10 ways having emotional intelligence can make you a better person in life

Do you know what makes a person most likely to succeed in life? If you say “smart”, you’re right. 

Or to be more accurate, half-right. You see, the biggest predictor of success is being emotionally smart. 

The distinction needs to be made because emotional intelligence is a whole different ball game from cognitive intelligence. 

But it’s true – emotional intelligence, not IQ, is what sets you up for success. And I’m not just talking about career success. 

I’m talking about being successful as a whole, fully realized human being. As a person who brings real, intangible value to the world. 

If you’re looking to be a better person, here are 10 ways having emotional intelligence can help you get there: 

1) You can get your point across without raising your voice

The world is noisy, and let’s face it – it’s tough to make yourself heard in the middle of such chaos. 

But if you have emotional intelligence, you know the power of calm, measured communication. 

Having emotional intelligence trains you to make your words count instead of just making them loud. You learn to choose respect and thoughtfulness over forcing your point on someone. 

What happens is that you open the door for meaningful engagement. Conflicts become a way to reach understanding with another person instead of spiraling into a pissing contest.  

How does one take control of chaos like that? Well, it’s all because… 

2) You can manage your emotions

A true hallmark of emotional intelligence is the ability to manage your emotions. I’m not saying to repress them or pretend you don’t feel anything. 

Emotionally intelligent people feel a whole range of emotions just like everybody else. But the difference is, they don’t let their emotions rule them. 

For instance, my husband – one of the most emotionally intelligent people I know – has a lot of strategies for managing his emotions. 

In the heat of an argument, he might say, “Okay, I think I need to go out for a walk so I can calm down and think better. Let’s pause and pick this up later.” 

When he’s driving and someone cuts in front of him, he’d take deep breaths and say a script he has prepared to help him deal with such incidents (e.g. “They must be in a bigger hurry to get to work than I am…”)

He didn’t start out that way, though. He used to be a real hothead. But he was willing to work on becoming more emotionally intelligent

I’m lucky enough to have seen his evolution and I can definitively state that it has made him a better person! 

3) It makes you more flexible

Learning to manage your emotions also has the happy side effect of making you more flexible

This totally makes sense when you consider that effective emotion regulation is adaptive by nature. 

A high EQ enables you to assess a situation that’s going sideways and switch to a strategy that works better or is more appropriate. 

For instance, an emotionally intelligent partner can compromise better than one who’s controlling and rigid in their ways.  

4) It makes you open-minded

Another way that having emotional intelligence can make you a better person in life is by helping you be more open-minded

How? Well, first of all, it’s because of that ability to manage your emotions. Especially when someone says something you wildly disagree with. 

You can use EI to calm yourself down and listen to them. That simple move is often all it takes to open one’s mind. 

You see, when you know how to truly listen, a subtle yet powerful thing happens – you begin seeing things from someone else’s perspective. 

Over time, you come to understand that what you believe isn’t necessarily gospel. Other people have different beliefs, too, and whether or not you agree with them, they’re entitled to those. 

Does that make you a better person? Absolutely. The world would be so much more beautiful if we could all appreciate and learn from diversity of thought and ideas. 

5) It makes you humble

things emotionally intelligent people avoid saying at work 10 ways having emotional intelligence can make you a better person in life

The beauty of becoming more open-minded is that you also become more humble

It’s a lovely chain of events, really, because with emotional intelligence, each skill you develop helps you build another one. 

I must also point out that another reason why emotionally intelligent people are humble is because they know themselves so well. Self-awareness is one of their strengths. 

As such, they know they don’t know everything (which, by the way, is another hallmark of both high IQ and EQ). 

They’re well aware of their ego and how it can mess with their ability to take criticism. They’d even take it upon themselves to seek feedback because they understand that constructive criticism is part of personal growth. 

On top of that, they also don’t feel the need to be the smartest person in the room. 

In fact, most emotionally intelligent people don’t want to be. They’d rather be around people who can teach them something.

6) You can deal with change and disappointments better

Another way that emotional intelligence helps you be a better person is by developing resilience

This is closely connected to my point about flexibility. It just becomes easier to adapt when you have EI. 

You come to understand the transient nature of life. So when bad things happen, you feel bad, but you also know it won’t last forever. 

You can avoid obsessing over the bad things, see the lessons in them, and use those to move forward.

Plus, emotion regulation helps you to have a mind-over-matter attitude. Like yes, what’s happening may be disappointing, but you can rise above that and overcome it. 

This brings me to my next point…

7) You’ve got ways to motivate yourself when the going gets tough

Like I said, mind over matter. 

Psychologist Daniel Goleman (also the author of the book “Emotional Intelligence”) cites motivation as the third aspect of emotional intelligence

Emotional intelligence can help you manage stress better and keep yourself going even in the face of setbacks. 

This is why, according to Forbes, hiring managers and people in leadership positions prefer emotionally intelligent employees to those who have a high IQ but low EQ. 

The truth is, a high IQ doesn’t mean you’ll be disciplined and persevering. 

But a high EQ? You’ll be the perfect package because you can: 

  • Make better decisions
  • Maintain your cool under pressure and stress
  • Resolve conflicts and respond positively to constructive feedback
  • Work well with others 
  • Demonstrate leadership abilities

All of those skills make you a person who’s committed and capable of pushing through roadblocks.  

8) You know yourself well and how your behavior impacts others

traits of thoughtful person 10 ways having emotional intelligence can make you a better person in life

Let’s backtrack a bit and look closer at one of the items on that list above – working well with others. 

Emotional intelligence helps you do that because you have empathy, compassion, and a sense of responsibility. 

Meaning, you know very well that you don’t exist in a vacuum. You know that what you do in life has an effect somehow somewhere, even though you might not see it. That comes down to the smallest things. 

For example, I remember a road trip I once took with two friends of mine. We wanted to get to our destination faster, so instead of stopping to eat, we got food at a drive-thru and ate in the car along the way. 

When we were done, my friend who was driving simply chucked her trash out of the window. 

My other friend and I gasped at the same time – we were so shocked at what she did. My other friend couldn’t keep quiet and said, “Why did you do that? That’s so irresponsible!”

And the litterer? She simply shrugged like it was no big deal. 

Who do you think is the more emotionally intelligent person there? 

Like I said, emotional intelligence helps you behave with respect and consideration for others,even in the smallest things. That’s also why…

9) You can be someone’s safe space

There’s no doubt about it – emotional intelligence equips you with all the skills you need to be someone’s safe space: 

  • You can sense and understand how someone else feels and respond with empathy and compassion.
  • Your open-mindedness makes people feel like they can come to you and get things off their chest without being judged.
  • They can rest easy knowing you won’t be telling anyone else what they shared in confidence.

Simply put, if you have a high EQ, you can be the friend that someone out there needs. 

Not only that, you could be the leader that makes people feel safe and encouraged. And that’s a real superpower – research shows that people who work in companies with emotionally intelligent leaders are 4x less likely to leave. 

10) It makes you a happier person

Finally, emotional intelligence makes you see life in a more positive light. That doesn’t mean your life is necessarily stress-free; it just means you have the tools to process and manage negative emotions. 

So you tend to have a more balanced approach to dealing with life’s ups and downs. That plays a huge role in your overall sense of well-being and satisfaction in life.

And as we all know, a happier person is, generally, a better person. 

When you feel good, you can’t help but make the people around you feel good, too! 

Roselle Umlas

Roselle Umlas

I am a freelance writer with a lifelong interest in helping people become more reflective and self-aware so that they can communicate better and enjoy meaningful relationships.

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