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We deal with emotions every day—and not just our own: we’re continuously navigating our emotional landscapes as well as those of others around us. But why do some people seem to have a knack for reading emotions no matter how hard others try to hide them.
Emotional intelligence is a combination of being able to:
- Identify your emotions.
- Manage your emotions.
- Identify and manage the emotions of others.
- Harness emotions to complete a task.
As you can imagine, high EQ can be very beneficial in a variety of situations. In fact, FBI agents use emotional intelligence tactics during negotiations.
Although a lot of research has gone into communication techniques, reading body language, etc., few people are aware of emotional intelligence and how it impacts their daily interactions. Even fewer know how to gauge their level of EQ and discern how it can be improved.
10 Indications You Have a High EQ + 10 Ways to Improve a Low EQ
Entrepreneur John Rampton wrote an insightful article for Inc.com discussing the characteristics of high EQ. To leran more about your emotional intelligence, ask yourself the questions below—based on Rampton’s observations. They are strong indicators of how high a person’s EQ is and where improvements can be made:
Do you know your strengths and weaknesses?
Being able to manage emotions helps emotionally intelligent people put ego aside and honestly assess their strengths and weaknesses. Because of this, they’re able to capitalize fully on their strengths and work around their weaknesses. For any business owner or manager, this is an essential skill who can help you hire employees that make up for what you lack.
If you’re having trouble identifying your strengths or weaknesses, get a few coworkers to help. Managing emotions after hearing their responses will also help you improve your EQ.
Do You Balance Your Work Life and Home Life?
People with a high EQ understand they can’t sacrifice the needs of people at home for their jobs. They also understand that working constantly is detrimental to their own physical and mental health.
To lower stress levels and get a better work/life balance, schedule time off for yourself. Making time off a part of your schedule will help you make it a priority.
Are you a positive person?
While managing emotions, EQ people tend to focus on the positive rather than the negative. They know that their energy is better spent looking for solutions instead of lamenting.
Surrounding yourself with positive people is an effective way to boost positivity. Their solution-oriented characteristics will help you let go of complaints and turn your attention to the things you can control.
Do you move on instead of holding on to the past?
Emotionally intelligent people know how to learn from a situation and move on. They are so focused on the present and how the future may play out that they simply don’t have time to dwell on the past.
If you find yourself worrying about past mistakes and grudges, morning meditation could help. Meditation is about being in the present and focusing on the now. Positive mantras that are focused on the future can also be used during meditation.
Do You Like Dogs?
The emotional intelligence of dogs is amazingly high. They are extremely empathetic creatures that live to love. Empathy is also a strong indicator of high EQ in humans.
If you’re not naturally empathetic, interacting with dogs could help. Yes, really. Kansas State University associate professor Robert H. Poresky, PhD, told Parents Magazine that his research has shown children who grow up with a dog show more empathy compared to pet-less kids. A dog can also help adults increase their empathy for others.
Are you a perfectionist?
EQ and perfectionism don’t usually go together. Perfectionists get bogged down in unnecessary details; they look for a perfect solution that doesn’t exist and procrastinate. Emotionally intelligent people know that perfection is a fallacy. They don’t fear mistakes—they use them to learn and improve.
Working to improve your EQ is a step in the right direction for perfectionists. It highlights that you aren’t perfect, but you can improve by learning from the things you’re doing wrong.
Is your focus on point?
People who aren’t easily distracted tend to have a higher EQ. They can focus in on the task at hand and drown out their surroundings when needed.
Start making improvements by simply removing distractions. Instead of keeping your cell phone on your desk at work, turn it off and put it out of sight. Wear headphones if you’re in a noisy environment. Also, adopt a no multitasking mindset. Multitasking has been shown to decrease productivity because it decreases focus.
Do you embrace change?
Change is a part of life, and emotionally intelligent individuals understand this. They don’t dread the unknowns and the emotions it can drum up. They embrace change, learn to adapt and look at it as an opportunity for improvement.
Try something new. Force yourself to change a part of your daily routine and get out of your comfort zone.
Do you know your boundaries?
People with high EQ set boundaries because they know bad things can get happen if they’re stretched too thinly. They protect their time to avoid burnout and unnecessary stress.
Learn to say no. When you say “no” you can give more time and attention to the things you’ve already said “yes” to. Many people are afraid to tell others “no” because they think they’ll be perceived in a negative way. However, this fear is often unfounded. Simply give the person a valid reason for saying “no” and they’ll understand.
How motivated are you?
Self-motivation is a key characteristic of emotional intelligence. Many people with high EQ show high levels of motivation even as children. They are very goal-oriented because of the accomplishment rather than reward.
Identify your purpose—the big why behind what you do. At the heart of self-motivation is a driving purpose that can keep you going even when your willpower is running low.