Your EQ Is Extremely Important
“Emotional intelligence does not mean merely “being nice”. At strategic moments it may demand not “being nice”, but rather, for example, bluntly confronting someone with an uncomfortable but consequential truth they’ve been avoiding.”
~ Daniel Goleman, Working with Emotional Intelligence
College, hell—life, in general, is difficult. Without a doubt, you will be forced to face challenges that will either scare you into self-destruction or force you into growth. During your four or five years (or more) in college, you’ll need to deal with relationships, stressful schedules, irritating coworkers, frustrating professors, and perhaps even a less than ideal social life. This is reality. This is how it will be every day for every human being. However, there’s a very important variable in each situation that will determine every outcome. You. The school you attend will focus on enhancing and opening up your mind by feeding you new information. But there’s something that’s arguably more important that’s not taught in any class at your school. I’m referring to EQ—your Emotional Intelligence.
What Is EQ
Perhaps you’ve heard of this term before. If not, then read carefully as I believe this concept is extremely important and, dare I say, vital to your overall success in college and in life. Receiving the majority of its mainstream popularity from the 1995 book Emotional Intelligence by Daniel Goleman, EQ (Emotional Quotient) is essentially one’s overall ability to regulate their emotions. Those who can manage their emotions effectively have a high EQ while those who can’t would likewise have a low EQ.
As defined in the book The Student EQ Edge, your emotional intelligence is a set of social skills that influences how we perceive stimuli and express ourselves. While IQ (Intelligence Quotient) focuses on one’s ability to comprehend topics on an overall level, EQ places more focus on understanding social skills and using this understanding advantageously. Many attribute EQ as being a predictor of those that have high work performance, can motivate themselves, can handle impulse and addictions, and who will overall become more successful. Many believe that EQ is actually far more important than IQ.
At its core, one’s EQ is determined by the combination of five different traits:
Your self-awareness is a combination of your ability to recognize shifts in your emotions as they occur as well as the degree in which you have confidence in your own personal abilities and efforts.
How well do you communicate? Are you capable of working with others as a member of a team or even as a leader? Are your efforts consistent? These are questions you’ll need to ask in order to determine your overall social skills. As mentioned earlier, a big part of EQ involves understanding not only yourself but also those around you while being able to respond appropriately.
Take a walk in someone else’s shoes in order to see where they’re going and where they’ve come from. How often do you find yourself viewing a scenario from a perspective different than your own? This is empathy at its core—the ability to see from another perspective and understand what a person is feeling.
When it comes to self-motivation, there’s a lot involved. Your optimism. The goals you set for yourself. Personal mantras and philosophies. These are all extremely important for those with good EQ to have.
Your emotions are something you can’t necessarily control. People don’t get angry, happy, or sad by choice. Rather, various external stimuli affect you. The stimuli are what determines your mood. However, someone with a great degree of self-regulation is capable of understanding where their emotions come from and managing how they are expressed. For example, rather than explode from anger, you would instead recognize the anger and find different stimuli to manipulate the anger.
To further illustrate how important this is (as well as the other components), take a look at this short video by the entrepreneur Gary Vaynerchuk about Self-Awareness.
Ways to Enhance EQ
Hopefully, by this point, you’re beginning to understand just how important EQ truly is. Remember, it’s vital for success in your career as well as life. You should want to increase your EQ as much as possible and even beyond that, right?
Here are a few methods that I think would be beneficial:
If you watch (or listen to) the news, you’ll constantly face bombardment by stories of different criminals, traumatizing events, and excessively malicious acts. The majority is negative. Now, while I’m not saying that you shouldn’t listen to the news, I am saying that you should control how much negativity you expose yourself to. The friend that complains—avoid him. Activities that make you feel depressed—avoid them. Being able to identify negativity and actively distancing yourself from it is necessary to boosting your EQ.
Learn what makes you happy
The best way to get away from negativity: do something that makes you happy—seek positivity. It sounds easy but remember, this needs to be something that you know will make you happy, instantly. And I don’t recommend drugs or alcohol as methods (mostly because, first and foremost, I believe the item itself is making you happy instead of you taking responsibility to make yourself happy). This requires self-awareness. What do you like? Me, personally, I’ll workout, watch a funny movie, or read as a means to make myself happy and eliminate the negativity. The common variable in each activity is this—distraction. Each thing I do is guaranteed to distract me from negativity, which mentally allows me to simultaneously distance myself rather than ruminate. Take time to figure out what make you happy!
“Failing to plan is planning to fail”
This quote speaks volumes. If you don’t have precise, concrete goals for yourself I encourage you to get some now. Remember how I mentioned that distracting yourself helps keep you positive? When you have goals in mind, you’ll quickly discover that an outlet will be created for you. Your mind will be focused and your thoughts will be consumed by ambition rather than weighed down with negativity.
Easily one of the most important ways to improve EQ. Take every opinion and perspective into consideration. Never dismiss what someone believes or says without a valid, well-thought-out reason. In time, you’ll learn that a part of being open-minded is developing curiosity. With curiosity comes the desire to question. Every question you ask becomes a conversation and soon you’ll realize that your empathy will increase as you will have partially lived your life in the shoes of another (even if only momentarily or partially).
Overall, my challenge to you is to go out and actively try to enhance your EQ. Even if you think your EQ is high (and it very well could be) that’s no reason to give up and not continue to reach higher. You should always be in pursuit of something greater. Hopefully, you’ve taken some value out of this article. If you have any questions, be sure to shoot me an email or ask away in the comments. Also, if you know anyone that might find the content useful, please share. And, as always, thank you for taking the time to read!