Being Emotionally Intelligent
In the last episode, we learned that our emotional brain can cause us to behave in seemingly “irrational” ways. The good news is that these occurrences are exceptions, not the rule. Most of the time, we think before we act. In a sense, we’re wired for emotional intelligence.
So what is emotional intelligence? It’s the ability to understand how people—including we ourselves—work. And because people are emotional creatures, what that really means is understanding and managing emotions, both yours and other people’s.
A different kind of smart
When it comes to having or developing emotional intelligence, how smart you are in the traditional sense isn’t very important. Not only are emotional intelligence and cognitive intelligence entirely independent, but a growing body of research suggests that your emotional quotient (EQ) is a stronger predictor of success than your intelligence quotient (IQ).
For example, research suggests that at work and in school, people with average IQs outperform those with the highest IQs 70% of the time. After all, you can have the logical and linguistic skills to ace a test, but nervousness can ruin your chances. And no matter how smart you are, if you can’t delay gratification and keep going when you fail, you’ll never realize your full potential.
Howard Gardner, a psychologist at the Harvard School of Education, believes a person’s IQ contributes only about 20 percent to their success. The other 80 percent, he says, can be credited to other factors—including knowing your strengths and being able to get along well with others.
“Many people with an IQ of 160 work for people with IQs of 100, if the former have poor intrapersonal intelligence and the latter have a high one. And in the day-to-day world no intelligence is more important than the interpersonal. If you don’t have it, you’ll make poor choices about who to marry, what job to take, and so on,” says Gardner.
Benefits of a high EQ
Research shows that people who have a high EQ do better professionally. TalentSmart, a consulting company that provides emotional intelligence testing and training, found that when tested alongside 33 other competencies, emotional intelligence is the strongest predictor of performance. According to them, 90% of the top performers have a high EQ, and EQ is responsible for 58% of job performance.
People with a high EQ also earn more: TalentSmart estimates that they make $29,000 USD more annually than those with a low EQ.
But emotional intelligence isn’t just good for your career: it’s also crucial for building and maintaining stable, satisfying relationships—and numerous studies have found relationships to be the most important factor for happiness and longevity.
Increasing your EQ
At this point, you may be asking yourself whether or not you can become more emotionally intelligent than you are now. The answer is YES.
In our next episode, we’ll introduce the five skills that make up emotional intelligence, so that you can start thinking about which you’d like to work on.
Share with friends