Want to make your life more meaningful? How about become more accomplished, or enjoy the fruits of your labor?
Of course you do. Luckily, it’s easier than you think, when you’ve got one huge tool on your side: emotional intelligence.
Emotional intelligence, or EQ as it is called today, has become a very popular concept in the business, HR, and psychology world.
It is simply a very healthy and effective model of how to behave in order to get more of the goodies in life in a very simple but powerful way.
Some are born with EQ, but most people have to learn it. Luckily, unlike IQ, it can be learned with hard work, practice, and a willingness to be honest with yourself.
Interested? Read on.
What Is It?
1. It’s knowing yourself well
Those high in emotional intelligence understand themselves. They develop strengths, as well as the confidence to use them effectively when making decisions and dealing with others.
They have a good sense of self, and how to get what they want using both natural talents and learned ones.
2. It’s adapting to circumstances that may arise
Individuals with a high EQ have good self-control and are able to regulate and change their behaviors to match the challenges of everyday life in work and in social situations.
They are thoughtful in how they react to situations and know that sometimes a few minutes of thoughtful deliberation may help them make better decisions.
3. It’s being able to influence others…
Thirdly, high EQ involves an ability to deal with others so one can influence them in a positive way and direct their behavior to benefit what they are trying to accomplish.
Of course, this doesn’t mean manipulation! Rather, it means inspiring them and leading them to positive goals and actions, as well as building consensus and teamwork.
Related: 10 Things Every Good Leader Knows
4. …and being able to empathize with others
Those with a high EQ are sensitive to the needs and feeling of others. An emotionally intelligent person is an excellent listener, is genuinely interested in what others have to say, and validates their feelings and opinions.
This is the most respectful thing one can do for someone, and people are attracted to someone who is able to be a good listener and is empathic.
5. Constantly moving forward
Perhaps most importantly, individuals with a high EQ possess the ability to be motivated on a daily basis while moving forward in a positive direction. They know how to be an effective, involved and self-actualized person, and constantly strive to better themselves.
Confident in their abilities, emotionally intelligent people accept the challenges and obstacles in life, and they use their high EQ as an inherent way of behaving, making decisions, and reacting to others. An emotionally intelligent person is resilient, resourceful, and driven to make a positive difference in their lives and others.
Why Should I Care About Improving My EQ?
It is absolutely 100% worth it to constantly work on increasing your EQ.
Why? Well, it can improve your life and help you to realize your full potential. Sounds pretty good, doesn’t it?
Ever known a person who just seems like the rock of everyone they know? That is, they always keep cool and stable no matter what’s happening? They’ve probably got a high EQ.
An emotionally intelligent person will have more consistency in life. They will have fewer highs and lows. They will see things more clearly, and they will have a quiet confidence that they can handle the challenges of life. They won’t let their emotions take over their rational way of thought, and they will thus have a life filled with more love, joy, and fulfillment.
On top of that, every aspect of your life will improve, because you will be better equipped to deal with life in general. Jobs will become easier and more rewarding, and your personal life will improve dramatically over time.
Consider this: some famous people who demonstrate considerable EQ would be Paul Newman, Robert Redford, and Meryl Streep. Those who do not? Justin Bieber, Lindsay Lohan, and Amanda Bynes.
Be like Meryl Streep…not Justin Bieber!
How Can A Person Develop A Higher EQ?
These skills may come naturally to some, but must be learned by others.
However, don’t fear—it is definitely possible to work on your EQ!
The beauty of emotional intelligence is that it can be learned by anyone. Like everything else, practice is the key.
Most skills take deliberate practice before becoming good at them, and so it is with emotional intelligence. You will need to incorporate these concepts into your psyches so that it becomes automatic and a part of your core belief system.
After all, one can tell the difference between someone who is naturally friendly and someone that is faking it, or when someone really cares versus someone who is patronizing.
How You Can Develop Your EQ
1. Take the Myers Briggs test
It will be easier to develop emotional intelligence if you know yourself in and out. Take the Myers Briggs test to learn what your personality type is and how you make decisions. This free test is a great place to start.
2. Work on your listening skills
Commit to becoming a good listener. Practice looking someone in the eye and just listening to what they have to say and wait to answer them until it is appropriate after they have finished.
3. Start trying to think before you act
Reacting immediately can be instinctive for some people, but for the next few days, try thinking for a couple seconds before you respond.
Decide that no matter what happens during the day, it is a choice to remain cool, thoughtful, and give important decisions time before reacting or deciding what to do.
Generally, you will make better decisions if you take some thoughtful time rather than just reacting.
4. Start believing in yourself
You can’t do anything if you don’t think you can! Develop confidence in yourself, which is the most important trait of all. This is accomplished by mastering new challenges, being good to yourself, and rejecting the internal critic that many listen to way too often.
You can develop enormous confidence by accomplishing and trying new things that are important to you, even if that means learning a new instrument or joining a intramural sports team. Engage in positive self talk. Your confidence will soar over time.
5. Create—and stick to—personal goals
It is the successful accomplishment of new goals that builds confidence, and once again, the cornerstone is deliberate practice.
By becoming goal-oriented, working on your goals daily, and practicing continuous improvement, your emotional intelligence will start to grow.
Related: 3 Steps To Achieve A New Goal
Make a list of new things you want to accomplish and work on them daily. This will build your confidence and give you momentum. Action is the key rather than just talk. Understanding is not enough. It is the doing that is the key to mastering anything and becoming emotionally intelligent.
Life is a series of choices. A person can choose to stay stagnant, or they can choose to make worthwhile adjustments in their behaviors. The exciting thing about emotional intelligence is that it is something you can control that will have enormous impact on your happiness and success.
Get started on this today. It will take courage and hard work, but it’s totally and completely worth it.
Sales consultant and freelance writer Chris J. Hillman has lived in Southern California for over 30 years. Chris consults with companies on sales improvement, and personal development using concept of emotional intelligence as the base.
Photo by Erin Fetterhoff