Reality Testing, a Really Important Emotional Intelligence Skill


Our Reality testing skill determines how clearly we discern what is actually happening in the world around us. 

“Reality testing involves ‘tuning in’ to the immediate situation…it is the capacity to see things objectively, the way they are, rather than the way we wish or fear them to be.”

Black Friday

While others were shopping for presents last Friday, I took advantage of a Black Friday sale to acquire new Black Tires for one of my vehicles.  I didn’t make this acquisition with joy.  In fact, my mood was just the opposite.


My vehicle has 95,000 miles.  This set of tires is my 4th set of tires.  Here’s a little help with the math.  The factory tires lasted approximately 35,000 miles.  The expensive Goodyear Fortera tires I purchased with a 70,000 mile warranty lasted approximately 25,000 miles.  The Hancook tires I purchased with a 60,000 mile warranty lasted approximately 34,000 miles. 

My Reality

Do you see where I’m going with this warranty versus actual lifespan issue?  My view of reality in this situation was that the company I have been purchasing tires from was selling me junk. In fact, this seemed like a pretty well-thought-out scam to me. 

The Intelligent Conversation...New Facts

Get a tire buyer hooked on their first purchase and they have to come back to you every time their tires wear out in order to cash in on the warranty in order to buy new tires. I shared a calm discussion with the sales person at the tire dealer.  He recognized that I live in the mountains just as he does. The roads we drive on are frequently curvy roads.  He explained how curvy roads wear tires quickly on a heavy vehicle like a truck or an SUV. 

He went further to explain that if I lived in Colorado Springs and drove on the generally straight I/25 interstate, I would get longer life out of my tires.  He went a step further to explain that if I lived in a place like Arizona, the roads are generally smoother than the roads we have in Colorado based on weather conditions.  In Arizona, my tires would last much longer. This all made sense. Nobody had ever shared these facts with me before.

New Information...New Reality

With this new information in my mind, I was able to shift my view of reality.  Now, I assume that regardless of what the warranty from the manufacturer states, my tires will likely last in the range of 30,000 to 35,000 miles.  While I’m not happy about this, it is the true reality. I can now budget more effectively in order to buy tires sooner than later and I'll no longer expect for my tires to last anywhere near as long as the warranty suggests they'll last.

I hope this real-life example helps you to better understand reality testing.  If your reality testing is not accurate, your thoughts, emotions and decisions will likely not be accurate either. 

That’s why this particular emotional intelligence skill is so important. It impacts every other emotional intelligence skill. The good news is that this emotional intelligence skill and 14 other emotional intelligence skills that are part of the EQi-2.0 assessment I work with can all be improved through coaching and work on the part of the person who is being coached. 

Jeff Snyder Coaching



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