The twelve elements of emotional intelligence
Intellect and emotional intelligence are very different things. The first is the cognitive ability to synthesize and analyze data; to solve problems and make associations based on the information available. The latter is a set of innate and learned skills that facilitate relationships and allow a person to negotiate more easily in all areas of life.
Intellect can be measured by standardized IQ tests, but there is no real measure of “EQ” or Emotional Quotient. Even without a test, it is obvious when someone has a high IQ and it is just as obvious when someone has a high EQ. However, rather than trying to measure it, it is more useful to look at the various elements that go into emotional intelligence.
While the IQ remains stable throughout a person’s life, the IQ can develop. Acquiring and practicing the following items will allow you to improve your EQ.
The first element of emotional intelligence is empathy. The ability to understand what other people are feeling will make you more sensitive and aware and result in more meaningful relationships.
The second element is the recognition that your actions have consequences. This understanding will allow you to make conscious decisions in your life and avoid unnecessary difficulties.
Third on the list is good judgment. The gift of making thoughtful decisions and seeing people for who they really are will maximize your chances of success in all areas of your life.
Number four is personal responsibility. When you take responsibility and don’t blame anyone else for your mistakes or misfortunes, you have the power to change things for the better. Other people respect you, because you acknowledge your part in your relationships.
The fifth element is perception. The ability to see yourself clearly and understand your own motivations allows the possibility of personal growth. Understanding others allows you to have a greater impact on your relationships.
Element number six is mental flexibility. Being able to change your mind or see things from different points of view allows you to navigate all kinds of relationships and succeed where other more rigid thinkers would fail.
The seventh element is compassion. Being honest with yourself can be painful, but with a kind and gentle attitude, it is much easier. This type of compassion facilitates personal transformation, while compassion for others supports deeper, loving connections.
The eighth element is integrity. Keeping commitments and keeping promises builds a lot of goodwill in personal and professional relationships and promotes success in both arenas.
Ninth on the list is impulse control. Thinking before you speak or act gives you the opportunity to make deliberate, even sophisticated, decisions about how to present yourself to others. Not acting on primitive impulses, impulses, or emotions avoids social embarrassment.
The tenth element is the ability to defer gratification. It’s one thing to want something, but the ability to put it off is empowering. Mastering your needs allows you to prioritize life goals.
Number eleven on the list is perseverance. Sticking with something, especially when it’s challenging, allows you to see it through to completion and shows others that you are trustworthy and potentially a high achiever.
The twelfth and last element is courage. Emotional courage (as opposed to the physical variety) is the ability to do the right thing, see the truth, open your heart, and trust yourself and others enough to be vulnerable, even if all of this is scary. This makes others hold you in high esteem.
All of these elements combine within you to form your emotional intelligence. With a high EQ, even a simple person has an advantage in life. Without it, even someone with the brightest intellect is at a disadvantage.