Blog | Entrepreneurship

Three Traits to Build Emotional Intelligence

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If you’re looking to become a successful social entrepreneur, maybe it’s time to improve your emotional intelligence.

Many people think entrepreneurs are born geniuses. We assume they aced every test, won popularity contests and breezed through college to earn their degree.

And though many large corporations do have highly educated leaders spearheading their businesses, many do not. So it begs the question, if large corporations don’t have executives that hold college or advanced degrees, where did they gain their knowledge to run a business.

Three traits to build emotional intelligence

Through our journey creating and growing our addiction and treatment facilities over the past decade, Lisa and I believe persistence, internal drive, and risk taking are the attributes that truly determine the success of a social entrepreneur. These three traits build what Robert refers to as emotional intelligence.

Lisa and I recently returned from a Rich Dad event led by Robert and Kim Kiyosaki. Robert discussed, in great detail, the four types of intelligence: mental, physical, emotional, and spiritual.

tetrahedron diagram of the four intelligences-mental, physical, spiritual, emotional

When we began to develop our business, we believed that we had a better way of doing things than what was already being done, that our experiences made us uniquely qualified to perform the type of work we were pursuing, and that we were worthy of obtaining capital to get our idea off the ground. We had a simple vision where others didn’t. We stuck with it until we found someone who would give us a chance.

While writing our book, The Social Capitalist, we spoke with Michael Holthouse of Prepared 4 Life. Michael’s thoughts mirrored not only our own experiences but those of Robert himself.

Here’s Michael discusses how attributes other than mental (or academic) intelligence is what leads to successful business:

"One of the big things I learned is that there are really two kinds of learning. When most Americans think of education, they immediately jump to school—reading, writing, and math, the great equalizers. But when you do the research and see the studies, academic success has almost no correlation to life success. There’s some, but hardly any. It’s the second side of education that bears all the impact. It goes by different names, but it’s largely social and emotional skills. The ability to have a vision for your future, set goals, communicate well, work well with others. It’s the integration of ideas and hard work, and discipline, and sacrifice for long-term benefit. It’s all this stuff that our families are supposed to teach us. But because of the breakdown of the family in America, most people don’t learn them. It’s those skills, those life skills that separate really successful people from unsuccessful people.

“What’s so interesting, at least to me, is that if you go to Google and type in ‘characteristics of an entrepreneur,’ what you’ll find out is that great entrepreneurs are masters of these social and emotional skills, not necessarily masters of academic skills. Some are, but it’s not the academics that are the breakthrough for them. It’s about being loyal, trustworthy, managing life by values, communicating, imparting ideas… So entrepreneurship is at the very basis of really important stuff, the first being that it’s how you build life success, and the second being that it’s the basis of America, capitalism, free enterprise, and what makes us the leaders in the world.”

For years we followed Robert’s advice of building up our emotional intelligence.

If you haven’t already, there’s no better time than now.


If you want to learn more about how Lisa and I continue to help families with addiction, check us out at or grab a copy of our story with The Social Capitalist.

Or if you’re looking for a different type of book, grab

Return to Orchard Canyon

from our fellow Rich Dad Advisor, Ken McElroy.

Original publish date: February 10, 2020

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