What's your Emotional Quotient?

STRIKE A BALANCE Teach your children to think positively

STRIKE A BALANCE Teach your children to think positively  

Emotional intelligence plays a major role in determining the course of your life, says HEMA VIJAY

Do you believe that success in life is tied primarily to your intelligence or IQ? Not really. It is your emotional intelligence (EI) or Emotional Quotient (EQ) that plays a major role in determining the course of your life. How often have we come across people with great capacity but are unsuccessful in life? Of child prodigies who don't quite live up to their potential? The reason apparently has a lot to do with emotional intelligence or the lack of it, which has rocked their boat on the journey of life. Emotional intelligence is the capacity to understand emotional information and to reason with emotions, and most important, the capacity to manage emotions. This also involves the ability to identify and name one's emotional states and to understand the link between emotions, thought and action. "Persons who are able to enter into emotional states (at will) and continue on their respective paths despite turbulences which crop up in life are the ones who end up achievers," says psychiatrist Prabhu Shankar. Emotional intelligence also includes the capacity to perceive, be sensitive to and influence other people's emotions. These are the ones who enter and sustain satisfactory interpersonal relationships, he adds.

Preparing children

"Though EQ is a term which has cropped up visibly in the last decade, the concept is not new in our country. Traditionally, we have always held up gunam (human behaviour) over human accomplishments," says psychiatrist Lakshmi Vijayakumar. "However, EQ as a concept is all the more significant today as our society is going through massive cultural and emotional upheaval. There is so much turbulence that we are facing in terms of family structure, role changes and the multitude of challenges we need to cope with." In such a challenging emotional climate, strengthening one's emotional intelligence becomes critical. We need to prepare our children emotionally too, rather than just academically, if they are to succeed in life, for well and good. There are ways wherein you can enhance your or your child's EQ. Develop self-esteem. Teach your child to appreciate his positives and be at peace with himself. "Adolescence is a vulnerable time, an age when the child reacts too much to others' (particularly the peer group's) evaluation of himself. Teach the child the sanctity of internal validity," advises Dr. Vijaykumar. Even in this cutthroat era of competition that we live in, teach children that success and failure are part of life, so that the child doesn't crumble with failure when it strikes, she adds. We also need to teach children the value of patience, persistence and tolerance.As John D. Mayer, one of the early proponents of EQ, said, emotional intelligence may be the best predictor of success in life. Emotional intelligence is all about keeping your emotions and actions independent from your feelings, the ability to recognise, name and direct your feelings and use them in a positive way. Well, this sounds like the formula for a happy and peaceful life, leave alone a successful one. So, take time to nurture your emotional self. Psychiatrists today can analyse a person's emotional quotient through tests. There are also websites like > and that offer online EQ appraisals. The trouble with EQ tests is that they are not objective unlike IQ tests, which have specific scores and which correlate clearly with academic scores. However, they can give you definite pointers to ponder upon.

Where do you stand?

Take this quiz to discover where you stand on EQ.When you feel upset, do you ignore it, vent it destructively or figure out what's bothering you and deal with it? When you are in a bad mood, who first realises this - others or you? When your family, friends or people around you act funny or abusive, do you react in equal measure or respond constructively? When taking up a new job or course, do you feel nervous or excited? When you're stressed out at work, do you panic, work frantically or take time out to exercise/meditate? When you have a quarrel with somebody, do you fight, chill out or talk it over? When there is something unpleasant that needs to be done, do you put it off or get it done with and thus get over it? When things go wrong, do you get depressed or analytical and try solving it? Do you speak more than you listen? When somebody looks lost or in need of help, do you turn the other way or reach out? When somebody contradicts your opinion, you reject it outright or consider their viewpoint? Do you think your life is controlled by destiny or by your actions/ inactions? The answers can reveal a lot about the state of your emotional self. If your answers hover towards the final option, you are one of the smart ones who have been growing up emotionally too and likely to succeed at work, with people and in life.

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