Why Emotional Intelligence Still Outranks IQ In Achieving A Successful Life

Why Emotional Intelligence Still Outranks IQ in Achieving a Successful Life
(Photo: Facebook/Rise and Shine - for happier and healthier kids)

What is more important in determining life success-book smarts or street smarts? This question gets at the heart of an important debate contrasting the relative importance of cognitive intelligence (IQ) and emotional intelligence (EQ).

According to the South China Morning Post, the World Economic Forum's Future of Jobs Report said that emotional intelligence would be one of the top 10 employment skills in 2020. Harvard trained psychologist Daniel Goleman first raised awareness of EQ, in his book Emotional Intelligence.

Since its release in 1995, studies have proven that emotional intelligence predicts future success in relationships, health, and quality of life. Enlightened Entrepreneurship author Chris Myers would argue the same. Finding himself surrounded by more intelligent colleagues he somehow moved ahead of them in the workplace.

Years later, he noticed that although his son Jack was exceptionally bright, with an IQ of 145, he struggled to achieve success. Myers concluded that success in both life and business is a matter of "emotion, relationships, and character rather than raw intelligence."

Myers quotes US civil rights activist and author Maya Angelou's belief that "people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people with never forget how you made them feel." He states that people "buy emotions, not products," teams "rally around missions, not directives" and entrepreneurs "take on challenges because of passion, not logic."

Ultimately, it is the individuals with the high emotional quotient (EQ) - a person's ability to express and control emotions, over intelligence quotient (IQ) - the ability to think and reason, that speaks "to the soul" of another person and most effectively influences their behavior.

In a 2011 CareerBuilder survey of more than 2,600 hiring managers and human resource professionals, 71 percent stated they valued emotional intelligence in an employee over IQ, and 59 percent claimed they would pass up a candidate with a high IQ but low emotional intelligence.

The psychologist Howard Gardner, for example, has suggested that intelligence is not simply a single general ability. Instead, he suggests that there are multiple intelligences and that people may have strengths in a number of these areas, VeryWellMind notes.

Instead of focusing on single, general intelligence, usually referred to as the g factor, some experts believe that the ability to understand and express emotions can play an equal if not an even more important role in how people fare in life.

While the downstairs brain is fully built in young children, the upstairs brain is still under construction well into a person's twenties. Parents need to support the integration of the downstairs and upstairs regions of children's brains.

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