What is Emotional Intelligence?

A funny history of EI

Emotional intelligence is a new subject. Lisa Nowak had a master’s degree in aeronautical engineering and had studied postgraduate astrophysics at the U.S. Naval Academy. She flew air missions for the U.S. Navy in the Pacific for over five years. And in 1996, she was one of the fortunate few to be selected to become an astronaut. Clearly, she was as smart as hell. But in 2007, after discovering that her lover was seeing another woman, Lisa drove 15 hours straight, from Houston to Orlando, in order to confront her
boyfriend. Lisa packed zip ties, pepper spray, and large garbage bags and had some vague-but-not-really-thought-through plan to kidnap the woman. But before she could even get the woman out of her car, Lisa had an emotional breakdown, resulting in her quickly being arrested.

The idea of emotional intelligence came about between the 1980s and 90s to help people figure out why smart people like Lisa end up doing really stupid things at times.


What is emotional intelligence?

Researchers describe EI as,

We define EI as the capacity to reason about emotions, and of emotions to enhance thinking. It includes the abilities to accurately perceive emotions, to access and generate emotions so as to assist thought, to understand emotions and emotional knowledge, and to reflectively regulate emotions so as to promote emotional and intellectual growth (Mayer, Salovey & Caruso, 2004, p. 197).

In simple words,

Emotional intelligence refers to the ability to identify and manage one’s own emotions, as well as the emotions of others.

“Your EQ is the level of your ability to understand other people, what
motivates them and how to work cooperatively with them,” says Howard Gardner,
the influential Harvard theorist.

What is it like to be emotionally intelligent?

The high EI individual can better perceive emotions, use them in thought, understand their meanings, and manage emotions, than others. Solving emotional problems likely requires less cognitive effort for this individual. The person also tends to be somewhat higher in verbal, social, and other intelligence.

Why is Emotional Intelligence Important?

The way our world is evolving, there is a much greater need for people who are emotionally more intelligent as it is all about understanding the people around us in order to understand the world itself.

To give you an example, a businessman cannot make a sale unless he understands what the buyer wants irrespective of how much intelligence quotient (IQ) he has or by how much money is there in his bank account. I mean surely your IQ might get you into a good college but it still is not enough to determine if you will be successful or not. You probably know people who are academically brilliant and yet are socially inept and unsuccessful at work or in their personal relationships. The entire point is to have a balance of both.

According to a source, 75% of careers are derailed for reasons related to emotional
competencies, including the inability to handle interpersonal problems;
unsatisfactory team leadership during times of difficulty or conflict; or
inability to adapt to change or
elicit trust
  — TheCenter for Creative Leadership

In a study of skills that distinguish star performers in every field from entry-level jobs to executive positions, the single most important factor was not IQ, advanced degrees, or technical experience, it was EQ.  Of the competencies required for excellence in
performance in the job studies, 67% were emotional competencies.
 — Daniel Goleman

Daniel Goleman is known for his work on Emotional Intelligence as he wrote a book named Emotional Intelligence. To know more on this topic buy his amazing book from here.
And for his work check out his website.

Best part about Emotional intelligence is that you can actually work on it to be better at it.


1) Self-awareness

It will be absurd to spend so much time reading other people’s minds when you don’t get a word of your own. It is very important to know your potential, limits, values, and priorities. After all, all these shapes your personality. It is important to not just know about yourself but also how your emotions can affect people around you.

2) Active listening skills

You need to be able to listen to respond. Try processing everything heard before responding to any of it. The better listener you are, the better you get to understand people. Several different stories of several different individuals just make different scenarios in your head and every time you respond to each you just analyze it enough to draw conclusions from it. Hence, not just understanding people in the process but also developing a sense of responsibility to similar situations in your life or someone else’s.

3) Stay motivated

Your setbacks/failures should not make you shut people out of your life or make a waste of yourself but rather being emotionally stable enough to able to deal with situations at hand. One bad day or one wrong decision cannot determine that the rest of your life will be similar. There are more doors opening for you than the few closed ones, it is just that you are not looking hard enough. Have faith and be patient.

4) Connect your emotions with your values

Using your emotional intelligence to exploit people around you for your personal gain is not what your high EI should be used for. Therefore, it is vital to have your values of honesty, integrity, and empathy lined up for you.After all no matter how emotionally intelligent you are, if you are using it wrongly like in selling products which will actually
harm people or anything ethically wrong just because people believe you through your exceptional convincing and manipulating skills will do you much more harm
then good in the long run.

5) A positive sense of mind

Never underestimate the power of a positive attitude. You should be able to light up your mood yourself by calming your nerves. Knowing that regretting over something is done or being depressed about the past won’t do any good to you. Learn to accept what is done is done now you have to plan accordingly to clean up your mess rather than whining over it.

A girl midway jumping on a sea coast.


here are some helpful outbound links related to the topic of emotional intelligence:

  1. “What Is Emotional Intelligence?” by Psychology Today: https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/basics/emotional-intelligence This article provides an overview of emotional intelligence, including its definition, components, and importance in personal and professional contexts.
  2. “The Importance of Emotional Intelligence in the Workplace” by Forbes: https://www.forbes.com/sites/ashleystahl/2021/07/28/the-importance-of-emotional-intelligence-in-the-workplace/?sh=54f065d47f75 This article discusses the role of emotional intelligence in the workplace, including how it can impact communication, leadership, and team dynamics.
  3. “How to Improve Emotional Intelligence: Tips and Techniques” by Verywell Mind: https://www.verywellmind.com/how-to-improve-your-emotional-intelligence-4163273 This article offers practical strategies for developing and strengthening emotional intelligence, such as practicing self-awareness, empathy, and effective communication.
  4. “The Four Components of Emotional Intelligence” by Harvard Business Review: https://hbr.org/2017/02/the-four-components-of-emotional-intelligence This article provides a detailed breakdown of the four components of emotional intelligence, including self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, and relationship management.
  5. “Emotional Intelligence Test” by Greater Good Magazine: https://greatergood.berkeley.edu/quizzes/take_quiz/emotional_intelligence_test This quiz provides an opportunity to assess one’s own emotional intelligence and offers personalized feedback and suggestions for improvement.

I hope these links provide helpful information and insights into the topic of emotional intelligence and how it can be developed and applied in a variety of contexts to promote personal and professional growth and success.



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