What is Emotional Intelligence: Explained in Simple Words

Greetings, friends!

Emotional intelligence is the most important factor in success in all areas of life. It helps to better cope with work, to find a common language with colleagues, management and partners, to control their desires and needs. People with high EQs are generally more successful and happier in their marriage, as they have little to no fights with their loved ones. Today we will take a closer look at what emotional intelligence is, what constituents it consists of, why it is so important and how to develop it. Let’s start.

What is emotional intelligence?

Emotional intelligence is a person’s ability to correctly understand other people’s emotions, predict them and react to them correctly, as well as feel, interpret, regulate and express their own experiences.

Emotional intelligence is necessary not only in order to feel and take into account other people’s emotions … It allows us to better control our own experiences. And the mood, as you know, strongly affects the state of health and performance. Emotional intelligence directly affects how decisive a person is, whether he knows how to fight procrastination and correctly prioritize.

In the psychological literature, the concept of “emotional literacy” is encountered. The term usually refers to acquired knowledge of human emotions. That is, emotional intelligence is the ability to feel emotions and manage them on an intuitive level, and emotional literacy is a combination of theoretical and practical knowledge about emotions and their management. Often these terms are identified, although this is not entirely the correct approach.

By the way, you can assess the level of your emotional intelligence right now by passing a simple test.

How did you come up with term?

At the turn of the 19th and 20th centuries, researchers began to show an increased interest in human intellectual abilities. Tests have been developed to determine the level of intelligence development and express it as a numerical value – IQ (Intelligence Quotient). At the time, it seemed like a breakthrough. It was believed that IQ can be used to judge how successful a person will be in career and life.

In practice, it turned out that a high IQ did not always guarantee success. At the same time, people with relatively low IQs often built dizzying careers, created successful companies, became popular politicians, successfully settled their personal lives, and had a large number of good friends. Studying their abilities, the researchers came to the conclusion that they are helped by another type of intelligence – emotional. To measure it, a new indicator was introduced – EQ (Emotional Quotient).

The first to investigate the practical importance of emotion, was Charles Darwin. In 1872, he wrote an extensive work describing the manifestation of emotionality as an important factor in survival and success in prehistoric society, as well as in ancient civilizations. The term “emotional intelligence” was coined in the early 1960s by Michael Beldock , with the publication of a scientific article “The ability to understand emotions in three different ways of communication.”

A little later, in the 1980s, the theory of emotional intelligence began to flourish in the United States and Europe. Scientists have conducted research and devoted huge scientific works to this topic, considering it one of the most important discoveries in psychology. At the same time, the main number of tests appeared to assess the emotional intelligence of a person.

Components of emotional intelligence

Studying the nature of emotional intelligence, scientists came to the conclusion that it consists of several components. Various methods of separation have been proposed, but the Mayer-Salovey-Caruso model is considered the most accurate and correct today. According to this model, emotional intelligence consists of 4 components:

1. Mindfulness . Understanding your own emotions is the key to being able to take control of them, significantly develop willpower and get rid of laziness.

2. Self-esteem. Adequate perception of one’s abilities helps to become more decisive, to stop being dependent on others and to learn to better control one’s own behavior.

3. Motivation. A person with a high EQ always strives for self-development and self-actualization. There is also a feedback – a continuously developing person increases his own EQ.

4. Adaptability . Developed emotional intelligence allows a person to quickly join a new team, endure stress more easily, make the right decisions under the pressure of circumstances.

Why is emotional intelligence so important?

In the middle of the 20th century, scientists came to the conclusion that a high IQ does not guarantee success in life. Even the careers of those with high intelligence are not always successful, and in communication they often demonstrate a noticeable social “awkwardness”. Surely, among your friends there are people with outstanding intellectual abilities who easily solve technical problems but constantly find themselves in awkward situations and look stupid in ordinary life. If you yourself are that person, you don’t need to explain why emotional intelligence is so important. So in the series “The Big Bang Theory” most of the comic scenes are based on the inability of the main characters (by the way, genius scientists) to behave normally in society.

The series has a prequel – “Sheldon’s Childhood”. It explains very well what emotional intelligence is and why it is so important. The main character is a 9-year-old boy with an incredibly high IQ and an extremely low EQ. Young Sheldon Cooper is so smart that from the age of 6 he fills out his parents’ tax return. However, he never understands what others are thinking and feeling.

Emotional intelligence affects such aspects of our life as:

  1. Learning ability . It is not only about studying at school and university, but also about the ability to learn in adulthood. A person with a high EQ perfectly understands what he needs to study for. He just picks up and reads a book or practices solving problems. At the same time, he feels pleasure, realizing that he is getting better.
  2. Productivity at work . Developed emotional intelligence helps you to work without distraction. Such a person does not think about fleeting desires, he perfectly knows how to distinguish between time for work and for rest. Therefore, the concept of “laziness” simply does not exist for him.
  3. Mental state, resistance to stress . A person with a high EQ perfectly understands the meaninglessness of unnecessary worries. He is much better at staying calm in difficult situations.
  4. Physical health . Stress is known to affect your well-being. And if the person is good sho resists stress, then his health is stronger. In addition, people with high EQs boast good self-control, which makes them less prone to bad habits and more likely to lead a healthy lifestyle.
  5. Love and friendship . The ability to feel the emotions of the interlocutor is a real gift that allows you to create a strong family and build good relationships with friends.

How to develop emotional intelligence?

We have already decided that emotional intelligence is necessary for us to be successful in any area of ​​our life. This is the most important social skill on which communication with dear people, study, career, mental and even physical health depends. Anyone should be interested in developing it. Fortunately, each of us can do this. It is enough to exercise regularly, and the first results can be felt in 2-3 weeks. We will look at 5 simple, but very effective exercises.

1. Choose names for emotions (yours and others)

Our daily life consists of many emotions – pleasant or not. We may feel happy or depressed, but we usually don’t bother to understand exactly what we’re experiencing at the moment. But this is a great exercise for developing emotional intelligence. Learn to identify your own and others’ emotions by naming the word that best describes them.

Gradually you will learn subtly distinguish between joy, happiness, delight, relief, satisfaction, pleasant anticipation and many other positive emotions. Of course, you need to train with negative emotions as well. Anxiety, fear, anger, resentment, emptiness, disappointment, irritation – there are also quite a few of them. By learning to distinguish between them, you can better understand yourself and others.

2. Put yourself in other people’s shoes

We often get angry, annoyed, or upset if a person does not behave the way we want. But every action has its own reasons. Therefore, the next time, instead of dissatisfaction , try to put yourself in the place of the person who upset you and understand what he was guided by, what he felt and what he wanted when he did an act you did not like. Perhaps he was upset or tired. Or maybe right now he is very worried about something, and only your condemnation is not enough for him “for complete happiness.”

3. Expand your horizons

The less a person is interested in the world around him and the less he understands its diversity, the lower his emotional intelligence. Therefore, it is necessary to expand the horizons in all available ways: read books and memoirs, be interested in the news of science and the latest technological advances, travel and communicate with different people, devote time to self-development and self-education. Even watching new films helps to broaden your horizons.

4. Try to think 2 steps ahead

People with high EQ have a good ability to plan actions and follow the intended plan. Causality works in both directions here, so the habit of thinking through your actions and their consequences develops emotional intelligence. Set priorities, allocate resources, build long-term strategies in everything: at work, in rest, in communication, in family affairs. Reflect regularly on how you can achieve improvements in important areas of life in the near future.

5. Break the usual patterns of behavior

There are many typical patterns of behavior (what is a pattern?) That we adhere to unnoticed. Try not to quarrel and not create scandals when it seems to you that circumstances literally oblige you to do so. Try to listen more and talk less, learn to feel when the person wants to speak out , and let him do it. Be ready to help and help as soon as you are asked for help. Learn to be more attentive to everything, always and everywhere.

Also, do not neglect such methods of developing emotional intelligence as psychological training and communication with a psychotherapist. For residents of Europe and the United States, psychotherapy sessions are normal, but in our culture it is not yet very popular. However, this opportunity should not be neglected, because it is the most powerful tool for self-knowledge. It is much easier to delve into your experiences when the therapist helps.


The good news is that EQ is easier to develop than IQ … With a purposeful effort, you can significantly increase it even in adulthood. And this opportunity should not be neglected, because in the modern world, emotional intelligence affects a person’s success much more than ordinary.