top of page

5 Pillars of Emotional Intelligence - The Ultimate Guide

Emotional Intelligence is the new phrase for good character. Those who cultivate and nourish it by controlling emotional impulses and self-centered focus will experience, self-understanding, self-control, enhanced motivation, acceptance of others and better relationships.

Daniel Goleman, Ph.D taught at Harvard and covered behavioral sciences for the New York Times.


  • IQ only constitutes 20% of life success. Emotional intelligence plays a much larger part

  • Emotional intelligence can be broken down into:

  • Humans have two minds, one that thinks and one that feels. These sections operate independently

  • Strong emotions cloud independent thinking and anxiety undermines intellect

  • Your goal should be to find a balance between reason and emotion

  • Flow is how people feel when they are fully engaged in tasks that fit their preferences and skills - this is emotional intelligence at its best!

  • Developing emotional intelligence is a cost-effective management imperative

  • Feedback is the currency of emotional intelligence

  • The success of any group is directly related to the level of emotional intelligence of its members not like you


Emotional intelligence is critical for life success. Self awareness and self-motivation are instilled in childhood, however, adults can still learn and apply them.

Recent scientific research has shown that human intelligence and personality is largely determined by genetics. Ask yourself what can you change about yourself and why some intelligent people fail at life while less intelligent people prosper. The author argues that the answer resides with emotional intelligence.

Emotions gave humans the ability to cope with dangerous situations and the emotional system formed in our cave-dwelling ancestors who faced life and death situations on a regular basis. The rational mind allows a person to reflect whereas the emotional mind is impulsive and powerful. Sometimes intense feelings allow the emotional mind to dominate the rational mind.

The limbic system surrounds the brainstem (the centre of the passionate emotion). The brainstem influences learning and memory. The neocortex allows humans to think and as humans evolved the amygdala grew on the sides of the brain. These structures act as storehouses of emotional memory. The amygdala gives life emotional, meaning and passion. In crisis the amygdala reacts instantly. The emotional brain can independently of the thinking brain. The amygdala gives more weight to memories of emotional arousal and enables you to have vivid memories of pleasure and danger.

When a person experiences emotional hijacking in the amygdala, the neocortex fills and controls it. Emotions interfere with attention stands and clear thinking. Instead of trying to eliminate those feelings, drive to find an intelligent balance of reason and emotion.

Emotional intelligence contributes a lot more to the level of success a person experiences. Emotional intelligence includes factors like motivation, persistence, impulse control, mood regulation, empathy and hope. IQ and emotional intelligence are separate competencies as opposed to opposite ones. It is the difference between the head and the heart.

1. Self-awareness and knowing your emotions

Emotional self awareness requires ongoing attention to your internal state. Self awareness and the ability to change your mood are the same for practical purposes and awareness includes awareness of your mood and your thoughts about your mood. Emotions can be conscious as well as unconscious and they begin before you are aware of an oncoming feeling. When you become conscious of these feelings you can evaluate them and better control them therefore self-awareness is the foundation of managing emotions.

2. Managing emotions handling your feelings

From the time of the ancient Greeks (800 BC), people have seen self-mastery and the ability to control emotions as a virtue yet life without passion would be boring. Pursuing a medium stance and managing your emotional state is a full time job. The art of soothing surges of emotion is a basic life skill. The brain is designed in a way where it has little control over when it will be swept by emotion. However, through exchanging efforts you can control how long an emotion will last.

The most difficult emotion to control his rage because anger is energizing and sometimes exhilarating. It can last 4 hours and create a hair-trigger state making people more easily provoked. When someone is already on edge, a second trigger can bring on an emotional onslaught which is particularly intense. One way to cool off from this is to seek distraction. Taking some alone time or engagement in exercise can help.

Sadness and bereavement can alleviate rage and they raise the risk of full-blown depression. Therapists teach people with depression to challenge thoughts that feed depression and schedule a range of pleasant distractions including exercise, accomplishing small tasks, helping others, engaging in sensual tasks or spiritual activities. Cognitive reframing and looking at the situation to a more positive lights and is a powerful tool

3. Self-motivation: Using emotion to meet your goals.

Emotions can enhance or limit the capacity to use innate abilities for example the ability to restrain emotions and delay impulses and gratification is the key to a host of endeavours from dieting to getting a college degree.

A positive mind enhances thinking and performance whereas anxiety undermines intellect. By harnessing your emotions you can use anxiety for motivation. No anxiety at all means no motivation and poor performance whereas too much anxiety impairs intellect. Peak performance comes in the middle, a state called hypomania is ideal for writers and other creative people

Hope and optimism has powerful rolls too. Hope Is not giving into negative cycles or depression when you experience a setback and optimism means having a strong expectations that things will work out for the best. Optimists attribute failure to a learning opportunity and something they can change which means they are less likely to get depressed when things don't work out. Optimism is an emotionally intelligent attitude that boosts performance in the business world. Self-efficacy is the belief that you have the mastery over events in your life and can meet the challenges that come your way. It underlies hope and optimism.

Psychologists refer to a peak performance state as ’flow’ which is the feeling you have when you're fully engaged in a task where you have certain skills which aid in completing the tasks and love the work. The emotions that you would feel in a flow state would be positive and channel to the task at hand. This is a state of self forgetfulness and focused attention while being in a state of joy and even rapture. Your brain becomes calmer which allows you to finish challenging tasks with minimal energy. if you would like to know what it feels like to be in a flow state engage in a task you love.

4. Empathy: Mastering the fundamental people skills

The more self-aware you are the better you are at reading people's feelings. Rapport arises from your capacity for empathy. The better you are at reading the feelings of other people the more popular, more outgoing, more sensitive and better adjusted you will be. Empathy begins from birth from the time a child and parent mirror each other. Attunement reassures an infant and makes it feel emotionally connected

5. Relationships and dealing with other people

The ability to express feelings is a key social competency. Emotions are contagious. People send emotional signals during every single encounter and unconsciously imitate the emotions of others. More people shows synchronicity, the more they share moods. The coordination of moods is a key determinant of interpersonal effectiveness. The better you sense the emotions of others and control the signals you send the more you can control the effect you have on others and this is a fundamental aspect of emotional intelligence

Applying emotional intelligence.

Management. Some bosses project arrogance and this creates bad morale, diminishes productivity and drives employees away. Feedback is the most basic currency of managerial emotional intelligence and managers must learn to provide it and accept it intelligently. Feedback should not be taken as a personal attack and if you would like to deliver any critique try doing it in person and exercise your empathy. Convey specific praise as well as criticise them and focus on solutions. Those on the receiving end or feedback should hear it has valuable information. In an economy dominated by knowledge, successful teams are based on the ability of team members to work together in harmony and take advantage of each other's talents

Marriage Emotional intelligence can help counteract the tensions that pull marriages apart. Harsh criticism is a key warning sign of troubles and to achieve harmony people must learn to criticize without attacking. Personal attacks leave the other person feeling ashamed, defensive and can trigger fight or flight response.

Child raising, the Industrial Revolution has seen a decline in children's emotional health and it has caused a widespread withdrawal, common depression and anxiety disorder. Children and adults should be training the 5 Key emotional intelligence skills above.

Health: The emotional brain is totally tied to the immune system and stress makes people more susceptible to disease. Intense negative emotions can affect all my physical well-being and relaxation exercises. Talking about problems can enhance your immune function and doctors should learn that managing feelings is a form of disease prevention.

Try UpTicker for free today


bottom of page