Self-Awareness and Emotional Intelligence are the Keys to Success

Know Thyself.


Sages throughout history and across cultures have urged us to be self-aware, and thereby understand our world. Modern psychological sciences have consistently reinforced the idea that well-being begins with self-awareness.

One key example of this insight comes from modern psychological research dedicated to emotional intelligence. Beginning with Professor David McClelland, for whom I was a teaching assistant at Harvard University, and continuing through the research of my classmates, Daniel Goleman and Rick Boyatzis, it has been shown that self-awareness is the cornerstone of emotional intelligence. In order to understand other people, we must first understand ourselves. In order to manage any relationship, we must possess self-awareness and other awareness. In order to manage our emotions, we must first understand ourselves. And to manage the complexity of complicated relationships, such as those we find in family, school, teams or work, we must first understand ourselves in relationship to others. 


What Are the Emotional Intelligence Competencies?


Emotional Intelligence competencies can be thought of as a grid of four squares. In this grid, the self is on top and your social interactions are below.

On the left are the thinking competencies: know yourself, be aware of others. On the right are action competencies: manage yourself and manage relationships.


Key Questions to Ask Yourself on Emotional Intelligence

Here are some questions to ask yourself about your level of emotional intelligence. For each set of questions, there are a few options to increase your competence.


How well do I know myself?

  • What are my strengths?
  • What are my core values?
  • What are my mission and purpose?
  • What are my passions and interests?
  • What are my blind spots?
  • What are the keys to my personality?


How well do I understand others?

  • Do I know how others feel?
  • Can I feel how others feel?
  • How well do I seek to understand others?
  • How well do I read individual differences?
  • How sensitive am I to the feelings of others?
  • How well do I understand myself in relation to others?


How well do I manage my emotions and my actions?

  • How well do I handle stress?
  • How well do I manage anger?
  • Do I know what I “say to myself” about difficult situations?
  • Can I talk myself down from getting upset?
  • Can I manage my moods?
  • Do I know how to get myself out of a bad mood?
  • How well do I manage my time?
  • How well do I take care of myself (mind and body)?


How well do I display empathy toward others?

  • How well do I display understanding towards others?
  • How well are you able to express your feelings?
  • How positive are you with others?
  • How well do you exercise good self-restraint when dealing with difficult situations?
  • Personal and professional elevator pitch: How do I introduce myself to people I meet?
  • How are you at asking good questions of others?
  • How well do you actively listen to the answers?
  • How are you at sustaining long-term relationships (family, social, personal, professional)?
  • How would you rate your ability to influence others?
  • How would you rate your ability to lead others?


Dr. Rob on Emotional Intelligence

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