What Is Emotional Intelligence

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Suppose you think that intelligence is just a matter of calculations, numbers, scientific concepts, and the like in reality. It is immediately worth considering that there is a “form” of intelligence that you should develop and cultivate, which could constitute your own. Lever of greater success in personal relationships, as well as in professional ones: emotional intelligence. But what is emotional intelligence? How to “try it” and take a test? Why do we often talk about Goleman’s works when we talk about emotional intelligence? And, again, how can you train your emotional intelligence?

In essence, these are numerous questions that… deserve more than a few hasty answers!

And for this very reason, today, I wanted to dedicate a complete study to this theme to focus a little. But let’s go in order!

What is emotional intelligence?

Of course, this in-depth journey on emotional intelligence, or emotional intelligence, can only start with a brief introductory overview.

Let us, therefore, try to define emotional intelligence as an aspect of intelligence in the broad sense. However explicitly linked to the ability to recognize, use, understand, and consciously manage one’s own emotions and those of others.

We are faced with a relatively new definition of “intelligence,” coined especially in the 90s of the century by some particularly famous works, which over the years has found fertile ground. 

What is an emotional intelligence test?

At this point, you may well be wondering how you can recognize an emotionally intelligent person from a person who has never developed (or perhaps has not yet) his emotional intelligence.

Indeed … it is not difficult! And with a little attention, you too will understand what the dividing line is between a person with emotional intelligence and a person who has obvious gaps in this ability.

Well, I can tell you that people who have a specific competence on the emotional level know better control their feelings and – I would add, above all – can correctly read and interpret others’ feelings and relate in the social sphere. Effectively, based on this.

You do not need to be an expert in the sector to understand that people who have this type of skills are also people who demonstrate that they have an edge in any relational field: from family to work, from the most intimate relationships to the most social ones. Enlarged, people with emotional intelligence recognize themselves. Generally, they are brighter, more successful, easier and more pleasant to contact, and so on.

Anyway, allow me a little confession.

The above evaluations are not mine (even if I fully endorse them!) But they are a free interpretation of an unmissable work by Daniel Goleman. The author has long illustrated how emotional intelligence can be a strong skill in a person’s life.

What is emotional intelligence: Goleman

Goleman is certainly the most famous author in the world when it comes to emotional intelligence. But what are the main characteristic terms of Goleman’s assessments on the topic of emotional intelligence?

Even if I do not aspire to summarize the impressive work that Goleman has done on this topic in a few lines. Which I advise you to study carefully by reading his volumes directly. I can still provide you with some ideas on how the author believes that emotional intelligence encompasses five main characteristics. Which ones are they?


The first piece that I recommend you feed if you want to understand what emotional intelligence is and what its characteristics are is self-awareness or, if you prefer, self-awareness.

When we talk about self-awareness, we mean the ability to be sufficiently aware of one’s emotional state, going to know and be able to express one’s feelings openly. It means getting to know each other more deeply, understanding your weaknesses and your strengths. Consequently, a person who is emotionally intelligent and who knows how to exploit the relationship between emotion and learning is also the one who knows how to understand where. It is necessary to intervene to fill the gap matured in some aspects of one’s character, and were instead to consolidate one’s advantages. Again, the emotionally intelligent person is the one who willingly accepts constructive criticism because he has good confidence in himself and in the possibility of “fulfilling himself.”


The second element Goleman focuses on, after self-awareness, is self-control. As can be guessed, by self-control Goleman means the possibility of knowing how to manage oneself, or to dominate one’s strongest emotions and disturbances, channeling them towards constructive purposes, in addition to the integrity that can be obtained from the transparency of authentic openness to others of one’s feelings their beliefs and their actions.


The third step that you should equip yourself with to further integrate your picture on emotional intelligence is related to empathy, whichThis can be defined as the ability to perceive and recognize other people’s feelings and tune in with them by adopting their perspective emotionally.

I could, therefore, hastily define empathy as the ability to put yourself in other people’s shoes, trying to create an emotional relationship with the counterpart in order to improve the success of the relationship. It is a real point of extraordinary effectiveness to be able to develop any relationship positively. 


The fourth element that Goleman identified as constitutive of emotional intelligence is motivation. But what did the author mean by reason?

At least in this area of ​​study, motivation can be defined as the ability to encourage oneself to achieve one’s goals. Becoming the protagonists of one’s change with particular proactivity, positivity, commitment, and dedication.

Social skills

Finally, we close with social skills. That is, with the ability that each of us should have in managing our emotions well during relationships with others and try to deal effectively with every interaction. 

If we wanted to move the waters a bit and try to build a path that, taking a cue from Goleman’s evaluations. It can help us understand how it is possible to have better emotional intelligence. I could perhaps venture to create a path of development that is constituted in this way:

  • try to know your emotions, reading yourself thoroughly, analyzing your strengths and weaknesses in your character, because only in this way will you be able to understand where to work to improve yourself;
  • monitor your emotions, try to free them where necessary, control them and keep them at bay where it is preferable;
  • motivate yourself, building day by day a positive impulse towards achieving your goals;
  • recognize the emotions of others, developing your empathy. Thus putting yourself in other people’s shoes to build positive relationships;
  • manage relationships with others to settle any possible conflicts and disputes, and instead orient your relationships profitably.

How to improve your emotional intelligence

I am taking a cue from the short path that I wanted to trace above in five points. I now want to try to share with you as many tips that I suggest you keep in mind and customize to develop a reasonable and more appreciable emotional intelligence in a short time.

The knowledge of one’s emotions

Suppose you have carefully read the lines that I have tried to write above in the clearest and most transparent way possible. You should well know that the first step you should take in order to complete your “learning” path of emotional intelligence is that of knowing one’s emotions. But how can you “know” your feelings?

On the other hand, knowing your emotions means knowing yourself, becoming more aware of your mood of the moment, your thoughts and perceptions about it, and … not only. In short, a nice mess for those who have never dealt with it, right?

You can do a lot (and now!) To improve your position in this context. I want to show you a practical, concrete step: giving a name from emotions.

Now and then, during the day, stop and think about “how you feel” and try to describe it in words. Try to label the emotions you are feeling in such a way as to force yourself to be more and more aware of your perceptions. Naming emotions will also allow you to reflect on what you are feeling. Tying it to the past but focusing it on the present and avoiding acting impulsively without understanding why.

The exercise with which I want to close this paragraph is, therefore, very simple: how do you feel now? And what words would you use to define your mood?

Do this simple test at least 2-3 times a day. I am taking a few minutes to take your time to reflect on yourself.

What is emotional intelligence monitoring?

Now that you have gotten used to evaluating your emotions and giving them a name. The time has come to take a very important second step, to which I will link some concrete suggestions. After all, it is a foresight that you can well link to the first point of this guide, right?

Monitoring emotions means being in a condition of full control of the flow of emotions you are experiencing in a more or less significant, linear, or contrasting way. So try to monitor this flow of emotions with awareness, and understand which ones are occurring and why. 

Rather, with the need to monitor your emotions. I want to invite you to recognize the emotional flow you are experiencing and to recognize accommodate it to restore an inner state of well-being that will allow you to avoid being crushed under the weight of uncontrolled emotions.

Again, there is a small exercise that I recommend you do cyclically and, above all, when you feel that there may be a flurry of uncontrollable emotions.

My suggestion is also, in this case, to carve out some time. This time you will not only have to limit yourself to labeling emotions. As we did in the previous point, but try to confront yourself up to the point of mastering and managing them with due maturity.

The motivation of oneself

But what do I mean by using the term “motivation”?

However, the thing that I think is most important, and that in this summary area I want to share with you, is that using emotional intelligence means knowing how to use your emotions as if they were the basic motivation for your actions. Therefore try not to let yourself be crushed by the emotional flow. As often happens to people less attentive to the theme of emotional intelligence, as a starting point for achieving your purposes. We imagine you have to study a lot to be able to pass an exam. Rather than focusing on the action (the study), try to orient your emotions on purpose (passing the exam). In this way, your feelings will act as a propulsive lever to get you closer to the final goal. You are avoiding instead that the less stimulating emotions (those that speak of actions) are recalled.

Recognition of other people’s emotions

Taking another step forward, we come to recognize the emotions of others. That is, to the development of what we have defined as empathy. Getting in tune with the people we talk to is essential to develop a more positive relationship.

Again, there are some small exercises you could do to accelerate the achievement of a good emotional intelligence condition. The simplest, but by no means ineffective, is simply understanding. How you would feel in the person you are talking to and what emotions that person would likely think towards you.

It is, after all, an enviable advantage, but far too underestimated!

The management of emotions

We, therefore, arrive at the ability to manage emotions. That is, at the final stage of our little path of development of emotional intelligence.

Being able to manage emotions allows us to be able to use our feelings correctly. The feedback we get from others to effectively manage every relationship. Resolving conflicts and communication problems, improving relations with others, and so on.

However, I will talk about this last point in another in-depth study. Keep following me and, in the meantime, also take a look at my focus on the Growth Mindset theme!

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