Your EQ Matters!

Do you know what your EQ is? No, that's not a typo, and I'm not talking about IQ (Intelligence Quotient). What I'm referring to is what I call EQ orEmotional Intelligence Quotient.

For too long, intelligence has been defined in a very narrow manner. Of course, the ability to learn languages, solve scientific problems, andcomprehend great literature is important and impressive, but, such abilities merely demonstrate a high IQ, not a high EQ, (emotional intelligence). Just because somebody may understand quantum mechanics or know how to build a computer does not mean that they possess great empathy or intuition.

I would attribute most of the success I've had to my EQ and before exploring ways of improving your EQ, it would be helpful to define the characteristics of emotionally intelligent people by their mindset and observable behavior patterns:

They know their own mind. That is, they are aware of their emotions; they would, for example, recognize that they have anger issues, or that they are too negative, cynical, or insensitive. And this awareness extends to others.

They pick up on others' emotional states and what to do about them. They know when to leave someone alone, when to comfort them, and when to give them constructive feedback. For example, they would know what to say to calm a crying child, or how to cheer up a depressed significant other.

They know how to manage their own emotions. They would how to ease a bout of depression, how to manage stress, and how to assert their needs.

Emotional intelligence is vital to a peaceful and productive life. Those who excel in this often do much better at work, earn more money, and have happier family lives. And the good news is that, unlike IQ, someone's EQ can increase greatly over the course of their life.

My challenge for you this week:

If you wish to improve your EQ, try the following:

  1. Learn how to be intimate. The emotionally intelligent know how to connect with people at a deep level, and to quickly delve beneath the pleasantries so they can establish intimacy. In personal relationships with lovers, friends, and family, they can maintain this intimacy over the years. In order to do this you must improve your language skills. At the heart of a good, intimate relationship is your ability to express your feelings, to be open, and to be loving.

  2. Be assertive--not aggressive. The assertive are never aggressive. Aggressive people scream and shout because they do not have the language to express their discontent. Far from a sign of strength, aggressiveness is often a sign of insecurity and fear. Whereas the aggressive person grows angry, the assertive remains calm.

  3. Learn to accept change and recover from setbacks and failures. The emotionally intelligent have a realistic view of life. They know that nothing remains the same, that loved ones will die, that children will leave home, and that job status can change. Because they have this realistic view, they are in a better place to cope when such things happen. The emotionally weak, by contrast, find it difficult to face reality.

  4. Learn to cope with people you don't understand. Those low on emotional intelligence allow others to "get to" them. They are hurt by criticism or rejection, and tend to be either aggressive or passive when confronted by rudeness, nastiness, and spite. Be your own person. Don't pin your self-esteem on the acceptance and approval of others. If you do, you will be sucked into trivial mind games. When people are obnoxious and unpleasant, try to understand; there is often a reason for their behavior.

So if you're ready to become more successful in life, it's time to begin working on your EQ!

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