Another Kind of Smart: Emotional Intelligence as a Key to Success


By Marta Romão, Communication & Marketing Professional

There is so much going on with being smart. I surely got a lot of “you smart ass” from my mother while growing up. Do you remember the smartest guy in class? And that smart guy that always cuts the line? There is really so much one can tell about being smart.

Growing up I was constantly struggling with the mathematical tables and that didn’t make me feel smart at all. What was it with math that I just couldn’t do any better? I felt so dumb. But at the same time, I understood that I was pretty good at so many other things. Since I was a kid that I am good with people, languages, creativity, and love - love for talking. So eventually I decided to raise the white flag to numbers and concentrated on other things - things that made me feel special and smart.

When I first came across the idea that there are other types of intelligence other than the analytical one (IQ), I remember how enlightened I felt! That was it!

The concept of Emotional Intelligence (EQ/EI) was popularized by the best-selling author and Psychologist Daniel Goleman as the “ability to recognize, understand and influence your own emotions and the emotions of others”. His books brought this scientific idea to a broader audience, making us understand that not only there are other types of intelligence, but also that EI is sometimes more determinant to succeed in life than the IQ.  

Emotional Intelligence is the ability to recognize, understand and influence your own emotions and the emotions of others.

The first time I saw his book I was a bored teen searching for something to read at my aunt's attic storage. Who would have said that, years later, that would be the theme of my Master Thesis, and currently, both the angel and the devil on my shoulders playing ping pong with my emotions.

According to Daniel Goleman's model, there are four key competencies to manage yourself and your relationships: self-awareness, self-management, empathy/social awareness and relationship management.

See, what fascinates me the most about this concept is the idea that you first need to know how to deal with your own emotions, to then deal with others. This says a lot about self-knowledge and inner balance, and the importance that we need to give to ourselves first and foremost.

Recognizing your own emotions is the first step to create healthy and meaningful relationships with others.

It’s like when you get a new job or you start a new relationship. Think of it for a while. Aren’t emotions and the inner place you are at the moment some of the key factors in many of your life situations?

Another crazy thing about emotions is that they are contagious. Yes, you got it right. They pass from one person to another.

You know when your boss is so angry and moody that it gets you clenching your teeth from all the tension? Or when you are on the metro and someone just gives the loudest and most joyful laugh, that you find yourself smiling? Thinking of it, it makes so much sense that we like to stick with the ones that make us feel better, those who balance our beautiful life with their joy, optimism, love, and care. And that, sometimes, when we are strong and smart enough to recognize our emotions, we decide to go on a detox from some people.

My point here is, emotions play a big role in our lives and in our inner balance. It’s important to hear our body, our thoughts and manage how we feel at every step of our journey.

It’s ok to feel sad, to feel excited, and to pass from one to another like a rollercoaster - the important thing is that you listen and understand yourself. This way you’ll be able to be there for others, to create and manage relationships in a better way. This works for your job, your sentimental life, your Sunday family lunches and every other moment.

What about starting to pay more attention to ourselves and train our emotional intelligence abilities?

I have surely added this to my 2018 purposes: recognize and manage my emotions, be truthful and love myself.



Marta works in communication and it's the author of the blog Singularidades de uma Millennial. She carries her life on a suitcase and has been living in different countries experiencing each culture at the most. Her homeland is not only the Portuguese language but the world as a whole. She is a storyteller, an animal lover and a #proudmillennial. You can connect with Marta here.