IQ is outdated, it’s time for EQ

A university student, the best in his class, with excellent academic scores, cannot continue a healthy relationship with his girlfriend. A market analyst, one of the best at his job, is fired as he could not deal effectively with his subordinates after his promotion. These are just a few of many such instances where IQ doesn’t necessarily correlate with a person’s emotional maturity. The person in both these examples is high in IQ as indicated by their performance at their job, however, life is not all about one’s job skills and academics. Their failure to effectively manage their emotions is indicative of a lack of one’s emotional maturity.

Since the popularity of IQ increased, it’s considered as the standard for intelligence, often used interchangeably. However after the publication of Daniel Goleman’s book “Emotional Intelligence,” the stage for a new debate was built. This book draws our focus on the shortcomings of IQ and introduces us to the new idea of EQ – Emotional quotient, or emotional intelligence. Where IQ measures aspects related to individual’s analytical and mathematical abilities, EQ or emotional intelligence gives us an idea about how well an individual can control one’s emotions, and how well one can understand other’s emotions, making this a crucial skill in our social life, while a software engineer with a high IQ score be excellent at his job, high might not necessarily be great with dealing with his colleagues or reciprocating with the social stimulus at his workplace.

With a focus on its key components – self-awareness, empathy, and social skills – and their practical applications in relationships, let us embark on a comprehensive exploration of this vital aspect of human interaction.

The Pillars of Emotional Intelligence

  • Self-Awareness: At the core of emotional intelligence lies the foundational ability of self-awareness. This involves not only recognizing and understanding one’s own emotions but also delving into the intricacies of their origin and impact. A high level of self-awareness allows individuals to navigate the complexities of relationships with authenticity, fostering a genuine connection with others.
  • Empathy: The empathetic individual possesses a deep understanding of the emotions of others. Empathy goes beyond mere recognition; it involves the capacity to share in the feelings of others. This profound connection transcends words, creating a space for true understanding and compassion. Empathy serves as the bridge that allows us to comprehend the perspectives of those around us, cultivating a rich tapestry of understanding in our social interactions.
  • Social Skills: Mastering the art of effective communication and relationship-building is a hallmark of high emotional intelligence. Social skills encompass a wide range of abilities, including active listening, conflict resolution, and collaboration. These skills form the bedrock of meaningful connections, shaping positive interactions, and fostering healthy relationships with friends, family, and colleagues.

Emotional intelligence as a foundation to a healthy relationship: 

  • Cultivating Self-Awareness: In the realm of relationships, self-awareness becomes a guiding light. Understanding one’s emotional triggers and responses lays the foundation for effective communication. By taking the time to reflect on personal emotions and reactions, individuals can approach relationships with a heightened sense of self-understanding. This practice promotes authenticity, vulnerability, and a more profound connection with others.
  • Empathy as the Glue: Empathy serves as a potent force in fortifying connections. In relationships, practising empathy involves active listening, validating emotions, and demonstrating a genuine interest in the experiences of others. This empathetic approach fosters an environment of trust, nurturing bonds that withstand the tests of time and tribulations. As individuals consistently apply empathetic principles, they contribute to the creation of a supportive and understanding social ecosystem.
  • Mastering Social Skills: Effective communication is the cornerstone of successful relationships. Applying emotional intelligence in social skills means adapting communication styles to suit the emotional needs of others, practising open and honest dialogue, and navigating conflicts with empathy. These skills create an environment where individuals feel heard, valued, and understood. The mastery of social skills ensures that relationships thrive through effective and meaningful communication.

I advocate for viewing this skillset as a lifelong journey. Continuous self-reflection, learning, and refinement of emotional intelligence contribute to personal growth and the cultivation of healthier, more fulfilling relationships. It is not merely a set of tools but a dynamic process of self-discovery and connection with the world around us.

Expanding our exploration, it’s essential to acknowledge the profound impact of emotional intelligence on both personal and professional relationships. In the professional sphere, emotional intelligence is a valuable asset. Leaders with high emotional intelligence can effectively manage teams, navigate workplace dynamics, and foster a positive organisational culture. The ability to empathise with colleagues, communicate with clarity, and navigate conflicts constructively contributes to a harmonious and productive work environment.

Developing Emotional Intelligence: A Practical Guide

In Bhagwat Gita it mentioned that on the battlefield when Arjuna was clueless, and overwhelmed by conflicting emotions, Shri Krishna said: O mighty-armed son of Kunti, it is undoubtedly very difficult to curb the restless mind, but it is possible by constant practice and by detachment.

असंशयं महाबाहो मनो दुर्निग्रहं चलं। अभ्यासेन तु कौन्तेय वैराग्येण च गृह्यते ।6.35।।

Same is true for us, embarking on the journey of developing emotional intelligence requires intention and commitment. Practical steps include regular self-reflection, journaling to explore and understand emotions, and seeking feedback from trusted friends or mentors. Engaging in mindfulness practices can enhance self-awareness, while actively practising empathy in daily interactions hones this crucial skill.

In the realm of social skills, individuals can benefit from seeking opportunities to enhance communication, such as joining group activities, participating in workshops, or practising active listening in various settings. The commitment to ongoing personal development ensures that emotional intelligence becomes a fluid and adaptive aspect of one’s personality, positively influencing relationships in diverse contexts.

In conclusion, the exploration of emotional intelligence goes beyond just theoretical understanding – it is a practical and transformative journey. Recognizing its impact on both personal and professional spheres, it is clear that in the contemporary landscape, the importance of emotional intelligence is as paramount as intellectual prowess. In a world where connections are forged not just through intellect but also through understanding, empathy, and effective communication, the fusion of high IQ and EQ emerges as the key to unlocking our collective potential. As we embrace this holistic approach to human intelligence, we embark on a path towards creating a society that values not only cognitive brilliance but also the profound art of emotional connection, fostering a more empathetic, resilient, and harmonious world.

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