Do you know what emotional intelligence (EI or EQ) is and how it can benefit your life? Do you know how to manage your emotion so you can propel yourself to the next level?

In short, do you have the EQ edge for success?

There’s so much talk about emotional intelligence and how it can promote personal and business success. Many corporations that prioritize productivity and profit spend thousands to make EQ seminars available to their employees.

Why is this so? What is emotional intelligence?

Technically, emotional intelligence is the capacity to recognize, understand, and manage one’s emotions and those of others. But in practical terms, EQ simply refers to emotional and social skills.

Regardless of how you define it, this concept focuses on the role of emotion in our daily lives, how it affects our reasoning and behavior, and how we can manage it to our advantage.

As you know, emotion is pervasive in our daily existence. Whatever we do or wherever we are, we experience it. A typical day consists of situations that evoke varying degrees of happiness, anger, anxiety, or excitement. We always feel something when we — have a date with a loved one, share our thoughts with a friend, receive greeting cards on our birthdays, smile to a shy neighbor, shower our homes with laughter, or drive around a scenic national park.

Even in our sleep, our dreams trigger various emotions — from anger and fear to excitement and joy.

Like the setting of the sun, emotion exists in our natural midst and without it, life can be boring. So we should get to know it. We should use it to advance our cause. If we don’t, it will simply overpower our resolve.

Anger for instance is normal and everyone feels angry for different reasons. When your child goes home with a poor mark, you get upset because you realize he spends more time playing video games than reading his school text. When a speeding car cuts you off in a highway, you will not only feel angry, you’ll get “MAD”!

However, uncontrolled anger can be destructive. If you grab your son and hit him with a right hook because of his poor grade; or if you chase and bump another car for cutting you off, then you allow anger to schedule your vacation in jail. Also, you let your emotion dictate the outcome of your life.

How many families have broken up simply because couples can’t control their emotions? They exchange blows more often than they go to church. Some bicker more often than they eat meals together. How many kids grow up with low self-esteem just because parents can’t stop their untamed tongue from unwarranted ridicule — putting their kids down, calling them unprintable names?

When you let unrestrained emotion guide your destiny and life decisions, then you may be in a big trouble along the way. However, when you recognize and manage your emotions and those of others appropriately, then you guarantee your personal and professional growth.

Developing emotional intelligence should be prioritized at home and at work. Through its four basic principles of self-awareness (knowing one’s emotions), self-management (controlling one’s emotions), social awareness (recognizing the emotions of others), and relationship management (honing social skills), people can make use of their emotion to enhance relationships and to pursue success.

Emotion not only serves a special purpose in our lives, it also sets us apart from other creatures and makes us human with unlimited possibilities. So tame it, befriend it, lead it, and love it. Very soon, emotion will be your ally.

Author's Bio: 

Copyright © 2008. Dr. Michael G. Rayel – author (A 31-Day Series and First Aid to Mental Illness) psychiatrist, and inventor of emotional and social skills games -- The Oikos Game Series and The CEO. Since 2005, he has published Oikos’ Insights! as an online resource for personal development. For more information, visit