Emotional Intelligence, the Key to Successful Personal & Social Life

Dr. Shreekant Chorghade

Emotional intelligence (EI) is the ability to understand, use, and manage your own emotions and those of others in positive ways to overcome challenges. High emotional intelligence can help you navigate the social complexities of the workplace, lead and motivate others. It is an important factor of success and well-being. Research indicates that 90% of top performers have a high degree of Emotional Intelligence.

Noted author and senior Paediatrician Dr Shreekant Chorghade explains how EI affects a person’s personal and social life making it more fuller and happier.

Q. How would you explain emotions?

Dr. Chorghade:  Humans have inherited emotions from their non-human ancestors (animals). Emotions have a long history in human evolution. The word emotion is derived from the verb ‘to mote’, which means to move. 


Q. What is Emotional Intelligence (EI)?

Dr. Chorghade: Emotional Intelligence means the art of understanding emotions of others’ and those of yours, while arriving at a sound decision, and behave accordingly to live a happy and fruitful life. 

"Increasing our ability to identify, understand, manage our emotions and behaviour accordingly is critical to enhancing the overall human experience."

Q. Can you explain the importance of emotions in our lives?

Dr. Chorghade:  Emotions are responses to the environment as they alert species from predators, motivate them to act, guide all they do. Attachment, anger and fear are primary emotions. Attachment inspires an individual to move near an object or subject for feeling secure. When in an environment, which is perceived to be threatening, either anger provokes us to fight, or fear provokes us to run away from the situation. Attachment may develop into attraction, infatuation, affection, or love, which gives a feeling of security. Disgust, jealousy, anxiety, and frustration are evolved further from anger and fear leads to timidity, nervousness, shyness and stage fright.


Q. What kind of process/mechanism is involved in deciding our behaviour?

Dr. Chorghade: The controlling mechanism of emotion, which starts developing as we grow mature, is located in the front part of the brain, behind the forehead; while the emotional centre is situated in the midbrain. Sense organs transmit inputs from the external environment to the emotional centre, which directs behavioural response. If an event stimulates the emotional centre, it also connects the controlling centre, which in turn directs the behaviour centre for a relevant action. If the controlling centre is not well developed, as is the case with children or animals, all actions in response to emotions are conducted without scanning through the emotional centre


Q. Are genes responsible for emotions?

Dr. Chorghade: Emotional development is partly genetic, and largely influenced by the external environment. Parental behavioural response to emotionally challenging situations is imitated by children, which later gets fixed in them as a habit. 

Q. Why is the need to develop EI?

Dr. Chorghade: Increasing our ability to identify, understand, manage our emotions and behaviour accordingly is critical to enhancing the overall human performance. Instinctive responses on a regular basis can provoke self-defeating behaviour patterns, leading to conflict in relationships, trouble at workplace or school, an urge for substance abuse, physical or emotional outbursts, divorces, murders, rapes, suicides, etc. Humans, being social, enjoy warm and friendly relationships, which is the key to happiness. Art of developing pleasant relations is important. It can be done by overcoming instinctive behaviour and learning tolerance, resilience, adjusting and controlling emotions and subsequent behaviour. Success in life also depends on how well you influence others, the way you manage conflicts, work in a team, take decisions, adaptability, and empathy. A person with high EI is equipped with these crucial skills. 


Q. How does EI help in developing relationships?

Dr. Chorghade: An EI person offers help, sympathy when needed,  and avoids them when not asked for or not required, as over indulgence also leads to friction in relationships. Persons with high EI know precisely  the right  use  of non-verbal and verbal communication, which is reassuring to others, thus making yourself easily approachable and communicable. EI persons are likely to be happy, while making others happy, thus loved by others.          



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