Emotional Intelligence (EI, aka EQ)

As we noted in the Brief Introduction to our  "Use Your Heart" articles, we regard our feelings to be an important aspect of what realities we see and how we see them.  And, as you might well imagine, the topic of emotions can be, well, complicated, controversial, and sometimes pretty emotional.  But, heck, that's not stopped us in the past.

 if you haven't read the Brief Introduction and would like to take a look now.

We'll start with a definition of emotion:

Noun:  (1)A natural instinctive state of mind deriving from one's circumstances, mood, or relationships with others. (2) Any of the particular feelings that characterize such a state of mind, such as joy, anger, love, hate, horror, etc 

In other words, emotions are a variety of feelings states..

Emotions affect both how we see things and how we react (behave in response) to things.  They can be pretty important in daily life.

We tend to divide them into two categories:

Positive emotions, such as happiness, joy, and contentment.

 

Negative emotions, such as anger, fear, and sorrow.

 

For the most part, we seek the former and try to avoid the latter.

Let's begin with a little background into Emotional Intelligence 

Starting with intelligence: Intelligence Quotient (IQ) has been reliably measured using various assessment tools (and, indeed, the concept of IQ is often linked to the method of measurement), which means people score the same (give, or take a few points) on repeated measures (that's what it means to say the IQ test is "reliable").  So far, so good.

But does IQ actually predict anything.  This is a question of validity (not reliability), specifically "predictive validity" (researchers consider this to be one of the most important kinds of validity).  Well, it does fairly well with academic performance.  It also seems to somewhat predict professional and personal success.  But some with high IQs don't actually do that well in life.

Just so you know, we do discuss intelligence, including the various aspects of intelligence, elsewhere on our web site.  See link below.

Moving on to emotion: So, enter the notion of another kind of intelligence, emotional intelligence.  Since thoughts can be influenced by feelings (and vice versa), some began to explore the notion that how we handle our emotions may contribute to how effective our intellectual abilities are.

Now for a definition of Emotional Intelligence (EI):

There have been a variety of approaches to the notion of Emotional Intelligence, with the result that there have been a variety of definitions, all of which are fairly similar.  A review of the common terms used to define emotional intelligence, we arrive at the following definition:

EI is an ability (one that may be inborn, or one that me be acquired over time, or some of both) to recognize and monitor emotions in one's self and in others, and to differentiate among them.  In other words, it is a cognitive (as compared to affective/emotional) process of self-awareness. Such recognition provides information that can guide our understanding of the world around us and use that understanding to guide our actions and behaviors.

Emotional Quotient (EQ)

Like IQ, which measures intelligence, EQ is a measure of how much Emotional Intelligence we have and use, when seeing and reacting to the world around us.

And the point is?

The point here is that emotions can affect our perceptions of reality in many ways.  They can lead to a variety of biases and misperceptions, if we don't recognize their presence and take them into account.

Emotional Intelligence then is the degree to which we can do all this.  The higher our EQ, the better we can see reality and respond appropriately. 

NOTE: This does NOT mean recognizing our emotions so we can ignore, or suppress them..  After all, our feelings form a foundation for our value systems.  So all it means is that the more conscious we are of them, the better we can function in life, the better we can see and respond to the realities that affect us.

What's your EQ?  Folks have devised various means to find measure EQ.  This link leads to one such method.

 To read about empathy

 To read about emotions working for, or against you

 To see our discussion of intelligence

 To go to the Articles Page

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