Emotional Intelligence Quotes


One simple definition of emotional intelligence is “the ability to identify, assess, and control the emotions of oneself, of others, and of groups.”

Emotional Intelligence is the Difference That Makes the Difference

Top 10 Emotional Intelligence Quotes

  1. “There are certain emotions that will kill your drive; frustration and confusion.  You can change these to a positive force.  Frustration means you are on the verge of a breakthrough.  Confusion can mean you are about to learn something.  Expect the breakthrough and expect to learn.”  — Kathleen Spike, Master Certified Coach
  2. “There is no separation of mind and emotions; emotions, thinking, and learning are all linked.” — Eric Jensen
  3. “Use pain as a stepping stone, not a camp ground.” —- Alan Cohen
  4. “We are dangerous when we are not conscious of our responsibility for how we behave, think, and feel.” -— Marshall B. Rosenberg
  5. “What really matters for success, character, happiness and life long achievements is a definite set of emotional skills – your EQ — not just purely cognitive abilities that are measured by conventional IQ tests.”  — Daniel Goleman
  6. “We cannot tell what may happen to us in the strange medley of life. But we can decide what happens in us — -how we can take it, what we do with it —- and that is what really counts in the end.” —- Joseph Fort Newton
  7. “We plant seeds that will flower as results in our lives, so best to remove the weeds of anger, avarice, envy and doubt…” —- Dorothy Day
  8. “Whatever is begun in anger, ends in shame.” —- Benjamin Franklin
  9. “When awareness is brought to an emotion, power is brought to your life.” – Tara Meyer Robson
  10. “Where we have strong emotions, we’re liable to fool ourselves.” – Carl Sagan

What is Emotional Intelligence?

  • “Emotional intelligence is the ability to sense, understand, and effectively apply the power and acumen of emotions as a source of human energy, information, connection, and influence.”  — Robert K. Cooper. Ph.D.
  • “It is very important to understand that emotional intelligence is not the opposite of intelligence, it is not the triumph of heart over head — it is the unique intersection of both.” — David Caruso
  • “The ability to process emotional information, particularly as it involves the perception, assimilation, understanding, and management of emotion.” — Mayer and Cobb
  • “The emotionally intelligent person is skilled in four areas: identifying emotions, using emotions, understanding emotions, and regulating emotions.” — John Mayer and Peter Salovey
  • “We define emotional intelligence as the subset of social intelligence that involves the ability to monitor one’s own and others’ feelings and emotions, to discriminate among them and to use this information to guide one’s thinking and actions.” — Salovey and Mayer

Why Emotional Intelligence?

  • “75% of careers are derailed for reasons related to emotional competencies, including inability to handle interpersonal problems; unsatisfactory team leadership during times of difficulty or conflict; or inability to adapt to change or elicit trust.”  — The Center for Creative Leadership
  • “All learning has an emotional base.” – Plato
  • “As much as 80% of adult “success” comes from EQ.” — Daniel Goleman
  • “Comparing the three domains, I found that for jobs of all kinds, emotional competencies were twice as prevalent among distinguishing competencies as were technical skills and purely cognitive abilities combined. In general the higher a position in an organization, the more EI mattered: for individuals in leadership positions, 85 percent of their competencies were in the EI domain.”  — Daniel Goleman
  • “Emotional competence is the single most important personal quality that each of us must develop and access to experience a breakthrough.  Only through managing our emotions can we access our intellect and our technical competence. An emotionally competent person performs better under pressure.”  –Dave Lennick, Executive VP, American Express Financial Advisers
  • “Emotional Intelligence is a way of recognizing, understanding, and choosing how we think, feel, and act. It shapes our interactions with others and our understanding of ourselves. It defines how and what we learn; it allows us to set priorities; it determines the majority of our daily actions. Research suggests it is responsible for as much as 80% of the “success” in our lives.” — J. Freedman
  • “Emotions are a critical source of information for learning.” — Joseph LeDoux
  • “Emotions are enmeshed in the neural networks of reason.” — Antonio Dumasio
  • “Emotions are the glue that holds the cells of the organism together.” — Candace Pert
  • “Emotions have taught mankind to reason.” – Luc de Clapiers, marquis de Vauvenargues
  • “I think in the coming decade we will see well-conducted research demonstrating that emotional skills and competencies predict positive outcomes at home with one’s family, in school, and at work. The real challenge is to show that emotional intelligence matters over-and-above psychological constructs that have been measured for decades like personality and IQ. I believe that emotional intelligence holds this promise.” — Peter Salovey
  • “In a study of skills that distinguish star performers in every field from entry-level jobs to executive positions, the single most important factor was not IQ, advanced degrees, or technical experience, it was EQ.  Of the competencies required for excellent in performance in the job studies, 67% were emotional competencies.” — Daniel Goleman
  • “In the last decade or so, science has discovered a tremendous amount about the role emotions play in our lives.  Researchers have found that even more than IQ, your emotional awareness and abilities to handle feelings will determine our success and happiness in all walks of life, including family relationships.”  — John Gottman
  • “Just imagine you’re four years old, and someone makes the following proposal: If you’ll wait until after he runs an errand, you can have two marshmallows for a treat. If you can’t wait until then, you can have only one–but you can have it right now. It is a challenge sure to try the soul of any four-year-old, a microcosm of the eternal battle between impulse and restraint, id and ego, desire and self-control, gratification and delay… There is perhaps no psychological skill more fundamental than resisting impulse. It is the root of all emotional self-control, since all emotions, by their very nature, led to one or another impulse to act.” —  Daniel Goleman
  • “People high in emotional intelligence are expected to progress more quickly through the abilities designated and to master more of them.” — Mayer and Salovey
  • “People in good moods are better at inductive reasoning and creative problem solving.” — Salovey, Mayer, Goldman, Turvey, and Palfai
  • “The 8 Equities: Physical, Spiritual, Psychological, Intellectual, Emotional, Financial, Social and Family.” — Michael Vance
  • “The nervous system and hormone responses of hostile people are a pathway to disease and death.”  — Redford Williams, M.D


  • “Cherish your own emotions and never undervalue them.” — Robert Henri
  • “Emotion, which is suffering, ceases to be suffering as soon as we have a clear picture of it.” — Benedict Spinoza
  • “Experience is not what happens to you — it’s how you interpret what happens to you.” —- Aldous Huxley
  • “Experiencing one’s self in a conscious manner–that is, gaining self-knowledge–is an integral part of learning.” — Joshua M. Freedman
  • “Feelings are not supposed to be logical. Dangerous is the man who has rationalized his emotions.” — David Borenstein
  • “For news of the heart, ask the face.” — West African saying
  • “He who spends time regretting the past loses the present and risks the future.” — Quevedo
  • “Holding on to anger is like grasping a hot coal with the intent of throwing it at someone else: you are the one who gets burned.” — Buddha
  • “Let’s not forget that the little emotions are the great captains of our lives and we obey them without realizing it.” — Vincent Van Gogh
  • “Life is a series of experiences, each one of which makes us bigger, even though it is hard to realize this. For the world was built to develop character and we must learn that the setbacks and griefs which we endure help us out in marching onward.” — Henry Ford
  • “Realize that now, in this moment of time, you are creating. You are creating your next moment based on what you are feeling and thinking. That is what’s real.” — Doc Childre
  • “Regret is an odd emotion because it comes only upon reflection. Regret lacks immediacy, and so its power seldom influences events when it could do some good.” — William O’Rourke
  • “Revenge has no more quenching effect on emotions than salt water has on thirst.” — Walter Weckler
  • “The degree of one’s emotions varies inversely with one’s knowledge of the facts.” — Bertrand Russell
  • “The essential difference between emotion and reason is that emotion leads to action while reason leads to conclusions.” — Donald Calne
  • “The first and simplest emotion which we discover in the human mind, is curiosity.” — Edmund Burke
  • “The greatest discovery of my generation is that human beings can alter their lives by altering their attitudes of mind.”  — William James
  • “There are emotions which are biologically oriented and then there are complex emotions which are saturated with thoughts and cognition.” — Jack Mayer
  • “There is no thinking without feeling and no feeling without thinking.” — Karen McCown
  • “When you are sorrowful look again in your heart, and you shall see that in truth you are weeping for that which has been your delight.” — Kahlil Gibran
  • “You can conquer almost any fear if you will only make up your mind to do so. For remember, fear doesn’t exist anywhere except in the mind.” —- Dale Carnegie
  • “Your intellect may be confused, but your emotions will never lie to you.” — Roger Ebert
  • “Your pain is the breaking of the shell that encloses your understanding.” —- Khalil Gibran


  • “A merry heart doeth good like medicine.”  — Proverbs 17:22
  • “An emotion occurs when there are certain biological, certain experiential, and certain cognitive states which all occur simultaneously.” — Jack Mayer
  • “Any person capable of angering you becomes your master.” —- Epictetus
  • “Anyone can be angry – that is easy. But to be angry with the right person, to the right degree, at the right time, for the right purpose, and in the right way – that is not easy.” – Aristotle
  • “Education is the ability to listen to almost anything without losing your temper or your self-confidence.” — Robert Frost
  • “Education is the fire-proofer of emotions.” — Dr. Frank Crane
  • “Emotion turning back on itself, and not leading on to thought or action, is the element of madness.” — John Sterling
  • “Emotions help keep us on the right track by making sure that we are led by more than cognition.” — Maurice Elias
  • “Every time we allow someone to move us with anger, we teach them to be angry.”  — Barry Neil Kaufman
  • “Fear is the oldest and strongest emotion of mankind.” — H. P. Lovecraft
  • “He who smiles rather than rages is always the stronger.” — Japanese proverb
  • “If we lack emotional intelligence, whenever stress rises the human brain switches to autopilot and has an inherent tendency to do more of the same, only harder.  Which, more often than not, is precisely the wrong approach in today’s world.” — Robert K. Cooper
  • “Instead of resisting any emotion, the best way to dispel it is to enter it fully, embrace it and see through your resistance.”  — Deepak Chopra
  • “It is reason, and not passion, which must guide our deliberations, guide our debate, and guide our decision.” — Barbara Jordan
  • “Logic will not change an emotion, but action will.” – Anonymous
  • “Maturity is achieved when a person postpones immediate pleasures for long-term values.” — Joshua L. Liebman
  • “Never react emotionally to criticism. Analyze yourself to determine whether it is justified. If it is, correct yourself. Otherwise, go on about your business.” — Norman Vincent Peale
  • “Quick to judge, quick to anger, slow to understand … prejudice, fear and ignorance walk hand-in-hand.” — Peart
  • “Substance abusers’ key deficits turned out to be problem solving, social responsibility, and stress tolerance. Spousal abusers primarily lacked empathy and had poor impulse control and an inflated self-regard.”  — US Air Force
  • “The secret of genius is to carry the spirit of the child into old age, which means never losing your enthusiasm.” — Alous Huxley
  • “The sign of an intelligent people is their ability to control emotions by the application of reason.” — Marya Mannes
  • “To increase your effectiveness, make your emotions subordinate to your commitments.” — Brian Koslow
  • “Women, on average, tend to be more aware of their emotions, show more empathy, and are more adept interpersonally. Men on the other hand, are more self-confident and optimistic, adapt more easily, and handle stress better.”  — Daniel Goleman

Social Awareness

  • “Adults remain social animals; they continue to require a source of stabilization outside themselves.  That open-loop design means that in some important ways, people cannot be stable on their own — not should or shouldn’t, but can’t be … Stability means finding people who regulate you well and staying near them.”  — Thomas Lewis, M.D.
  • “I think it’s easy to mistake understanding for empathy — we want empathy so badly. … It’s hard and ugly to know somebody can understand you without even liking you.” — Thomas Harris
  • “The eyes have one language everywhere.”  — George Herbert
  • “When you listen with empathy to another person, you give that person psychological air.”  — Stephen R. Covey

Social Skills

  • “Be not disturbed at being misunderstood; be disturbed rather at not being understanding.” — Chinese proverb
  • “Beginning today, treat everyone you meet as if they were going to be dead by midnight. Extend them all the care, kindness and understanding you can muster. Your life will never be the same again.” — Og Mandino
  • “Change happens in the boiler room of our emotions — so find out how to light their fires.” — Jeff Dewar
  • “Forgiveness does not change the past, but it does enlarge the future.” — Paul Boese
  • “In my 35 years in business I have always trusted my emotions. I have always believed that by touching emotion you get the best people to work with you, the best clients to inspire you, the best partners and most devoted customers.”  — Kevin Roberts
  • “Isolated people have vastly increased rate of premature death from all causes and are 3-5x likelier to die early than people with strong social ties.”  — Dean Ornish
  • “Smile at each other, smile at your wife, smile at your husband, smile at your children, smile at each other – it doesn’t matter who it is – and that will help you to grow up in greater love for each other.” — Mother Teresa
  • “Tenderness and kindness are not signs of weakness and despair, but manifestations of strength and resolution.” — Kahlil Gibran
  • “The greatest ability in business is to get along with others and influence their actions.” — John Hancock
  • “When dealing with people, remember you are not dealing with creatures of logic, but with creatures of emotion.” — Dale Carnegie
  • “When you make people angry, they act in accordance with their baser instincts, often violently and irrationally. When you inspire people, they act in accordance with their higher instincts, sensibly and rationally. Also, anger is transient, whereas inspiration sometimes has a life-long effect.” — Peace Pilgrim

If you have some favorite emotional intelligence quotes, feel free to share.