Photo by Nick Grant on Unsplash

“It is very important to understand that emotional intelligence is not the opposite of intelligence, it is not the triumph of heart over head–it is the unique intersection of both.” —  David Caruso

We have certainly all heard about different kinds of intelligence. In particular, we are most familiar with intelligence quotient (IQ) as a way of measuring potential. For decades IQ was a standard for measuring one’s success in life: academically, professionally, and even healthwise. Who remembers the long IQ tests given in schools? More and more, other forms of intelligence are being looked at with more interest. One of these is Emotional Intelligence or EQ (Emotional Quotient).

According to one article in The Guardian, emotional intelligence might be the secret to a high salary

IQ gets you hired. EQ gets you promoted.”  — Time Magazine

“We might be hired for technical talents, but we are often fired because we lack emotional intelligence.” – Canaday

According to some researchers, emotional intelligence accounts for up to 75% of a person’s ability to succeed. A study, published in the Journal of Vocational Behaviour (August 2017) found that students who tested high in emotional intelligence (EI) during their studies and who were followed for 10 years after, went on to have higher-paying careers than students who scored a lower EQ. It seems that people with higher emotional intelligence are more skilled at connecting and relating to people on emotional levels, and better able to keep themselves in check in stressful situations and environments. They are more aware of their strengths and weaknesses.

In his book The Power of Your Potential, author John Maxwell lists and discusses Emotional Potential as one of 7 Potentials or abilities that we all have in order to make compounding choices that will maximize the potential we have. He lists 7 things we should either do or not do in order to capitalize on our emotional potential. these 7 points reflect how emotionally strong people act. Emotionally strong people:

1. Don’t Overreact, But Choose to Be Proactive With Their Emotions

What do we mean by becoming proactive with our emotions? It simply means recognizing them and learning to influence our emotions rather than allowing them to influence you. It means avoiding the victim position of our feelings being in charge of your decisions (to act or not act).

How can we influence our emotions? One of the ways is learning from our past reactions and mistakes and making a decision to choose how we will handle similar situations in the future. Another way is by learning to identify them. We all know that gut shots in life will happen and that quite often we will be taken by surprise (“I didn’t see that coming”). We can learn to identify the emotions attached to what happens to us, separate them and process them. When we become more skilled at doing this, we can more easily bounce back.

2. Don’t Waste Time Feeling Sorry For Themselves

Jon Maxwell writes “You can’t complain and get ahead at the same time”. This is so true. How is it possible to move ahead, improve, accomplish what we want to accomplish and at the same time, wallow in self-pity? And the fact of the matter is, that while we are having a pity party, the rest of the world is going on, business as usual. Our feeling sorry for ourselves will not change anything and, will probably work to our disadvantage.

So we have a choice; we can let life’s curveballs bring us down and allow ourselves to whine and moan, or we can tell ourselves that while we are feeling sorry for ourselves, the world is moving on and we are stuck in our pool of pity.

3. Don’t Let Others Control Their Relationships

Many of us are people pleasers and many of us are uncomfortable saying no when we know we should say no. Many of us allow others to run our lives for us (even unintentionally).  In fact, we are allowing other people’s behavior to be in control of our lives. Sometimes we allow the potential disappointment, frustration or even anger of others scare us from doing what we truly want to do or into doing things that we do not want to do.

John Maxwell talks about what he was told by a mentor ” The weaker person controls the relationship” What a powerful statement! If we are not aware, even though we are emotionally strong, we can find ourselves giving into the other person’s way of thinking. On the other hand, if we are aware of this dynamic, we can choose how we will respond either by adapting to or by influencing the other person.

4. Don’t Waste Energy On What They Can’t Control

The fact of the matter is, we can not control what we can not control, so why waste our energy trying to do so? An example of this would be a traffic jam. We can not control it, so we needn’t get all emotional (angry or frustrated) over the situation because it will not change anyway. There are, simply, things which are out of our control and all the emotional reactions in the world will do nothing at all to alter the situation.

However, there are areas where we do have control and these are where we should place our energy. For example, we are in control of our attitude. We can choose how we will spend our time. We can decide what is important to us and we can choose to follow our passion. We can choose what activities we will pursue and why. all of these areas are under our control and therefore, worth our energy.

5. Don’t Keep Making the Same Mistakes

The definition of insanity is “doing the same thing over and over but expecting the same results. We instinctively know this to be true and, yet, we often find ourselves in a rut- doing what we have always done (because it is what we know and are comfortable doing) and, at the same time. wishing for something different. We spin our wheels or tread on our hamster wheel doping the same old, same old and wonder why we are not getting anywhere.

Repeating the same pattern and mistakes does not work! It,s a trap. If we want to have something different, we will have to do something different. We can not keep doing the same things in life and expect different results. One of the ways to break this cycle is to ask ourselves questions. “Is this working? Why? or Why not?  What can I do differently to get new results or change my circumstances?”

6. Don’t Allow the Highs or Lows to Control Their Lives

Life is naturally peppered with highs and lows, mountains and valleys. Every day comes with blessings and also difficulties. Both the highs in life as well as the lows can be detrimental if we remain there too long. Both can lead to stagnation and prevent us from growing and improving. We already know that staying in the doldrums can cause is to think negatively and make poor choices. Likewise, remaining on a mountaintop of success can cause us to become complacent and weak.

Either way, it is best not to remain there for too long. if we are successful, we shouldn’t sit on our laurels for more than a couple of days. Likewise, if we are at an emotional low or failure, we should lick our wounds for a bit, then get up and do something positive to bring ourselves out. We need to get back on track and regain our emotional control by taking action and not allowing the pendulum to swing too far in either direction.

7. And… They Understand, Appreciate and Grow Through Struggles

Struggles make us strong. All of life is filled with struggles.  Whether we like it or not, we will have to go through struggles. Because many people are “change adverse”, they hope for a life without difficulty (we are all like this to some extent). But the absence of difficulty eventually can make us weak, ill-equipped to face difficulties when they come.

Those who are strong emotionally take a different stance; they expect and welcome struggles as an opportunity to learn and grow. They also understand that behind or at the end of the struggle lies opportunity. Failure is the pathway to success. Adversity paves the way for growth; it requires perseverance and belief. Emotionally strong people appreciate the blessing behind the struggle and seek to grow through it.

Did you enjoy this post? Please leave a comment below.

Click and share

Diana Lynne loves to travel, pursue self-improvement and debt-free life. She also loves hanging out with family, friends and her dog Skye. You can connect with her through