Let’s get something out of the way first. I don’t have a high IQ. In fact, I don’t even know, nor have I done any research to know, how IQs are measured. My general knowledge about things like geography, world, history, and things like that is pretty limited. I was never good at study, I’ve never scored high in school except in English language, and I’ve never been good at memorizing stuff; a must-have technique to score high in the current education system in Bangladesh.
So how did I come to know that I’m an emotionally intelligent person? This LinkedIn Pulse article describes who an emotionally intelligent person is. And most of those things describe me pretty well. I thought it would be fun to do a comparison between what Dr. Travis Bradberry described as the signs of an emotionally intelligent person and how they relate to how I think, do, and behave.
So let’s get started. Followings are excerpts from the original article that you can read over at LinkedIn Pulse.
You Have a Robust Emotional Vocabulary
All people experience emotions, but it is a select few who can accurately identify them as they occur. […] People with high EQs master their emotions because they understand them, and they use an extensive vocabulary of feelings to do so. While many people might describe themselves as simply feeling “bad,” emotionally intelligent people can pinpoint whether they feel “irritable,” “frustrated,” “downtrodden,” or “anxious.” The more specific your word choice, the better insight you have into exactly how you are feeling, what caused it, and what you should do about it.
So, let me see. I don’t necessarily have a robust vocabulary of the emotions I have, but I can actually pinpoint why I’m feeling and what I can do about it. If you ask me what my emotions or feelings are at a given point, I probably won’t have the right word to say to you. But I will know what that is. Very rarely do I have feelings when I don’t know what caused it and what I can do about it. Some would say that I’m a bit too emotional of a person, but I can pretty quickly nail down the exact reason of my emotion and I can overcome it as I know exactly what can be done about it.
So, I guess, I get a pass on this? Yeah. I think so.
You’re Curious About People
It doesn’t matter if they’re introverted or extroverted, emotionally intelligent people are curious about everyone around them. This curiosity is the product of empathy, one of the most significant gateways to a high EQ. The more you care about other people and what they’re going through, the more curiosity you’re going to have about them.
What can I say about this? I actually do care about people. And not just the people I know of — there are very few of them — but everyone I come across. Whether I see someone at the waiting area in an airport or reading a random person’s blog post or Facebook status, I find curiosity in learning more about them, getting to know them, learning what their perspectives are on life, love, and things in between.
Sure, sometimes that curiosity is misinterpreted into an awkward attempt at picking up girls, but most of the time that’s not the case. Because I’m introverted enough to not even talk to the people I’m curious about.
But if you think about it, a lot of people are curious about other people when you can bring other people’s lives and their stories in front of them. Go nowhere other than the Facebook page of ever-popular Humans of New York and you’ll know what I mean. In fact, you probably don’t need to visit it either. You most likely already know what I mean.
People care about people. I think that’s a basic human behavior. When someone stops caring about others, in my opinion, they stop being human. And trust me, it’s not as easy as you may think to stop caring for others. (Or maybe that’s just me. Who knows! In any case, I win this round. 😀 )
You Embrace Change
Emotionally intelligent people are flexible and are constantly adapting. They know that fear of change is paralyzing and a major threat to their success and happiness.
I’d be lying if I said change doesn’t scare me. But I’m in the minority who actually learn to grow with the change because whatever it is that you’re talking about, change is inevitable. You learn to cope up and make the best of it, or you fall behind. That is just what it is.
You Know Your Strengths and Weaknesses
Emotionally intelligent people don’t just understand emotions; they know what they’re good at and what they’re terrible at.
Yup, that’s me. I know what my strengths and weaknesses are. And if it makes any difference, I always admit what I’m good and terrible at. It helps me keep it in my mind what my weaknesses are and what I can do to improve on those areas. It doesn’t always work, like I’m terrible at socializing, but at least I know that!
You’re a Good Judge of Characters
Much of emotional intelligence comes down to social awareness; the ability to read other people, know what they’re about, and understand what they’re going through. Over time, this skill makes you an exceptional judge of character. People are no mystery to you. You know what they’re all about and understand their motivations, even those that lie hidden beneath the surface.
Well, I’m going to have to admit that I’m probably not good in this area. Sometimes I do have the ability to read other people and definitely understand what they’re going through. But more often than not, I don’t always understand ‘them’. People are still a mystery to me. Perhaps because I’m introverted and I don’t get to socialize and know much about them? Then again, ‘read other people’ may mean reading without actually talking to them. If it’s that, I’m not good at that either.
I’m not a people person. So it’s not surprising to me that I’m no good at reading other people ninety percent of the time.
You Are Difficult to Offend
If you have a firm grasp of whom you are, it’s difficult for someone to say or do something that gets your goat. Emotionally intelligent people are self-confident and open-minded, which creates a pretty thick skin.
This might be tricky because I can get angry on social media sometimes. But I don’t get offended that easily. And most of the time when I do, I don’t let the other person know that I was offended. Is that a good thing or a bad thing? Good thing as it means I will have fewer things to talk about as in I won’t have to explain to them why I’m offended. Being an introverted person, the idea of having to talk less is of precious value to me. That’s probably the most important reason why I don’t easily get offended.
That is not to say I get easily offended and I hide it. No, I don’t easily get offended. I have the habit of taking everything easy. I figured it’s an effective way to avoid most difficult situations even before they come.
You Know How to Say No (to Yourself and Others)
Emotional intelligence means knowing how to exert self-control. You delay gratification, and you avoid impulsive action.
This couldn’t be truer for me. I’m very good (and strict) about saying ‘No’ to myself. I can control and avoid impulsive actions. And I’m good at avoiding things that I would regret later on.
However, I’m not yet good at saying no to others. There are times when I end up doing something I’d rather not do just because I wasn’t brave enough or didn’t find a polite way to say no. In life, being able to say no in a way that doesn’t offend the other person is an important, albeit difficult art to master. Sadly, I haven’t yet done that.
You Let Go of Mistakes
Emotionally intelligent people distance themselves from their mistakes, but do so without forgetting them.
You know what? That’s me again! I have made a lot of mistakes and I’m surely not proud of them. But when looking back at those mistakes, all I think is: I wish I hadn’t done that or had done differently. I don’t mourn. I don’t spend unnecessary time thinking what would have happened if I did things differently. Okay, maybe I do. 😛 But not too much.
I’ve seen far too many people spending too much time grieving the mistakes they’ve made. And the result? Nothing but more time spent grieving. Now, that’s not going anywhere, is it?
You Give and Expect Nothing in Return
When someone gives you something spontaneously, without expecting anything in return, this leaves a powerful impression.
To avoid bragging, I’m going to say, this is the case most of the time. Whether I know the person or not, I don’t expect anything in return. People can be cruel. People can forget you despite you being the only one there when they needed you. By expecting nothing in return of anything you give — whether a thing or favor — you actually have a better time. If they do give you back in return, you can consider that a bonus. If not, well, you didn’t expect anything, right?
You Don’t Hold Grudges
No, I don’t. Sometimes I do hold grudges for a short period of time. But over time, I forgive and forget. If it makes me a happier person, why hold a grudge, right?
You Neutralize Toxic People
I’m gonna have to say no to this one as well. I’m not a people person. So more often than not, I’m nowhere near toxic people. The few times I am, I tend to make not a big deal out of it. But yes, I do try not to get my anger in the way and keep my cool. I can’t say it works all the time. But most of the time, it does.
You Don’t Seek Perfection
Emotionally intelligent people won’t set perfection as their target because they know that it doesn’t exist. Human beings, by our very nature, are fallible. When perfection is your goal, you’re always left with a nagging sense of failure that makes you want to give up or reduce your effort.
This is so true that I feel like printing it out and hanging over the wall. Not that I need that, though. I don’t seek perfection in life. Because, as the quoted portion says it, it doesn’t exist! Which brings me to the next point:
You Appreciate What You Have
Taking time to contemplate what you’re grateful for isn’t merely the right thing to do; it also improves your mood because it reduces the stress hormone cortisol by 23%.
I’d be lying if I said I didn’t always want more. That’s basic human nature, right? Your want always increases the more you have. But I’ve never had the feeling that I didn’t have enough. I’ve always appreciated what I have. There have been plenty of things in my life that I’m grateful for. There are things that I probably don’t deserve. There are others who deserve those things more than I do. Still I have them. And I’m happy for what I have. I appreciate what I have. And that’s a really good feeling to have.
Taking regular time off the grid is a sign of a high EQ because it helps you to keep your stress under control and to live in the moment. When you make yourself available to your work 24/7, you expose yourself to a constant barrage of stressors. Forcing yourself offline and even—gulp!—turning off your phone gives your body and mind a break.
Oh, my friends are gonna love this! I disconnect, and I disconnect a lot. 😀 I’m infamous for having my phone turned off for no apparent reasons. And ever since I’ve got a full-time job, which means I have set goals to work towards, I take regular breaks from computers and internet just so I can have fresh mind the next time I’m at work.
So yeah, disconnecting may not be my favorite thing to do (It is, when it comes to phone! I don’t like talking over the phone.), I disconnect, and I disconnect more often than your average people.
You Get Enough Sleep
It’s difficult to overstate the importance of sleep to increasing your emotional intelligence and managing your stress levels. When you sleep, your brain literally recharges, shuffling through the day’s memories and storing or discarding them (which causes dreams) so that you wake up alert and clearheaded.
I get enough, and sometimes more than enough, sleep. Just ask my mom. 😀
You Stop Negative Self-Talks in Its Tracks
The more you ruminate on negative thoughts, the more power you give them. Most of our negative thoughts are just that—thoughts, not facts.
I’m very good at controlling my thoughts and this is no different. I can’t tell you how many people I’ve seen who are pretty much drowning into negative thoughts. I mean, what’s the worst that could happen? A lot of things that could go wrong? Thinking, or being overly tensed about something that you probably can’t control (e.g., the future!) does rarely do any good.
Besides, when you think negatively of yourself, you’re [probably] heading that way. Keeping yourself in high regards, even in your thoughts, makes you accountable to yourself. When you think positive things, you automatically start to think ahead on how to achieve those positive things. On the other hand, when you think of negative things, you start thinking about how to avoid those negative things. So you waste your energy thinking about avoiding imaginary problems that may not even take place.
I’m certainly not sure if what I just wrote is scientifically true. But it’s true for me. I’ve learned this at a very early age and it has helped me focus on the better side of things in life.
You Won’t Let Anyone Limit Your Joy
When your sense of pleasure and satisfaction are derived from the opinions of other people, you are no longer the master of your own happiness. When emotionally intelligent people feel good about something that they’ve done, they won’t let anyone’s opinions or snide remarks take that away from them.
This, too, is so true that I wish I could force those people to read this who are obsessed over what other people think or may think. There are so many things to write about this point that an entirely new blog (not just a post) can be dedicated to this topic. But instead of doing that, I’d like you — the reader — to spend 12 more minutes of your precious time and read this article that pretty much nails the topic.
Caution: Too many F-words appear in this article so it may not be safe for work environment.
Am I Emotionally Intelligent?
If you’ve read this far, kudos to you! You’ve probably noticed not all of the signs match with who I am, how I think, do, and behave. But if you do a quick count, I hit more checklists than I don’t. So that’s probably to say that I am indeed an emotionally intelligent person.
So what’s next? Nothing. Life will go on, and I will continue to be a better person. The joy of knowing that I’m an emotionally intelligent person is good enough reason to celebrate by writing this post. Yes, there will be a few people who will read this and think how big of a show-off I am. But I don’t care. Do you know why?
Because I don’t let anyone limit my joy. And neither should you. Your life will be infinitely better if you can start doing just this. 🙂
So, what about you? How many of these checklists do you hit? Are you an emotionally intelligent person? Start a conversation in the comments about any thoughts that popped on your mind while reading this.