Superior Emotional Control Beats Superior Intelligence!


A Self-Controlling Person is Superior to an Intelligent Person!

Our topic today is emotional intelligence. Let’s first clear up some confusion. Physiological states that awaken in response to stimuli are defined as emotions, and the mental associations we give to these physiological states are defined as feelings. We can only empathize by understanding the feelings of others. The important thing is how we manage our own feelings and the feelings of the other person. Emotional intelligence is needed now. Emotionally intelligent people feel others, read the facial expressions of others, and anticipate how others will feel.

The article includes an emotional competence section of an emotional intelligence test that you can apply to yourself. Come on, let’s take action.

*Originally published in Turkish on December 11, 2022

A person cannot be mature when he sees something worthy for others while he finds it unworthy for himself. (Hz. Ali)

Emotional intelligence is the latest thing now. In fact, it’s a topic that is emphasized without being named in our culture; it is mainly explained with the results of attitudes and behaviors.

Good morals and good behavior of believers are described as follows:

• “Be as you appear or appear as you are.”

• “He, who sleeps while his neighbor is hungry is not one of us.”

•Know your own faults before blaming others for theirs.

• True believers want also for others what they want for themselves.

Let’s progress in our subject by keeping in mind the examples, mentioned above, that I have given from our Turkish culture. In a chapter in the book, Duygusal ve Sosyal Zekamız (Our Emotional and Social Intelligence), written by Eray Beceren, Beceren referred to the famous consultant Claus Moller and wrote (1): “There are ‘heart cloakrooms’ at the entrance of your workplaces. Some of the people who come to work do not notice these cloakrooms, while others see them. And by hanging his heart in this closet, he enters the workplace and runs his business heartlessly. Some of them even go home without a heart, forgetting to take their heart from the closet while returning home in the evening and carry out their work at home also without a heart. The aim of Emotional Intelligence is for people to put their hearts into their work and private lives.”

Let’s first clear up something. Physiological states that awaken in response to stimuli are defined as emotions, and the mental associations we give to these physiological states are defined as feelings.

Emotions and facial expressions, according to Paul Ekman, who is considered the father of this discipline (2), consist of seven basic emotions: anger, happiness (joy), sadness, surprise, disgust, fear, and humiliation (shame). I don’t understand why jealousy and loneliness are not among these emotions, are they feelings rather than emotions? When you look into it, you find that the root of both these feelings is the feeling of fear. What do you think?

Why are our emotions important? Because 1) emotions affect our environment; 2) they affect our decisions; 3) If we cannot express emotions, we cannot communicate correctly. 4) If we do not understand the emotions of others, we cannot empathize. 5) Emotions are the root of learning. 6) Emotions ensure our survival. However, the important thing is not the presence of emotions but our capacity to manage our own emotions and the emotions of others. This is where the concepts of emotional intelligence and empathy come into play. If we do not have emotional intelligence and the related ability to empathize with others’ emotions, we can’t be successful in human and managerial relations, regardless of whether we are gifted, intelligent, or have graduated from the best schools (3).

Although the Rutgers graduate psychologist and consultant Daniel Goleman (4) popularized the concept of emotional intelligence, Yale teachers Salovey and Mayer (5)are the ones who introduced it in the first place, developed measurement tools, and even criticized Goleman for popularizing and diluting the concept too much.

When we look at all the studies carried out today, it is seen that emotional intelligence capacity consists of several elements. Emotionally intelligent people sense others, read the facial expressions of others, and anticipate how others will feel in certain situations. Emotionally intelligent people can control their emotions, especially the negative ones that can lead to aggression. Cognitive mental intelligence measurements are made, but there is no emotional intelligence measurement agreed upon by everyone (6). Emotional intelligence skills that enable success in life or a job are as follows (7):

• Self-awareness: Recognizing your weaknesses and strengths.

• Self-control: Controlling disruptive impulses and moods.

• Motivation: Enjoy success itself.

• Empathy: Understanding other people’s emotional being.

• Social Skill: Establishing good relationships to guide others in the desired direction.

Intelligence tests cannot be done in recruitment. Schools graduated are proof of intelligence. Likewise, emotional intelligence testing cannot be done. The attempt is to try and understand these through interviews. The subject of measuring what personality tests measure or measuring in full is a very problematic issue and should be considered from the beginning (8). For this reason, the emotional intelligence of the interviewer is a top factor in evaluating the candidate over the criteria that are tried to be analyzed in recruitment. This in itself is the most important reason to learn about this subject.

Daniel Goleman’s definition of emotion, who introduced the concept of Emotional Intelligence, is as follows: ‘A feeling and thoughts specific to this feeling, psychological states and a set of movement tendencies.” It’s a slightly broader definition of emotion than we think. Think of it this way: a woman lives with a wolf dog and she just had a baby. One day, the woman goes to the nearby grocery store and when she returns, she sees the dog at the door with blood on its mouth. Thinking that it has done something to her baby, she tosses the dog from the fifth floor into the apartment space. At that moment, the baby’s voice is heard; the woman runs inside and looks, a strangled snake is lying on the floor next to the baby and she then realizes that the dog saved her baby’s life.

According to Goleman:

It’s a feeling: the woman is afraid when she sees the dog in that state.

Thoughts regarding the feeling: Learned wild behavior took action, it killed my baby, she concluded.

Psychological and biological states: fear turning to anger, anger to violence, blood rushing to the feet and arms, palpitations, sweating, and attack.

A series of actions: Injuring the dog.

According to Goleman and many psychologists, this entire sequence of movements expresses emotion to us (9).

In the meantime, let me expand the example with a topic that came to my mind; What if the woman had another 2-3-year-old child and found him waiting in front of the door with blood on his hands? Could the woman throw her child into the space of the apartment?

So what is empathy? Empathy is a simulation. When we all see a child falling and crying, we get upset and help. Because we all know that feeling, we can easily simulate it. I’m not talking about mirror neurons, the neurons in our brains that allow us to imitate the actions of others, which have been conclusively proven to be present in monkeys and birds but still controversial in humans. Psychologists say that thanks to simulation, we can understand the facial expressions, body movements and actions of others and that we can analyze the emotions of the other person based on our own emotions without thinking too long (10).

Goleman speaks of three types of empathy for leaders:

 1) Cognitive empathy: the ability to understand the other person’s point of view

 2) Emotional empathy: the ability to understand the emotions of others

 3) Empathic concern: the ability to sense the other person’s needs from you.

Shall we test ourselves for emotional competence now? This test is only the emotional competency section of an emotional intelligence test consisting of self-image, extraversion-introversion, independence, childhood-adulthood, leadership-followership, work dedication, and emotional competency tests. Only you will see the results yourself, so please be sincere. I will tell you how to evaluate yourself at the end of the test.   

“Are You Emotionally Competent?” Section (11) of Mark Daniel’s EQ Test:

1. You pull aside a child who started to run in a crowded square, disobeying your orders, and:

              a) You spank or shake him

              b) You overcome your emotions and say that what he did was not a good thing

              c) You overcome your emotions and calm down over thinking that you will punish him  next time.

2. Later:

               a) Threaten the child and say that you will punish him

              b) Apologize and express your fear

               c) You burst into tears

3. You:

              a) do not like to display your physical features at work

              b) you don’t like other people showing off their physical features

              c) You don’t like rasty people

4. When your spouse makes you angry;

              a) You don’t talk for days

              b) You say bad words and leave

              c) You take revenge

5. How do you feel when your family members talk to you as if they are making fun of you?

              a) Resentful

              b) Resigned

              c) Pity

6. Grief:

              a) Is a compulsory and healthy process

              b) Is a process that time resolves and heals

              c) Is a life-destroying process

7. Do you regret not working for a cause?

              a) Sometimes

              b) Never

              c) Always

8. What do you do when you get angry about a newspaper article?

              a) I share it with my family and friends

              b) I write a message to the newspaper

              c) I get depressed.

9. Your anger,

              a) Triggers change

              b) Triggers hurt or destructiveness

              c) Causes you to harm yourself

10. When you consider the above, time ;

              a) is the medicine for everything, it will heal.

              b) Is very destructive.

              c) Should be ignored or controlled.

11. A violent crime for you;

              a) Is a reflection of the general trend in society

              b) Is a tragic event that one can take a lesson apart from society

              c) Is a disgrace that something needs to be done immediately

12. Music is primarily for you;

              a) Soothing

              b) Exciting

              c) Deeply stimulating

Now go down, collect the points corresponding to your answers and find your proficiency score.

• 12-19: You are uncomfortable with your emotions and therefore take refuge in “appropriate” responses, which are usually gentle surrender, despite all your apparent good intentions. If you can’t honestly face your emotions by accepting that they are valid, no matter how severe, you can simply suppress them or imitate an appropriate response rather than turn them into constructive use. Remember that all emotions have been felt before and are more or less common to all people. Suppressing those leads to mental and physical illness, violently defended beliefs that are not emotionally correct and often moral dogmatism.

• 20-27: Your strong attempts to control your emotions are good, but you are often viewed as bad and unsympathetic. You protect yourself from “worthless” emotions by mimicking appropriate responses. Still, you tend to leave blank space in your head for people and things that are better thought out, understood and sent to the emotional database for later use. Try allowing, discovering, and accepting feelings, even seemingly worthless feelings like anger, fear, vulnerability, depression, etc., such as while listening to music or watching movies. They are part of your wisdom.

• 28-36: While reining in your destructive impulses, you have no problem accepting and using your emotions when appropriate. You are comfortable with your natural self-beneficial responses and know how to channel their beneficial physiological results to the best effect.

Did you find your competency score? In fact, there are many such tests and they all have some measurement problems, such as validity and reliability. Although we think that we cannot manage what we cannot measure, it is still necessary to try measurement tools. A study of six different emotional intelligence tests revealed these problems. Human resource managers should definitely read this article (12). I wanted you to do a test like the one above to warm you up to the subject. Goleman continues to research and publish on the subject. In his recent book, Emotional Intelligence in the Business World (13), he mentions the following characteristics in people with high Emotional Intelligence in the business world:

-Self-activating, being able to move on despite setbacks,

-Able to delay gratification by controlling his impulses,

-Able to regulate mood,

-Able to not let troubles interfere with thinking,

-Being able to put yourself in others’ shoes,

 -Not losing hope.

As you can see, emotional intelligence cannot be integrated like mental intelligence. As it is now known to everyone, Howard Gardner of Harvard showed that standard intelligence tests are simple to measure real intelligence and he introduced the concept of multiple intelligences. Additionally, he said we have eight different intelligences: visual intelligence, musical intelligence, language intelligence, mathematical intelligence, interpersonal intelligence, intrapersonal intelligence, physical intelligence, and natural intelligence (14). As I summarized above, emotional intelligence studies also show that when we combine our emotional intelligence with the characteristics of our multiple intelligences, management and leadership success will follow (15). It’s becoming increasingly apparent that emotional intelligence is the key to success, both in social and business life.

Moreover, all experts say that it is possible to improve our emotions and reactions by realizing the emotions and reactions of others. So what are you waiting for? Get to work!


(1) Beceren, E. (2012). Our Emotional and Social Intelligence. Postiga, p.202.

(2) Ekman, P. (2007). Emotions revealed: Recognizing faces and feelings to improve communication and emotional life, Macmillan; I know what I’m thinking (2019). Diogenes Publications.

(3) Reber, R. (2017). Critical Feeling. Cambridge University Press, pp. 297.

(4) Goleman, D. (2018). Everyday Emotional Intelligence, Harvard Business Review Press, pp.362.

(5) Mayer J. et al. (2004). Emotional Intelligence: Key Readings on the Mayer and Salovey Model, Dude Publishing; Slaovey, P. (1994). The Intelligent Emotions. Brenzel Publishing.

(6) Reber, 2017.

(7) Goleman et al., 2018.


(9) Beceren, 2012.

(10) Reber, 2017.

(11) Daniel Mark, Self-Scoring Emotional Intelligence Tests, Streling, 2000.

(12) O’Connar, P.J, et al. (2019). The Measurement of Emotional Intelligence: A Critical Review of the Literature and Recommendations for Researchers and Practitioners, Frontiers in Psychology, v.10, pp.2-19.

(13) Goleman, D. (2017). Emotional Intelligence at Work, Varlık Publications, pp.448.

(14) Gardner, H. (2017). Frames of Mind, The Theory of Multiple Intelligences, Alpha Publishing, pp.540.


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