Five Ways To Develop Your Emotional Intelligence

Diagram of the 5 emotional intellgence traits: self-awareness, personal motivation, self-regulation, empathy and social communication.

Image by Dfrench17 @ Wikimedia Commons

By Anthony Church, Support Partner & Legends Report Writer

Understand what emotional intelligence is and how to apply it to make a massive positive change in your life and others too!


How many of us learnt about what emotional intelligence was when we were at school? 

How many people in society value intelligence and IQ above anything else?

How many people have even heard of emotional intelligence and why it’s important? 

Yet, 90% of top performers in companies are known to have high EQ or Emotional Quotient and studies have shown that on average people with high emotional intelligence earn $29,000 more per year than those who don’t.

In this article we will explain what emotional intelligence is, why it is so crucially and vitally important and the five steps we can take to increase it. Each of these take persistent, dilligent time and effort so they are not a quick fix! The best way to increase your emotional intelligence is to associate with or be mentored, coached or trained by those who have a high EQ.


“Interestingly, if you carefully study the emotional intelligence literature, it suggests first the
transcending importance of EQ in long-term effectiveness, and second, that EQ can be developed.
But interestingly, there is relatively little out there on how it can be developed.”
― Stephen R. Covey, The 8th Habit: From Effectiveness To Greatness, Appendix One


What Is Emotional Intelligence?

There exists specific principles or natural laws which apply to all areas of life whether personal, career, business, partner/ spouse or family. However, they also apply in relation to our physical security, mental development, emotional development and spiritual development. Stephen Covey makes this statement abundantly clear in his pioneering book The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. We have 4 intelligences: physical intelligence, mental intelligence, emotional intelligence and spiritual intelligence. In school we mostly develop our mental intelligence and our physical intelligence but the most neglected is our emotional development, our ability to handle and use our emotions as well as understand ourselves. Depression, anxiety, suicide, self-harm, low self-esteem are all rife in modern society today, especially in our young people, and the root of these symptoms is low emotional development. Many psychologists will tell you the average emotional age of a so-called “grown up” is between 10-13 years old.  

It is the vital emotional development that we need to thrive in life and through this article we will show you how you can increase your Emotional Intelligence (EQ) to have greater control over your emotions to be more effective in life. There are five components to emotional intelligence:

What Is Self-Awareness?

“An awareness of self, of our freedom and power to choose, is the heart of Habit—Be Proactive—in other words, you are aware of the space between stimulus and response, you’re aware of your genetic, biological inheritance, your upbringing, and of the environmental forces around you.”
― Stephen R. Covey, The 8th Habit: From Effectiveness To Greatness, Appendix One

Self-awareness is one of the four human endowments, one of those unique things which make us human and different from animals. Self-awareness is about being aware of the choices we make many times each day or that we think we make. With self-awareness we actively make a decision ― we are responsible; we don’t act from our past conditioning from childhood. We are response-able because we are able to make a choice and not let the environment around us make decisions for us. Many of us can feel we are the victim of our own circumstances, job situation or economic situation. We react in anger, or fear, or worry rather than becoming more self-aware and considering the most effective response to a situation.  

Being effective with our emotions has to start within ourselves before we can interact with the external world but it’s a lifelong journey and there will be bumps in the road; it is ok to fall back as long as we are striving towards growth in ourselves.

What Is Personal Motivation?

“Personal motivation is the basis of those choices—that is, you decide what your highest priorities, goals and values are; that’s essentially what Habit 2 is about—Begin with the End in Mind.”
― Stephen R. Covey, The 8th Habit: From Effectiveness To Greatness, Appendix One

Motivation is something we are told we need to have at work, school or in family life. But this is only a false outer shell produced by an understandable lack of self-awareness about how we find motivation. We speak about intrinsic motivation and extrinsic motivation but both have at the root our personal motivation.

Once we are becoming more self-aware, we can find our innermost values and begin to think about what it is we want to achieve if there were no barriers, financially, in time available to us and we were able to put a ton of effort into it. What would you do? 

What Is Self-Regulation?

“In other words, once you decide what your priorities are, then you live by them; it is the habit of integrity, the habit of self-mastery, of doing what you intend to do; of living by your values.”
― Stephen R. Covey, The 8th Habit: From Effectiveness To Greatness, Appendix One

Once we have a clearer idea of who we are by really digging deep into what we stand for, we can begin to make the plans to make the best use of our time. Then we can decide how we respond emotionally in the most effective way in a given situation to achieve our goals -  whether that is challenging someone with deliberate anger without losing control of yourself or inspiring someone through praise and imparting your joy to them.

The Role Of Empathy

“No one cares how much you know, until they know how much you care.”
― Theodore Roosevelt

Before we can really know how to respond in the different situations we find ourselves in, we need to understand others. We can’t just base that on our own awareness. We can understand others by putting ourselves in their shoes, feeling what they feel, showing empathy and asking questions. Empathy literally means “in-feeling” from the Greek em (in) and pathos (feeling or suffering). Only once we understand the other person can we know whether the person needs a firm word when they need to be challenged or to calmly encourage them and give them a shoulder to cry on when they’re struggling because we are able to feel their internal suffering.

How Does Social-Communication Help?

“ The combination of Habits 4, 5 and 6 represents social communication skills. You think in terms of mutual benefit and mutual respect (Habit 4—Think Win-Win), you strive for mutual understanding (Habit 5—Seek First to Understand, then to be Understood) in order to have creative cooperation (Habit 6—Synergize). ”
― Stephen R. Covey, The 8th Habit: From Effectiveness To Greatness, Appendix One

From a willingness to empathise we can now understand the person but also work out what would be a meaningful win-win agreement. Good social communication means all people involved experience a benefit. By having the courage to not give up on what would also benefit you avoids a lose-win situation. The opposite is true that going to get what you want without consideration for the other person would lead to a win-lose result.

To get to a win-win situation can often mean exercising creative co-operation to achieve something which is better than previously known or thought to be possible, completely different to each person’s thinking alone. Together the wholeness of the relationship is greater than the sum of its parts or the emotions of each individual. This is achieved by means of the second human endowment of creative co-operation...

“If your emotional abilities aren't in hand, if you don't have self-awareness, if you are not able to manage your distressing emotions, if you can't have empathy and have effective relationships, then no matter how smart you are, you are not going to get very far.”
― Daniel Goleman

Low Emotional Intelligence vs. High Emotional Intelligence

Emotional intelligence is probably THE most important element to living the best life we possibly can. We can’t be happy or joyful or have fruitful relationships without it. Without emotional intelligence, without feeling, without empathy, we essentially become like mind-driven robots. Emotional intelligence enables us to thrive. The consequences of not learning this is that we stay where we are and don’t grow because we all need other people and the right support around us to do so! To practically apply this, join us for our next webinar on Emotional Intelligence, register at the link below...

If you’re not convinced that these components and principles are real, I leave you with this statement:


How To Apply This

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