Sunday, February 19, 2012

10 Ways to Improve Your Emotional IQ

We all know the significance of one’s Intelligence Quotient (IQ) but what about our Emotional Intelligence Quotient? Some argue that emotional intelligence is even more important than IQ. What would life be like if you are a whiz in quantum physics but don’t have a friend to speak of because you are such a vile person? On the other hand, you could have tons of friends but can’t pass a test and therefore never reach the heights you dream to reach. It’s easy to see that if you score high in both areas, you are set up for a better life. 

Perhaps you can’t do much to improve your IQ, but certainly there are plenty of things you can do to improve your EIQ. Study these 10 ways to improve your life by raising your Emotional Intelligence Quotient!

1. Be open-minded.
Having a narrow view hurts others and actually hurts you too. If you are constantly preaching and pushing your views and ideas down the throats of others, they’ll be hurt that you don’t accept them or value their views and you’ll be hurt because your relationships will have a hard time developing into a deep, mutual respect. 

We must understand that we are all intrinsically the same i.e. human with certain unalienable rights but we are not cookie cutter images of each other. Tolerance is key if we want peaceful relationships and especially if we dare to dream of having a peaceful world.

2. Be authentic.
This one is a no brainer. Right? Well, you’d be surprised at how many people are living in a skin that they hate. Hate might be a strong word but unfortunately many don’t like themselves very much. This has a lot to do with not knowing who they are and appreciating it. 

Getting to know your self can take some time. Usually time with age is just the ticket. But if you are 35 and still act like a chameleon around different groups of people, chances are you are not authentic. Perhaps you didn’t have parents to take the time to tell you what is great about you as an individual and so you’ve been struggling to gain approval from darn near everyone ever since. Hmmm? Do some digging.

3. Control your urge to react to the negativity of others.

Ahhhh…say any of those sentences out loud and that is the sound of a clanging symbol, my friends. Just typing it seriously created pressure in my temples and I swear my heart rate slightly elevated. 

All too often we encounter people that just seem like a waste of air. They complain, nag, lie, disrespect others, think they are right about EVERYTHING, etc. She might be that gal in the office that everyone knows and hates. She is the one that people whisper about and give her the nickname “Beast”. She is completely clueless. Everyone is in agreement that she is pretty much the dumbest person around with the biggest mouth which gives you the distinct urge to put her in her place. You think you might get an applause from the office audience and instead you get the sound of crickets chirping.This is because engaging with that kind of person is a very bad idea! Someone once told me, “Don’t let anyone catch you arguing with an idiot because no one will be able to distinguish between the two.” What a wise old owl that person is! 

I’ve been caught red-handed behaving like this. It ain’t pretty. I end up feeling and looking like the jerk. Take it from me, don’t react and have some self control.  In the words of someone else very wise, “Put a cork in your cakehole!”

4. Live a life of autonomy.
What makes a nation a great one? In American it is the idea that we are sovereign. This means self-governing. Being autonomous within yourself is sort of like being your own nation, your own little America if you will. Not at all that you isolate yourself. We know that no man is an island, like the poet John Donne said. Rather you are ruled by what you feel is truly right for you. 

You are not a puppet or subservient to any form of dogma that floats around. You are totally clear-headed and capable of making your own decisions based on your knowledge and experiences without the oppressive need to conform to the model of a person someone else thinks or hopes you to be. When you are autonomous you can proudly take full responsibility for those decisions.

5. Listen twice as much as you speak.
When you slow down and stop thinking in your head what it is you want to say next, you will find a world of many different thoughts and opinions that might be quite valuable to you. Albeit, not everything will be particularly useful but how would you know otherwise if you don’t stop to listen a bit? Not to mention, someone that never shuts up is bona fide annoying!

6. Follow your intrinsic motivations twice as much as your extrinsic motivations.
Following your inner voice is the basis of intrinsic motivation. Born out of intrinsic motivation is doing what interests you and making decisions that line up with your values. It gives you a great sense of autonomy when you are true to yourself. This will help you with step 4!

Extrinsic motivations are the outward things that motivate us. These include recognition, reward, money, attention, etc. In fact, being coerced or even controlled to do something can be an extrinsic motivation. If you are constantly living a life or even have a career led by extrinsic motivations you will not be very fulfilled in life. Remember what Confucius said, “Find a job you love and you’ll never work a day in your life.”

7. Deal with the root of your emotions.
Are you angry or are you hurt? Are you genuinely offended or are you too sensitive? Are you just or are you self-righteous? Are you mad at that man or do you have daddy issues? These are just a few questions you can ask yourself when you experience extreme emotion. 

Recognizing the root of negative feelings will greatly aid you in working through these little (or sometimes huge) hang-ups. They will give you a better grasp on controlling your emotions. There is no need to get all bent out of shape just because someone said your favorite band sucks. Similarly, there is no need to walk around like a basket case because someone has different opinions on parenting, politics, religion, lifestyle, etc. 

If you find yourself struggling with these setbacks, search your heart and really work to find the root of your emotions. 99.9% of your negative emotions are directly correlated with what is going on inside of you rather than what the jerk on the street said or did.

8. Understand the importance of relatedness.
The need to relate to others is essential. This is what makes interdependence far superior to independence. When we are working together in a friendship, family, community, country, and world, we are moving towards more understanding, more harmony, and more compassion. We relate so that we can work together towards the greater good. When truly understanding and appreciating relatedness we will have more symmetry and reciprocity in our relationships.

9. Change what you can, forget the rest.
Have you ever read the prayer of serenity? Have you ever prayed the prayer?  Perhaps you should. Part of that prayer goes like this, 

“God grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change;
courage to change the things I can;
and wisdom to know the difference.

This is such a handy little tool to pull out of the bag when you are so frustrated with someone and so desperately want or even need them to be different.  In short, you can only change yourself. You can try to be an example and inspire others but you can’t change them no matter how hard you try. You can however, obtain a more positive version of others when you accept them right exactly where they are. I love the phrase, “I’ll do me, you do you.” Possibly a more fitting phrase would be, “Live and let live.”

10. Take responsibility for all of your decisions, actions, and words spoken.
I’d venture to say that the majority of people make excuses or place the blame elsewhere. This is sadly a cyclical problem because each time one fails to take responsibility they compound the notion that they are the victim. Not only does this victim mentality spill over into every aspect of life i.e. relationships, work, parenting, health-conditions, and more, these people actually seem to attract more bad circumstances into their lives. In reality it is simply the laws of the universe. 

If you fail to take responsibility and fix the problem, those undesirable outcomes will keep playing out over and over again until the day you die. It’s like a car with bad breaks. If you never fix the brakes, you will likely rear-end people on the road, jacking up enormous expenses on your end and frustration for others. These “accidents” (in reality they are avoidable consequences) will never stop happening until YOU fix the problem.

Cheers to EIQ Growth,

In the words of a mother


  1. Thanks-this was just what I needed to read today!!

  2. nice Amber..thanks alot..i was just missing out on these valueable regenerated my innervoice..:)