Recently, I’ve been daydreaming about life before COVID-19. My plan is to re-retire in 2023 as life gets back to normal. As an extrovert, I generally enjoy plenty of human interaction. However, sometimes, I come across folks who completely lack emotional intelligence.
When I come across such folks, I immediately begin to wonder what happened? Is the lack of emotional intelligence a parental failure? Is it a failure of the school system? Or is a lack of emotional intelligence genetic, no matter how much tutelage one gets? Please tell me if you know the answer!
Let me share three examples of how a lack of emotional intelligence cost these people some money. One example also cost a friendship.
A Lack Of Emotional Intelligence Can Cost You
Example #1: The Chair Massage
One of my favorite activities pre-corona was getting a chair massage at the mall once every two weeks.
I usually prefer 45 to 60-minute-long massages, but I don’t at this one particular place at the mall because the guy uses too much force on my back. We’re talking enough force to cause face-contortions from a CIA operative caught and tortured behind enemy lines.
Every time he goes to town on my back I tell him to soften up. I say so in English and then in Mandarin, just in case he can’t understand my uncomfortable grunts.
Each time he responds “OK,” or “hao,” and then proceeds to kneed even harder like he’s on a mission to explode the blood out of my veins.
Due to his aggressive style, I always tell him I only want a 20-minute massage even though he always encourages me to do 30 minutes or longer. If he’s doing great, I’ll extend the time. If not, worst-case scenario, I only have to endure 20 minutes of torture.
He should have listened to my request for less pressure. If he did, I would gladly pay $50 before tip for a 60-minute passage. But due to his inability to listen, he often only makes $18 before tip for 20 minutes of work.
He wants things done his way, which is fine. I’ll just choose to not do as much business with him. Everything is rational.
Example #2: The “Asian Ghetto”
Between 2013-2015, I did some part-time consulting at a fintech company in their San Francisco office. It was a fun experience that allowed me to learn more about digital marketing and meet new people in the fintech space.
During this time I met a fella who was a smart and motivated guy. Things were going pretty well and he often asked me about real estate advice in the San Francisco Bay Area.
He told me he wanted to buy a property in Oakland given he grew up in the East Bay and went to Berkeley. I told him buying then was a good idea for various reasons.
He then asked me specifically about the San Francisco real estate market. I told him that due to his lower-than-average budget, he should consider looking for homes on the western side of the city. At the time, I thought there was a great investment opportunity as work becomes more decentralized.
I also told him I was looking to buy an ocean property view on the west side. It was apparent to me there was a fortune to be made. Homes with ocean views were trading at a discount in San Francisco, despite homes with ocean views trading at significant premiums in every other international city near an ocean.
Instead of listening to my reasoning, he immediately blurted out, “I don’t want to live in the Asian ghetto!“
What The Hell Did He Just Say?
I was dumbfounded and offended. Here was my younger colleague, a 29-year-old guy renting a dumpy place in the worst part of San Francisco (the Tenderloin), telling me, an Asian-American guy he didn’t want to live in an “Asian ghetto.”
Yes, there is a higher population of Asians and Asian-Americans on the west side of San Francisco. Asians make up roughly 33% of the entire San Francisco population. However, he might as well have said all of San Francisco was a ghetto since the combined minority population is a majority.
Only an idiot (or perhaps a racist) would think that owning a $1M – $1.5M home was considered a ghetto. Remember, he couldn’t even afford to rent a nice place in a safe neighborhood. I guess when you have low emotional intelligence, you feel it’s OK to ask for advice from a guy and insult his race at the same time.
After this exchange, I no longer wanted to speak to him about non-work stuff or give him any advice. Our relationship was strained because he clearly had no idea how insulting he was.
A Follow Up Request Due To Low Emotional Intelligence
A year later, he joined a competing firm for a raise and a promotion. I wished him well. Then about 1.5 years later, he decided to leave his cushy job and try and start something of his own, an online marketplace for loans.
We hadn’t kept in touch in over a year when he suddenly reached out and asked me if I could help promote his product. Usually, when you want something, you should try to at least make some small talk.
Instead of getting straight to business, I asked him what he had been doing since we last spoke and whether he had finally bought his dream property in Oakland.
Nope. He said he was still renting and told me he has been busy trying to recruit people to build his company with another old colleague.
At the end of the day, I told him I wasn’t interested in promoting his product at the moment because it was too new. But he pumped me hard for information anyway.
Further, I kept thinking in the back of my head, why would you want an Asian person living in the Asian ghetto to give your company a great boost anyway? That would be illogical!
If only he had made efforts to keep in touch before an ask and not insult me and my people. Maybe things would be different today. Oh, and if he had bought property back in 2013, his property would be worth ~70% more today. There’s always the next life I guess.
Example #3: A Hard Sell For Windows
After buying an old home, one of my favorite things to spend money on to improve the value of a home is new windows. So I asked a window vendor to come over and give me an estimate for nine windows.
He said he worked with multiple brands of windows. I told him I had some Milgard windows installed in my old house and I really liked them.
He proceeded to tell me how this no-name brand called Anlin was better than Milgard, making me feel bad for purchasing Milgard windows. He went on to highlight various reasons why his Anlin windows were better than Milgard windows. The thing is, I love my Milgard windows. They look good, work well, and are good value.
He was selling his Anlin windows so hard that it seemed like he was trying to get rid of his last stock to get some type of month-end bonus. It was weird since he started our conversation highlighting that he works with 30 different brands.
Because he decided to bash my Milgard windows, I didn’t entertain his $10,500 offer for Anlin windows after he had spent 1.5 hours measuring, demonstrating, and trying to sell me on his windows.
Usually, I would make a counteroffer. But he pissed me off. As a result, he left empty-handed after driving for over one hour to get to my house.
A couple days later, one of his managers called and asked me how it went. And I told him about the experience. The manager said he has been installing Milgard windows for 10 years because they are some of the best.
If only the sales guy didn’t insult my old windows. Maybe we could have all walked away with a win.
Don’t Be An EQ Idiot
If you want something, you need to give first. If you want to sell something, you need to first create a positive connection. An emotionally intelligent person tries to help others first.
Be respectful of people’s time and wishes. At the very least, don’t disregard someone’s opinion and make them feel bad about their choices! Insulting someone is not an effective sales strategy.
You don’t need to be the smartest person to become extremely wealthy. Instead, to create great wealth, it is much better to be the person with the highest emotional intelligence.
If you have high emotional intelligence, you can actually save or make a lot more money too. For example, someone with a high EQ are more likable. And people tend to do more business with people they like. If you are a real estate investor with high EQ, you will end up writing better love letters and price concession letters to get a better deal.
How To Improve Your Emotional Intelligence
- Listening more
- Writing more
- Reading more
- Complementing more
- Thinking more about the other person’s situation
- Giving first
- Learning about different cultures
- Working a sales job
My emotional intelligence also needs work.
My biggest problem is that I often don’t take things seriously enough. As a happy-go-lucky type of guy, I’m sometimes viewed as irreverent or flippant. This can sometimes pisses people off who don’t know me well. But I just can’t stand hanging out with people who are all work and no fun.
If you’re only thinking about yourself, I guarantee you will have a much harder time getting ahead.
Once you start thinking about others first, you will develop better relationships and make more money in the process.
Financial Independence Will Make EQ Less Important
If you absolutely can’t stand people with low EQ, then get motivated to achieve financial independence ASAP. After becoming financially independent, you can systematically cut out low EQ people from your life for good. To only have to interact with people you like is a wonderful feeling!
Readers, what are some encounters you’ve experienced where the other side lacked emotional intelligence? With so much schooling and parental guidance, why are there still so many EQ idiots? What are some examples where you lacked emotional intelligence?