Intellect and emotional intelligence are very different things. The former is the ability to synthesize and analyze data, to problem-solve and make associations based on available information. The latter is a set of innate and learned skills which facilitate relationships and enable a person to negotiate more easily through all areas of life.
Intellect can be measured by standardized IQ tests, but there's no actual measure of what I call the "EQ," or Emotional Quotient. Even without a test, it's usually obvious when someone has a high IQ and it's just as obvious when someone has a high EQ.
Practicing the following elements will enable you to boost your EQ and improve your life.
1: Empathy. The ability to understand what other people are feeling will make you more sensitive and aware, resulting in more meaningful relationships.
2: Associating actions with consequences. This understanding will enable you to make conscious choices in your life, so as to avoid unnecessary difficulties.
3: Good judgment. The gift of making well thought-out decisions and seeing people for who they really are will maximize the possibilities of success in all areas of your life.
4: Personal responsibility. When you hold yourself accountable and don't blame anyone else for your mistakes or misfortunes, you're empowered to change things for the better. Other people respect you because you own up to your part in your relationships.
5: Insight. The ability to see yourself clearly and to understand your own motivations allows for the possibility of personal growth. Insight into others makes you more empowered in your relationships.
6: Mental flexibility. Being able to change your mind or to see things from different points of view makes it possible for you to navigate all sorts of relationships and to succeed where other, more rigid thinkers would fail.
7: Compassion. Being honest with yourself or about the people in your life can be painful. With a kind and gentle attitude, seeing the truth is much easier. Compassion towards yourself facilitates personal transformation, and compassion toward others supports deeper, more loving connections.
8: Integrity. Following through on commitments and keeping your promises creates good-will in your personal and professional relationships, promoting success in both arenas.
9: Impulse control. Thinking before speaking or acting gives you a chance to make deliberate, even sophisticated choices about how you present yourself to others. Not acting out of primitive impulses, urges or emotions prevents social consequences.
10: Deferring gratification. Empowered individuals are able to tolerate waiting for the things they want. Mastery of your needs allows you to to prioritize around life goals.
11: Perseverance. Sticking with something, especially when it's challenging, allows you to see it through to completion as well as demonstrating to others that you're dependable and potentially a high achiever.
12: Courage. Emotional courage (as opposed to the physical variety) enables you to do the right thing, see the truth, open your heart and trust yourself enough to be vulnerable despite any fears. Others hold you in high regard, as a result.
All these elements combine within you to make up your emotional intelligence. With a high EQ, even a simple person is at an advantage in life. Without it, even someone with the most brilliant intellect is at a distinct disadvantage.
Follow Marcia Sirota on Twitter: www.twitter.com/@rcinstitute