The Quick and Simple Guide to Learning What EQ Is Once and for All


Emotional intelligence (EQ) involves understanding and managing emotions. The term has become somewhat of a buzz word in people leadership and HR circles. However, the concept is a serious one and building emotional intelligence will positively benefit every aspect of your life including work, school, relationships, hobbies and sports.

“Emotional intelligence is considered the #1 determinate of success.

Maybe you’ve heard of it. Maybe you are just hearing of it for the first time, or maybe know something about it and want to know more. Whatever the case, I wrote this quick guide to help you get to know what emotional intelligence is once and for all.

Painted eggs expressing a range of emotions from joy to depression

Names and Abbreviations

Common abbreviations for emotional intelligence are:

  • EI – Emotional Intelligence; and
  • EQ – Emotional Quotient (more popular)

Emotional quotient is the measure of an individuals emotional intelligence (defined below) but both abbreviations are used interchangeably to reference emotional intelligence. So, depending on the context, EQ could mean someones individual score on an emotional intelligence test or it could refer to emotional intelligence in general.

I used EQ instead of EI simply because EQ is more commonly used and I think it sounds better.

Emotional Intelligence and Emotional Quotient

Just like you have an IQ (intellectual quotient) in regards to your ability to reason and learn (aka your intellectual ability) you have an EQ (emotional quotient) in regards to emotional intelligence. Each individuals IQ and EQ is different. More about the differences of IQ and EQ here.


The idea of an emotional intelligence separate from intellectual intelligence dates back to the early 1900s.

Here’s a timeline:

1909 – John Dewey (philosopher, psychologist) coins the term “social intelligence”.

1920s – E.L. Thorndike (psychologist) studies social intelligence by watching animals and humans. He defines it as the ability to act wisely in social situations and to understand and manage others.

1936 – Dale Carnegie (writer) popularizes the concept of social intelligence (without calling it by name) in his book “How to Win Friends and Influence People“.

1950 – Abraham Maslow (psychologist, Maslow hierarchy of needs) suggests that we can build emotional strength and the skills needed to control our emotions.

1977 – Howard Gardner (developmental psychologist) introduces the concept of multiple types of intelligence in his book “The Shattered Mind“.

1980s – Wayne Payne and Keith Beasley (psychologists) introduces the terms emotional intelligence and emotional quotient respectively.

1990 – Peter Salovey & John Mayer (personality psychologists) create a framework of emotional intelligence as a scientific area of study with their published article titled “Emotional Intelligence“.

1995 – Daniel Goleman (author & journalist) popularizes emotional intelligence with his book, “Emotional Intelligence: Why It Can Matter More Than IQ

Now – EQ is considered the #1 determinate of success, a top 10 job skill and employers are utilizing EQ tests in their hiring processes.

EQnow – is bringing EQ mainstream within the self-help and betterment verticals.

Photo by Daniël Maas

EQ Defined

Underlying Principles

While there are different variations of the definition of EQ they each have the same four underlying principles:

  • self-awareness – awareness of ones own thoughts, feelings & emotions
  • self-management – management of feelings, thoughts and emotions
  • social awareness – awareness of feelings in others
  • relationship management – effective management of interpersonal relationships

Awareness of feelings is as simple as training yourself to recognize your feelings when you feel them. You can build awareness with reflection. Did you acknowledge any feelings when you saw the puppy picture above? Did it make you fell calm, at ease, relaxed, or more focused? What if it was a picture of a banana, do you think you would feel the same way?

5 Elements of Emotional Intelligence

There are 5 elements or components of emotional intelligence. They are repetitive of the underlying principles above and if you understand the principles then you most likely do not need to focus on the components. However, I put them here for good measure.

  • self awareness – awareness of ones own emotions
  • self regulation – controlling emotions and responses
  • internal motivation – inner drive towards goals and learning
  • empathy – identifying understanding emotions in others
  • social skills – building/managing relationships with others


Our emotions impact everything we do. And our thoughts impact how we perceive the world and our place in it. No matter your current situation or goals, it is imperative to focus on emotional intelligence. When we increase our emotional intelligence we are better able to understand the world around us and how we connect to it. We also better connect with others and create more fulfilling relationships. Oh yeah, and people with higher EQ make more money, learn more about that here.


  1. R.J. Sternberg, (Ed.), Handbook of Intelligence (2nd ed., 2000; 3rd ed., 2010)

Lyndsey Getty

Hiya, I’m Lyndsey and I am following my dream of being a writer! Just a few months ago I wouldn’t have had the confidence to share my writing, but I gained confidence by utilizing the very things I write about, EQ, betterment, philosophy and psychology. More about my story here.

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Published by Lyndsey Getty

Hiya, I’m Lyndsey and I'm following my dream of being a writer! Just a few months ago I wouldn’t have had the confidence to share my writing. But I gained confidence by utilizing the very things I write about, EQ, betterment, philosophy and psychology. Please Support My Writing! 👍 Like articles and share them with your network. 💬 Comment on posts to LMK your thoughts! ️⬇️Follow me on social 🍓 Sign-up for my weekly newsletter, the Mid-Week Snack 

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