Emotional intelligence is an important, yet overlooked life skill. The word "intelligence" is hardly ever associated with emotions; we frequently use it to describe someone's academic experience or breadth of knowledge about a variety of random subjects.
In other words, your college GPA and your ability to name the top five pressing current events stories, every capital of every country in Africa and each argument on both sides of the Israel-Palestinian conflict will certainly deem you intelligent.
Unfortunately, it's rare emotional intelligence – the ability to identify emotions in yourself and others and to use this ability to manage your relationships with those around you – comes into play.
But the truth is your emotional intelligence will play way more of a role than your trivia knowledge in making you a great leader, team player and person in general.
Psychologist and former New York Times Reporter Daniel Goleman is a leader in the research behind how emotional intelligence makes us successful.
And according to him, everyone, from business consultants to CEOs, from college students to management experts can benefit from a little advice about emotional intelligence.
Recently, Goleman gave the New York Times a list of what he considers signs of having high levels of emotional intelligence.
Perhaps some of these already apply to you, and perhaps they don't – in which case, if you yearn to be a better parent, relationship partner, friend or overall human being, here's how to do it.
You foster a realistic sense of self-confidence.
You are aware of your strengths and weaknesses, and you know how to operate within them.
Most importantly, you aren't afraid to admit you're wrong or incapable of doing something, which means you're OK with relying on someone else for help or advice. You never let your ego take over.
You know how your feelings operate.
You have a heightened sense of self-awareness, so you're good at examining yourself to determine exactly how you're feeling – and, more importantly, what exactly made you feel that way.
Since you always know the source of your emotions, you know how to deal with them, especially when it comes to negative emotions, should they arise.
You don't break under pressure, and if you do, you recover quickly.
People look to you for reassurance when things get crazy because you don't freak out easily.
In a sh*tty situation, you're the strong shoulder to cry on, the source of light to look toward, the beacon of hope, the rock. And you embrace this position fully.
If you end up losing your cool – which, hey, it happens – you don't ruminate over it. You dust yourself off and move forward.
You confront people when you have problems with them
...Instead of letting negative feelings bubble up inside until they blow up. You never inappropriately explode at people; you know that doing so is ineffective in solving problems.
Instead, if you're upset with someone, you lay everything on the table and let that person know exactly what's bothering you. That way, you can solve the problem quickly and efficiently.
You never give up, even if you experience a setback.
You're self-motivated, which means you are the driving force behind your ambition and enthusiasm. Because of this, you don't let any small failures discourage you from pursuing your ultimate goals.
You are your own champion, and you know that's the most important thing.
You understand a variety of other perspectives.
You're able to look outside of your own life experience and understand the perspectives and circumstances of others.
This allows you to relate to people on multiple levels and communicate in ways you know people will understand.
You are emotionally empathetic.
You're great at reading people's feelings, and because of this, you're able to understand how responsive they'll be and cater to their needs better.
You know when it's a good idea to bring something up and when it's better to just keep quiet.
You are a great listener.
You value the thoughts and perspectives of others, so you take your time when you listen to them. Even more so, you make sure you understand everything they tell you, and you never interrupt them or try to manipulate or control the conversation. This makes people more willing to open up to you.
You are a clear, efficient communicator.
You articulate your thoughts in a simple, concise way, so people know exactly what you're talking about and what you want from them.
Because of the simplicity and clarity with which you explain yourself, people are eager to listen to you and not disappoint you.
You make the people around you feel calm.
You work well in a group of people because you are good at making everyone feel relaxed. People feel comfortable joking with you and laughing around you.