Emotional Intelligence

I find watching people very interesting, and that was exactly what I did when the wait at the movies became longer than expected. I just took a seat on a bench in front of the cinemas when a mom with two quarrelling boys walked by. The mother looked tired and almost depressed as the one boy gave his brother a hard push. Just across from me, a young overweight girl had bought an ice-cream and started gulping it down as if it was going to melt right then and there. When it was finally time for my movie to start, I had something else on my mind. Why do some people have trouble taming their aggression, why are some more likely to develop depression and others eating disorders? There is one thing that links all of the above; emotions. If you can control your emotions, wouldn’t you be able to prevent something like aggression of even addiction from getting the best of you?

According to the book ‘Emotional Intelligence’ by Daniel Goleman; “Emotional intelligence (EQ) is a capacity that profoundly affects all other abilities, either facilitating or interfering with them.” This means that our emotions play a key role in how we think, plan, and solve problems. One of the lecturers at our university told our third year medical class that it is our intelligence (IQ) that got us into medical school, but it is our EQ that will determine whether we will be excellent doctors. I didn’t realize the truth in what she said until recently. Emotional intelligence allows you to have empathy and will control how you react in certain situations, which is not only critical in medicine, but in all aspects of life.

I believe that things like aggression, depression, eating disorders and addiction is not only due to circumstances but profoundly due to emotional illiteracy. EQ is the difference between a good student and an excellent one, between a good sportsman and a pro. Some people accept their weaknesses, and choose to focus only on their strengths. Others work harder, motivate themselves and effectively choose to have zeal, enthusiasm, confidence, persistence and self-discipline. This gives that extra something, an emotional edge. I often wonder whether someone can become emotionally intelligent, or whether it is a part of you, something you are born with (almost like intelligence).

To me, EQ is something you can work on. By being present every moment of the day, acknowledging your emotions, realizing the power in positive thinking and being optimistic, you actively choose how you react to certain impulses. You can choose not to be depressed or aggressive. You can choose to let your emotions promote, and not interfere with your abilities. You can choose to be emotionally intelligent.