Just a few decades ago, no one questioned the importance of the IQ as a criterion of excellence in life. It was understood that the higher the IQ, that is, the higher the cognitive intelligence, the greater the probability of success. But something changed. Thanks to various investigations, a new expression burst onto the scene: emotional intelligence. Few imagined back then, the repercussion that this concept would have today. Today, we know that emotional intelligence is the ability to recognize, understand and manage emotions in us, and in interaction with others.
What do you consider most important to be successful in life: the intelligence quotient or the emotional quotient (emotional intelligence)? To answer this question, I invite you to watch this video on Youtube. It's called: "The Marshmallow Test".
A long time ago, at Harvard University, longitudinal studies on emotional intelligence were carried out. For this they left children around 6 years old alone in a room with a cloud (marshmallow) with the promise that if they did not eat it they would get one more after the experimenter. A camera monitored children's behaviors without their knowledge. What was happening? Some hid the plate, others chopped small pieces, many suffered ... but they did not eat it, and some ate it without waiting. The study showed that throughout life those who knew how to wait went further or happier than those who did not tolerate their frustration and without waiting succumbed to their immediate desire. This was the beginning of the concept of emotional intelligence. In the end, we do well when we are able to tolerate frustration, manage our emotions, think as well as feel. Since then we have been aware that how we do at work and in our relationships does not depend so much on how smart we are (that is, on our IQ) but on how we handle emotions, on our emotional intelligence.
What are the pillars of emotional intelligence?
- Self-knowledge: It consists of knowing ourselves, knowing who we are, realizing what we feel in each circumstance and what our habitual reactions are (what triggers me). If I do not recognize my emotions, I am at the mercy of them.
- Self-regulation: managing our reactions to the different emotions we feel. By this we do not mean that we should repress emotions, but that they can be modulated / adjusted when they are not appropriate for the situation in which we find ourselves.
- Self motivation: the ability I have to get going, to achieve my wishes. So as not to succumb to difficulties and tolerate frustration.
- Empathy: the ability to understand the emotions and feelings of others, to listen to them and help them.
- Finally, the social skillsThat is, communication skills, the entire set of skills that help us to relate more effectively to others. For example, our capacity for active listening, assertiveness, the ability to say no or the coherence of verbal and non-verbal communication.
Let's think for a moment:
- How are we going to manage our emotions if we don't know what we feel? (self-knowledge).
- When something goes wrong, will we let apathy take over the helm of our lives or will we get ahead? (self-regulation, motivation).
- Will we be able to understand our co-workers, partner, family ... and get along with them despite the differences we may have? (empathy, social skills).
We need emotional intelligence, calls soft skills, to be able to correctly handle the different situations that we find ourselves at work and in life.
Maria Jose Ortega