Why people are shifting focus from IQ to EQ?

Opinions on Debatable Issues #36

According to Healthline, the Intelligence Quotient (IQ) describes what people know and how quickly they can solve problems using reasoning, logic, plan, and strategy, as well as the ability to understand abstract ideas, learn and adapt to change, and grasp and use language. 

Emotional Intelligence EQ vs. IQ: Why Do Some Smart People Keep Making the  Same Dumb Mistakes?
Serenity Online Therapy

The concept of Emotional Intelligence (EI) describes a person’s ability to recognize and regulate emotion, and to use social awareness in problem-solving by empathizing with other people, adapting feelings and behavior to different situations, withstand temptations, and delay gratification to resolve conflicts with others and communicate effectively

Numerous studies have shown the importance of EQ. A study published in Frontiers in Psychology found that People with higher levels of emotional intelligence tend to have positive life outcomes, such as psychological wellbeing, educational attainment, and job-related success.” When EQ is measured as both an ability (AEI) and trait (TEI), TEI is related to “less mood deterioration during sports-based stressors such as during competitions, physical discomfort such as during dental procedure), and cognitive stressors such as when performing memory tasks. Both higher AEI and TEI relate to faster recovery from acute stress”.

benefits of EQ | Dr. Nisha Khanna
Dr. Nisha Khanna

Another study published in the Iranian Journal Psychology found that general mood is the most effective factor changing marital satisfaction. Since people with higher EQ are better at moderating mood, they generally enjoy happier marital life than others. It is unarguable that being in a stable and loving relationship keeps most of us happy. Now, onto career success. In a study published in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, emotional intelligence acted as a strong predictor, even when personality traits and proactive personality were controlled, when related to job satisfaction. The importance of having high EQ in the workplace is supported by the World Economic Forum’s Future of Jobs Report, which states that emotional intelligence is one of the top 10 job skills in 2020. According to the survey from Levo Institute, 80% of employees consider emotional intelligence crucial for developing their careers. Statistics also show that EQ is positively correlated with the retainment of employees. “A large metropolitan hospital reduced their critical care nursing turnover from 65 percent to 15 percent within 18 months of implementing an emotional intelligence screening assessment.” This shows that EQ not only benefits individual employees but also contributes to the long-term flourishment of the company. Win-win!

Why EQ Is an Important Factor in The Workplace – MindStand

IQ has been touted in the past century for being the best determiner of success and education. However, according to Healthline, IQ tests don’t always predict success in school, life, or business based on recent research. As the saying goes “Emotions drive people. People drive performance”, a person with a high IQ may not be good at emotion regulation, self-awareness, and socializing. Without those important skills, one’s talent might not be recognized and appreciated. According to fastcompany.com, Daniel Goleman, a prominent author on the topic of “emotional intelligence”, believed that while our IQ may get us a job, it is our EQ that determines how quickly we advance and are promoted. The argument is that “after technical skills are accounted for, it’s our ability to work with and connect with others that determines how successful we are at work.” Sustainability is what keeps us living a balanced and joyful life, and EQ helps us achieve just that. At the end of the day, we are humans. We feel before we think. If you have read Thinking, Fast and Slow, you would know that our unconscious, most immediate reactions are controlled by system 1, which is emotion/instinct-driven.

Signs you have high emotional intelligence in your friendships | Well+Good

Moreover, some research indicates a correlation between high intelligence and mental health issues. Geniuses such as Mark Zuckerberg, Steve Jobs, Nobel Prize laureate John Nash (of “A Brilliant Mind” fame), and mathematician Kurt Gödel all struggled with mental illness and personal crises, according to Verywellmind. In other words, a high IQ does not necessarily help you live a happy and fulfilling life. Emotional Quotient, on the other hand, is crucial for subjective well-being. According to huffpost.com, Emotional intelligence is “not just a management skill, but it is a necessary life skill for creating strong and committed interpersonal relationships”, which leads to greater happiness. When considering the resolution of which is better, I think most people would agree that living a happy and fulfilling life with higher EQ is better than living a smart life that is not necessarily joyful.

Also, studies show that IQ tends to be predetermined (50% by genetics) while EQ can be developed, allowing people to achieve greater accomplishments through hard work, practices, and experiences, rather than innate talents. Though most of us wish we are above average IQ, the average IQ score falls between 85 and 115 and most people do not differ from each other significantly. Studies have shown that when income reaches a certain threshold, happiness no longer increases as income increases. Most people that do not worry about paying their rent or next meal seek genuine and sustainable friendship and family members. EQ, then, comes into play by effectively reinforcing healthy and caring relationships. When most people are similarly educated, what sets each of us apart is our EQ.

Developing EQ for Performance Webinar for Pastors | ECO
ECO|A Covenant Oder of Evangelical Presbyterians

Some argue that people with higher education (aka, higher IQ) commit fewer crimes. However, this view ignores the crucial role EQ plays in criminal activities. According to the Industrial Psychology Journal, “impulsivity is one of the most important characteristics of the personality of criminals, which forces them to act haphazardly.” Impulse control, problem-solving, and social skills are the components of EI. Individuals with low EI levels were found to be more prone to risky behavior because “they have a hard time understanding situations from the perspective of others and, therefore, tend to be less empathetic”. Using common sense, we don’t need to have a doctorate degree to understand basic civil laws. Ask an average person whether beating a person is illegal. The answer you get is always a yes, but some still break laws. That is not because they were unaware of the laws; rather, they usually got consumed by their emotion, either anger, anguish, or jealousy, to lose control of themselves. So higher EQ, not IQ, keeps people calm and civil rather than aggressive and violent. 

In conclusion, IQ can only get a person so far. When stepping into the society, interaction with others, being empathetic and creative, become more important factors of determining ones’ happiness and success. As Dale Carnegie precisely describes: When dealing with people, remember you are not dealing with creatures of logic, but with creatures of emotion.

9 Signs of Low Emotional Intelligence
Verywell Mind


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  1. Tikno says:

    I don’t force my children to be the class champion in study. I prefer children to be friendly with nature, family, friends, and empathize with the people around them wherever they are.
    I just think that is the most important provision for them after leaving school to star the real life.
    Do you think that is include in the EQ?

    Hello! This is Sharon.
    Thanks for your comment! I do believe socializing and empathizing with others are skills developed under the category of EQ. The good news is that everyone can become observant of other’s emotions and be genuine and affable when interacting with people. So, I applaud the wise guidance you give to your children.

    Liked by 1 person

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