Is emotional intelligence one of the most valuable skills to have and how can we nurture it?
Ask yourself, have you ever paid attention to your emotions? Do they influence your decision-making? While our grades are important, students are regularly instructed to acquire and analyse essential skills that go beyond their studies, which would benefit their survival needs and future occupation.
Yet many fail to realise that as learning and organisation cultures evolve, one thing remains essential throughout the constant change — the need for emotional intelligence (EI).
The term emotional intelligence (EI), commonly measured by emotional quotient (EQ), is defined as designating skills and abilities that aid us in identifying, understanding, and conversing emotions in ourselves and others. In simpler terms, as you develop your EI, you’ll be able to use emotions to tackle cognitive thinking and consider different aspects that will influence your decision-making better.
Simple as it may sound, it takes a lot of effort to obtain and grow your EI because it’s constructed out of 5 components: self-awareness, self-regulation, self-motivation, empathy, and social skills; and when one lacks, the result differs.
We’ve established the existence of EI, but why is it crucial in succeeding?
To interpret, when you’re able to control your emotions, you can achieve your true potential. It may appear simple, but just because your emotions are present doesn’t imply that they’re uniformly under control.
According to the World Economic Forum, emotional intelligence is said to be one of the top 10 skills needed for professional success and the global demand for it is set to increase 6 times in the next 3-5 years.
So why is EI so sought after?
This is because EI helps to achieve self-actualisation. When you can acknowledge and respond positively to destruction in your path to success based on the different components, you can actively strive into discovering an alternative track to succeed — ultimately resulting in you working to your best potential.
This concept of EI quickly attracted modern workplaces as it’s the most influenced predictor of performance. To sum it all up, especially in the workplace, EI helps in factors such as interpersonal functioning, leadership abilities, and stress management and yes — this could be used in different job scopes. This is because accentuating EI in any setting would help individuals to be more transparent in expressing, managing, and enhancing their performance, as well as others.
With the knowledge of what EI is and why it’s important, how do we bridge the gap between what we know and what we should do?
Emotional intelligence carries its complexity. However, the main fundamentals is to acknowledge, comprehend, and apply emotions.
If you’d like to start developing and enhancing your EI, begin with mindfulness.
We often hear the term mindfulness in events of being grounded and present. This is a great starter as mindfulness is positively correlated with more certainty of feelings.
In other words, it allows you to be more self-aware of your emotions.
To add on, you can also pick up activities such as journaling as it’ll help you to segregate and manage the different types of emotions you feel. When you journal, you’re able to engage with your emotions through self-reflection and, therefore, help your brain to self-regulate them. You may journal through writing or by just recording yourself — any style counts!
Another key thing you can try is to focus on self-motivation. People with a higher level of EI are usually motivated by more than what meets the eye. Find something that you love about your work or the programme that you’re studying and take inspiration from it. Not only would this help identify what motivates you but would also help in maintaining a more positive attitude especially during stressful times.
Finally, to improve your emotional intelligence, whether you’re an introvert, extrovert, or an ambivert, it’s important to build your social skills. This would help better your social cues when dealing with others and help when dealing with people at the workplace — regardless of whether they’re your colleagues, clients, or even future employees! And as you grow your social skills, you’ll come to understand others and their emotions more, resulting in an increase in empathy.
So, how can you do this while you’re still a student in university?
Take the opportunity to mix and mingle with a wide variety of people through the different clubs & societies. Saw someone new join your class? Greet them and make them feel welcome.
There are so many opportunities that await you to grow your EI while in university — you just have to make the best of it.
Did You Know?
EI is such an important factor for us today that it’s considered a Life Skill in Taylor’s and is even part of the compulsory modules for all first year, first semester Degree and Diploma students? Find out more about it here.
Moreover, for individuals that chose to advance their EI, you could always develop and improve through assessment and coaching. Although coaching classes are usually done in a formal setting, it’s definitely interactive and provides opportunities to develop emotional competencies through trust and constructive feedback.
Overall, emotional intelligence is vital at every stage of a person's life — from university students seeking internships to experienced individuals hoping to advance to a position of authority.
To shine in the 21st Century, emotional intelligence is essential to your success.
Ishaanaah Ravi is currently pursuing a Bachelor’s Degree in Education at Taylor's University. She is also a member of the Taylor’s Leo Club and Girl Up. She enjoys reading and creative writing during her free time but also relishes conducting volunteering work, believing that we make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give.
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