When I was growing up I thought if you just worked hard, got a good job, did all the right things, you’d be a massive success. What I realized is this is only partly true. No matter how hard I worked, I found myself exhausted and frustrated, feeling like I was a hamster on a wheel and not very successful. Even though I wore the right clothes, drove the right car, and had the right title, why did I still feel so frustrated? It was because I didn’t know what success actually meant.
Before this message extends into a long philosophical rant about values, goals, and the bigger meaning of life, I’ll keep this more simplistic. What I lacked were mindfulness and emotional intelligence. These skills are critical to success and happiness, and because I lacked them, I was robbing myself of joy on a deeper level.
So the new question became, is emotional intelligence a luxury that only those who achieve a certain level of success possess or is emotional intelligence a necessity for success?
Here is what I’ve discovered.
- Awareness: This is a big word, but I’ve discovered that in order to achieve anything in life, we must be aware of our thoughts, our feelings, our actions, our bodies, and of others. Awareness doesn’t mean we have it all figured out, it only means we can see things from a different perspective. Awareness means that we can strengthen what is good, and improve wasn’t isn’t so good.
- Emotions: Many people think that to be a success, you must be as calm and collected as a monk on a mountain top. Perhaps living life as smoothly as possible is a great goal, but having monk-like emotions isn’t necessary to have a good quality life. Emotions are part of what makes us human. Emotions make us feel alive. Emotions can be scary and confusing, but understanding and adequately managing our emotions can enhance the quality of our lives. When we can listen to what our emotions are telling us, it will help develop deeper relationships with others and ourselves by responding in productive and positive ways.
- Experiences: Isn’t the ultimate goal of life to have amazing experiences? Awareness and emotions help us develop fun, meaningful, and pleasurable experiences. Having awareness of our emotions and of others helps us interact in a way that enhance and create amazing experiences.
By definition, emotional intelligence is the ability to recognize our own emotions as well as those around us while distinguishing between the two and adequately responding.
What does this really mean?
My simple definition of emotional intelligence is, in order to have pleasant and positive experiences in life, we must have awareness of our emotions and of others. The more we can feel and acknowledge our emotions as well as process them, while being empathetic towards others, the better the quality of our experiences.
So in conclusion, yes, emotional intelligence is a necessity for a happy and fulfilled life.
If we want to have an ability to handle everyday pressures, stress, and life in general, we must strive to increase our emotional intelligence skills, you’ll be happy you did!