Emotional Intelligence

Why Giving Can Be More Rewarding Than You Think

Emotional Intelligence

Giving has a bad reputation. We often equate generosity with being weak or yielding to pressure too easily. Givers are sometimes seen as doormats who will concede to any request to avoid conflict or gain others’ approval. But that’s not always the case. Giving can be very rewarding. Here’s why:

1. Giving makes you feel good

Yes, helping others can drain you. But it can also energize you.

Business professor Adam Grant makes the distinction between selfless, selfish, and otherish givers.

Selfless givers put other people’s interests above their own. This makes them feel burned out, disappointed, and like they can never give enough. 

Selfish givers help to get something in return. 

Otherish givers look for ways to help others that are either low cost or even high benefit to themselves — “win-win,” as opposed to “win-lose”. They choose their causes carefully and make sure that giving enhances their self-worth. As a result, they feel energized and motivated to give even more.

To maintain the balance of being generous with taking care of yourself, become an otherish giver, helping in ways that are meaningful to you, and that benefit more than hurt you.

2. Giving helps you achieve more

You accomplish more through collaboration than through competition.

Imagine the following scenario: ten people enter a contest to solve a puzzle for the prize of one million dollars. They are told to use any resource available in the room.

They look around and notice that there aren’t any books, computers, or calculators. Immediately, some of them start working on their own. The others rearrange their chairs in a circle and start sharing their ideas.

Four hours later, the participants who worked together are the ones who arrive at a solution and share the prize. The remaining contestants have either given up or are still struggling on their own.

In Grant’s terminology, the competitors were takers, while the collaborators were givers. Takers focus solely on rewards. Givers focus on finding solutions. 

Though givers aren’t thinking of rewards, they ultimately are rewarded as a consequence of helping others. Collaborate more, compete less, and you’ll reap more benefits in the long-run.

3. Giving helps you build and maintain relationships

Giving establishes powerful connections between people.

When someone is generous, word spreads about it quickly. A generous person’s network expands as others discover their role as a giver. Those who aren’t in their network want to become a part of it. Those who are go at great lengths to remain.

Eventually, giving spreads as the norm. By giving, a generous person eventually creates a community of givers on which he or she can rely in times of need.

So be generous. You’ll inspire others to do the same. Which essentially means you’ll have generous people to turn to should you need support in the future.

Sum up:

  • Find a meaningful cause. Give your time and energy to support something you feel strongly about. 
  • Collaborate more, compete less. Find opportunities to combine skills and resources with others rather than reaping individual rewards in every situation.
  • Be kind. Ask a friend how their day went. Help your new coworker figure out software they’ve never used before. Give someone your undivided attention. 

Already a giver? Let us know how you give and how has giving has helped you in the comment section below.

Sonia Codreanu
Sonia Codreanu
Psychometrics Analyst at Wonder
Sonia Codreanu is a psychology student at the University of Bath and a psychometrics analyst for Wonder. She's passionate about personality testing and investigates innovative ways in which it can be used to improve human performance and connection. In her spare time, she loves dancing.

Reading Helps You Develop Empathy, But Only If You Pick The Right Books

Emotional Intelligence, Social Skills

We all know that books make us smarter, but did you know they also help us better relate to other people?

Psychologists David Comer Kidd and Emanuele Castano, from the New School of Social Research in New York, showed that reading award-winning novels and short stories improves our ability to identify and understand other people’s emotions.

In a series of experiments, the researchers found that those who read critically-acclaimed literary texts were better able to guess what others are going through.

They scored higher on tasks like the Reading the Mind in the Eyes test, where participants are asked to guess the feelings being expressed by different sets of eyes in photos.

Empathy Training

According to Kidd and Castano, interpreting the thoughts and emotions of literary characters is just like trying to make sense of people in real life.

“The same psychological processes are used to navigate fiction and real relationships,” says Kidd. “Fiction is not just a simulator of a social experience, it is a social experience.”

As such, reading is great practice for real-life interactions. With added benefits: it poses fewer risks than the real world, and gives us the chance to explore the inner lives of others beyond stereotypes and convention.

Why Best-Sellers Don’t Work

But only challenging works of fiction give us the opportunity to exercise our empathy skills, researchers say.

What Charles Dickens and Charlotte Brontë can give you that Nicholas Sparks can’t? Internally unpredictable characters, implicit meanings, and multiple perspectives — a combination that engages us, as readers, in the active role of making sense of characters’ actions and the story as a whole.

“What great writers do is to turn you into the writer. In literary fiction, the incompleteness of the characters turns your mind to trying to understand the minds of others,” says Kidd.

By forcing us to “fill in the gaps” and search for meanings among many possible ones, novels and stories flex our interpretation muscles. In doing so, they prepare us for the tough job of understanding  people in real life.

Marcelle Santos
Marcelle Santos
Mars turns complicated ideas into content that's easy to understand and interesting to follow. At Wonder, she's diving deep into emotional intelligence and the psychology of relationships to come up with what she hopes is useful and inspiring information for users of the Wonder app.

5 Animations That Will Make You Better at Life

Emotional Intelligence

As a concept, emotional intelligence can seem a little abstract.

Most of us get it in theory, but it’s hard knowing what it looks like in real life. Luckily, the internet has an enormous amount of resources that can help us understand EQ better. We went ahead and did the hard work for you, going through the good, the bad, and the ugly EQ-related videos on YouTube to bring you this delightful list of informative and inspiring animations. Each of them will teach you about one of the five key components of emotional intelligence, and hopefully inspire you to grow. We hope you enjoy them!


We’ve all tried to help a friend in need at some point in our lives. Problem is, most of us have been going about it in the wrong way. In this beautifully animated talk, Brené Brown explains the difference between offering sympathy and having empathy — and why the latter works best.


Sometimes saying “no” to ourselves in the present is difficult, but it essential for our future happiness. In this cute little animation from Epipheo, Kelly McGonigal explains the different types of willpower that we need to overcome our daily desires, and how a little self-regulation can allow us to focus on what’s really important in our lives.


In order to make changes in your life, you need to understand your own emotions, and the strengths and limitations that go with them. This beautiful animation, produced by students from the Gobelins Film School, depicts one woman’s attempt to take control of her own life…and her imaginary crocodile!


What motivates us to get up in the morning for work? According to Dan Pink in this wonderful short from RSA, it’s not the financial carrot on a stick that drives us forward, but something deep within ourselves.

Social skills

Social skills are a very visible part of emotional intelligence, and probably the most important to success.  Without social skills, we can’t build meaningful relationships with people, and we struggle to get ahead in our careers. Where our social skills come from, and how they develop is still up for debate, but according to this informative short from NPR, play could be the answer!

P.S. Loved these videos? Then subscribe to our YouTube channel for more!

4 ways increasing your EQ can help your career

Emotional Intelligence

With so many technical skills you can learn to improve your performance at work, emotional intelligence might be at the bottom of your to-do list. But more and more studies show that investing in your EQ can actually help you advance in your career faster than, say, mastering Excel or learning to code. Here are five reasons why you should make increasing your emotional intelligence a top priority:

  1. It will make you more friends at work

Becoming more emotionally intelligent means increasing your empathy and social awareness —two skills that help you win more friends at the office. Think you don’t need friends at work? Think again. Research done by the OfficeVibe found that 70% of employees say friends at work is crucial to a happy working life. Employees that have a best friend at work are 137% more motivated to develop as a person and as a professional, and have a 35% higher commitment to quality.

  1. It will help you perform better in any job

Emotional intelligence plays a big role in your productivity —it’s what helps you meet that sales target in spite of your recent breakup, and quickly turn out an impeccable press release in the middle of a crisis. According to EQ experts Travis Bradberry and Jean Greaves, EQ is responsible for 58 percent of performance in all types of jobs. “It’s the single biggest predictor of performance in the workplace and the strongest driver of leadership and personal excellence.”

  1. It will make you money

Emotional intelligence has been proven to help you bring home a bigger paycheck. According to Bradberry and Greaves, people with a high EQ make approximately $ 29,000 more per year. “The link between EQ and earnings is so direct that every point increase in EQ adds $ 1,300 to an annual salary. These findings hold true for people in all industries, at all levels, in every region of the world,” they wrote. Their thesis is supported by a recent study from the University of Bonn, which found that people who are good at recognizing emotions have an income that is “significantly higher”.

  1. It may land you the job

“CEOs are hired for their intellect and business expertise—and fired for a lack of emotional intelligence,” an executive told Daniel Goleman. Companies like Johnson & Johnson and L’Oreal have realized that hiring people with a high EQ saves them time and money in the long run, and so have incorporated emotional intelligence as a criteria in their recruiting processes. Even if the company you want to work for doesn’t assess emotional intelligence, having worked on your EQ skills will still pay off when you go on your job interview —self-awareness, self-regulation and social awareness will help you keep your cool and connect with your recruiters more easily.

How Are You Feeling? Your (Surprisingly Detailed) Emotional Cheat Sheet

Emotional Intelligence, Emotions

You may be feeling jittery, jealous, furious, frazzled, panic-stricken, petrified, lonely, bewildered. If someone asks you how you’re feeling, chances are you’ll say “awful”, or another vague word that won’t communicate your specific emotion.

Expressing our feelings can be harder than it seems. Most of us aren’t always in touch with how we feel, and even when we are, we don’t always know how to articulate our emotions. On top of that, saying how we truly feel makes us vulnerable, something we’ve learned to think of as negative.

But learning to identify and name our feelings helps us gain self-awareness, improves our communication, and increases our chances of getting exactly what we need. When we know how we truly feel and can articulate it,  we’re better able to help ourselves and get help from others. We’re also better able express gratitude.

To be specific about how you feel, you first need to know the wide range of emotions you can experience. Use this detailed list (created by Center for Nonviolent Communication), to expand your emotional vocabulary:


Friendly, affectionate, compassionate, loving, open-hearted, sympathetic, tender, warm

Curious, absorbed, alert, curious, engrossed, enchanted, engaged, entranced, fascinated, intrigued, interested, involved, spellbound, stimulated, hopeful

Confident, empowered, open, proud, safe, secure

Excited, amazed, animated, ardent, aroused, astonished, dazzled, eager, energetic, enthusiastic, giddy, invigorated, lively, passionate, surprised, vibrant

Grateful, appreciative, moved, thankful, touched

Inspired, amazed, awed

Happy, amused, delighted, glad, joyful, jubilant, pleased, tickled

Hopeful, expectant, encouraged, optimistic

Calm, clear-headed, comfortable, centered, equanimous, fulfilled, mellow, peaceful, quiet, relaxed, relieved, satisfied, serene, still, tranquil, trusting

Refreshed, enlivened, rejuvenated, renewed, rested, restored, revived 


Afraid, apprehensive, foreboding, frightened, mistrustful, panicked, scared, suspicious, terrified, wary, worried

Annoyed, aggravated, dismayed, disgruntled, displeased, exasperated, frustrated, impatient, irritated, irked

Angry, enraged, furious, incensed, indignant, irate, livid, outraged, resentful

Disgusted, appalled, horrified, hostile, repulsed

Confused, ambivalent, baffled, bewildered, dazed, hesitant, lost, mystified, perplexed, puzzled, torn

Bored, alienated, aloof, apathetic, bored, cold, detached, disconnected, distant, distracted, indifferent, numb, removed, uninterested, withdrawn

Upset, alarmed, discombobulated, disturbed, perturbed, rattled, restless, shocked, startled, surprised, troubled, turbulent, turmoil, uncomfortable, uneasy, unnerved, unsettled

Embarrassed, ashamed, chagrined, flustered, guilty, mortified, self-conscious

Anguished, bereaved, devastated, heartbroken, hurt, lonely, miserable, regretful, remorseful

Sad, depressed, dejected, despaired, despondent, disappointed, discouraged, disheartened, forlorn, gloomy, heavy-hearted, hopeless, melancholy, unhappy, wretched

Anxious, cranky, distressed, distraught, edgy, fidgety, frazzled, irritable, jittery, nervous, overwhelmed, restless, stressed out

Helpless, fragile, guarded, insecure, leery, reserved, sensitive, shaky, vulnerable

Jealous, envious, nostalgic, wistful

Now stop for a moment and ask yourself, how am I really feeling? 

© 2005 by Center for Nonviolent Communication |  Website: www.cnvc.org |  Email: cnvc@cnvc.org  | Phone: +1.505.244.4041