The Major Qualities Making up Emotional Intelligence
Psychological experts agree that IQ contributes only about 20 percent of the factors that determine success. A full 80 percent comes from other factors, including what I call emotional intelligence. The following are some of the major qualities that make up emotional intelligence, and how they can be developed:
The ability to recognize a feeling as it happens is the foundation of emotional intelligence. People with greater knowledge of their emotions are better pilots of their lives. Developing self-awareness requires tuning in to what emotions make our bodies feel like — literally, gut feelings(直觉). Gut feelings can occur without a person being consciously aware of them. For example, when people who fear snakes are shown a picture of a snake, monitors attached to their skin will detect sweat, a sign of anxiety, even though the people say they do not feel fear.
Through deliberate effort we can become more aware of our gut feelings. Take someone who is annoyed by an encounter for hours after it occurred. He may be unaware of his irritability and surprised when someone calls attention to it. But if he evaluates his feelings, he can change them.
2. Mood Management.
Bad as well as good moods add flavor to life and build character. The key is balance.
Of all the moods that people want to escape, rage seems to be the hardest to deal with. What should you do to relieve rage? One myth is that voicing your rage will make you feel better. In fact, researchers have found that's one of the worst strategies. Explosions of rage pump up the brain's arousal system, leaving you more angry, not less. A more effective technique is "reframing", which means consciously reinterpreting a situation in a more positive light.
Positive motivation — the gathering of feelings of enthusiasm, energy and confidence — is vital for achievement. Studies of Olympic athletes, world-class musicians and chess masters show that their common trait is the ability to motivate themselves to pursue harsh training routines.
To motivate yourself for any achievement requires clear goals and an optimistic, can-do attitude. Martin Seligman of the University of Pennsylvania advised the Metlife insurance company to hire a special group of job applicants who tested high on optimism, although they had failed the normal aptitude (才能) test. Compared with salesmen who passed the aptitude test but scored high in pessimism, this group made 21 percent more sales in their first year and 57 percent more in their second.
4. Impulse Control.
The core of emotional self-regulation is the ability to delay an immediate reward in the service of a goal. The importance of this trait to success was shown in an experiment begun in the 1960s by Walter Mischel at a preschool on the Stanford University campus. Children were told that they could have a single treat, such as a piece of candy, right now. However, if they would wait while the experimenter ran an errand, they would have two pieces of candy. Some preschoolers grabbed the treat immediately, but others were able to wait what, for them, must have seemed an endless 20 minutes.
The interesting part of this experiment came in later years. The children who as four-year-olds had been able to wait for the two pieces of candy were, as teenagers, still able to delay pleasure in pursuing their goals. They were more socially competent and self-confident, and better able to cope with life's frustrations. In contrast, the kids who grabbed the one piece of candy were, as teenagers, more likely to be inflexible, unable to make decisions and stressed.
The ability to resist temptation can be developed through practice. When you're faced with an immediate temptation, remind yourself of your long-term goals — whether they be losing weight or getting a medical degree. You'll find it easier, then, to keep from settling for the single piece of candy.
5. People Skills.
The capacity to know how another feels is important on the job, in romance and friendship, and in the family. The importance of good people skills was demonstrated by Robert Kelley of Carnegie-Mellon University and Janet Caplan in a study at Bell Labs. The labs are staffed by engineers and scientists who are all people of great intelligence. But some still emerged as stars, while others were never very successful.
What accounted for the difference? The top performers had a network containing a wide range of people. When a non-star encountered a technical problem, Kelley observed, "he called various technical experts and then waited, wasting time while his calls went unreturned. Star performers rarely faced such situations because they built reliable networks before they needed them. So when the stars called someone, they almost always got a faster answer." No matter what their I Q, once again it was emotional intelligence that separated the stars from the average performers.