My best friend's grandfather often repeated this phrase: "It's nice to be important, but it's more important to be nice." He believed in this phrase so much that he made it put in golden letters at the entrance of the factory where the best talc in Latin America was produced for years. Being nice doesn't mean being funny, being a buffoon, or being the person who says yes to everything. None of that, not at all. To be pleasant is to have the ability to recognize, understand, manage, use and act effectively, considering one's own emotions and those of others. This skill not only involves the recognition of basic emotions such as joy, sadness, fear, and anger but also the ability to deal with more complex and subtle emotions, such as empathy, compassion, and gratitude.

What my friend's grandfather referred to as a fundamental value in life is now known as emotional intelligence. It is a concept developed by psychologists Peter Salovey and John Mayer in the 1990s. Emotional intelligence has gained increasing attention in the field of psychology and personal development and is certainly taken as a soft skill that drives professional and corporate performance. Its importance in everyday life helps us to better understand this fundamental concept that we should all develop consciously and not just empirically.

Emotional intelligence is a fundamental soft skill in all areas of life and is considered one of those that enter the classification of skills of the future. On a personal level, it allows us to make better decisions, improve our interpersonal relationships and manage stress more effectively. In the professional field, emotional intelligence is essential for effective leadership, conflict resolution and teamwork.

But, if we had to give a recipe for what artificial intelligence is, we could mention the following ingredients:

  1. Self-awareness: The ability to recognize and understand our own emotions, as well as our emotional strengths and weaknesses. It seems very easy to face our impressions and reactions around certain circumstances; however, it is curious how it is much easier to be aware of the emotions of others than our own. It involves being attuned to the emotions we are experiencing at any given moment, identifying them accurately, and knowing if we are feeling sadness, anger, joy, or fear to understand the reasons behind those emotions.

  2. Self-regulation: Self-regulation is another fundamental component of emotional intelligence and refers to the ability to effectively control and manage one's emotions, impulses, and behaviors. It involves the ability to size emotional responses consciously and adaptively rather than reacting impulsively or uncontrollably to emotional situations. It is related to impulse control, stress management, emotional flexibility, and frustration tolerance. It means having our life well attached to the handlebars and giving it the best destiny.

  3. Motivation: The ability to motivate ourselves, set goals, and persevere despite emotional obstacles. We can divide it into two main areas: the one that is generated from our personal interests, that is, intrinsic and the extrinsic one that comes from external impulses such as compensations, rewards, threats, punishments, social pressure, and recognition.

  4. Empathy: The ability to understand and experience another person's feelings, thoughts, and perspectives as if you were in their place. It is not only seeing the other but feeling him. It involves the ability to experience sympathy, compassion, and emotional connection with others, allowing for a deeper understanding of their experiences and needs. Mind you, empathy doesn't necessarily mean agreeing with another person's emotions or points of view, but it does mean acknowledging and respecting their feelings.

  5. Social skills: The ability to interact effectively with others, manage relationships and communicate assertively. Social skills are a set of competencies and behaviors that allow people to interact effectively and harmoniously with others in various social contexts. These skills are essential for establishing and maintaining healthy interpersonal relationships, as well as succeeding in social, professional, and personal situations. It is directly related to verbal and non-verbal communication, leadership, teamwork, but also full presence and active listening.

Emotional intelligence has significant resonance both in the present and in the future in several important areas. In the present, it directly influences our emotional well-being, with the ability to regulate emotions, manage stress and maintain mental health. People with high emotional intelligence also tend to experience lower levels of anxiety, depression, and other mental health problems. Also, emotional intelligence improves the quality of personal relationships. It facilitates empathy, effective communication, conflict resolution, and building deeper, healthier bonds with friends, family, and colleagues. Individuals with emotional intelligence can excel at managing people and in high-pressure situations.

In the future, emotional intelligence will be at the center and the importance of teaching students emotional skills is being recognized, as they are critical to academic success and resilience in life. As managing people and teams become more important in the world of work, emotional intelligence will become an essential skill for leaders and managers. Emotionally intelligent leaders are more effective in motivating their teams and creating a positive work environment.

Soon, artificial intelligence and technology will be able to complement each other to develop tools and applications that help people improve their emotional intelligence, from emotion-tracking apps to virtual assistants that provide emotional support. Its influence and resonance will continue to be significant as we evolve into an increasingly emotionally conscious and holistic wellness-oriented world.