Emotional Intelligence*: The process of identifying your emotions and using logic to manage your feelings in a way that will maximize the benefit to you and others in your interactions.
All too often people minimize, tune out, or turn off either the emotional side or the logical side of their brains. This causes them to function at a disadvantage because they are operating with incomplete information.
Feelings are usually the first response we have to many situations, whether It be a discourteous salesperson or driver on the road (more obvious). It may be a colleague at work, a friend or a family member (often less obvious).
If you are used to turning off your emotional side, you may not even be aware you are having feelings. Your brain will begin to operate like a computer. If you tend to minimize your feelings, you will recognize them but quickly dismiss them as “crazy” or unimportant.
When you make it a practice to notice your feelings, by simply naming and acknowledging them without judging them, you have taken the first step to emotional intelligence.
An example of this would be, “I am feeling disappointed right now.”
The second step is to bring in your logical brain and say, “What would be the best response to this feeling?” or even, “What I’d like to do with this feeling is…”
And then, “What consequences would that action have?” “What could I do that would produce a better consequence?”
Aristotle: “Anyone can become angry—that is easy. But to be angry with the right person, to the right degree, at the right time, for the right purpose and in the right way—that is not easy.”
*Note: Emotional Intelligence was coined by Peter Salovey at Yale University, Daniel Goleman introduced and expanded on the concept of Emotional Intelligence in his book of the same name first published in 1994. It has spawned an abundance of books and classes, and influenced business practices in organizations around the world.