feelings and emotions of others.

The term “emotional intelligence” was first coined by Michael Beldoch in 1964 and by B. Leuner in his 1966 work “Emotional intelligence and liberation” in the practice of child psychology and child psychiatry. The term reappeared in 1985 in Wayne Payne’s doctoral thesis, A Study of Emotion: The Development of Emotional Intelligence in 1985.

In 1990, two American university professors, John Mayer and Peter Salovey, were conducting research to develop ways to scientifically measure the differences between people’s emotions and their abilities around them. Mayer and Salovey soon discovered that some people are better than others at identifying the emotions of others and solving problems involving emotional states. They also seemed to be better at identifying their own emotions. Salovey and Mayer defined the term “emotional intelligence” in 1990 as: “A form of social intelligence that includes the ability to monitor one’s own and others’ feelings and emotions, to distinguish between those feelings and emotions, and to use this information to guide their thinking and actions.”

They created the framework for emotional intelligence, which they described as:

  1. Ability to identify emotions in oneself and others
  2. Integrating emotions into thought processes
  3. Ability to process complex emotions effectively
  4. The ability to regulate one’s own and others’ emotions

Daniel Goleman introduced the idea and concept of emotional intelligence to millions of people with his book “Emotional Intelligence”, published in 1995. Goleman extended the work of Mayer and Salovey by utilizing the five key elements of emotional intelligence.

The 5 key elements of emotional intelligence are:

1. Emotional self-awareness; being aware of everything you’re feeling, moment by moment, and also trying to understand the impact of that situation on others.

2. Self-regulating; trying to control or manipulate your emotions and learn to anticipate the consequences before acting with a sudden reaction.

3. Making use of emotional factors to overcome a situation or to be patient.

4. Empathy; learning to understand and feel the emotions of others.

5. Social skills; learning how to effectively manage relationships and inspire others.

According to Goleman, IQ only contributes to 20% of our success in life. So don’t you wonder what the remaining 80% is? Goleman says the remaining 80% of success comes from emotional intelligence.

Emotional intelligence includes these factors:

  • Ability to motivate oneself
  • Ability to show patience/perseverance
  • Control of impulses
  • Regulating empathy, humor and hope

And again, according to Goleman, emotional intelligence is not something to be sought from the outside, it is an integral part of one’s inner self.

Can emotional intelligence be developed?

The more you research, read and learn about emotional intelligence, the more you see that there is much more to it. One thing we know is that emotional intelligence is a very valuable skill that needs to be developed, and if taken into account, it will greatly contribute to our success and development in life.

Emotional intelligence is a skill that can be developed. If you are wondering where to start; perhaps we can try to be more transparent, open and honest about how we feel and strive to reach out to others in the same way.

In addition, mindfulness-based studies and meditation studies are some of the recommended ways to improve emotional intelligence skills. Emotional intelligence is a fascinating idea that I think is worthwhile to work on, to direct some of our energies into this area, what do you say?