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Why emotional intelligence matters more than IQ

india Updated: Nov 21, 2006 17:56 IST

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YOU wonder why some high scoring schoolmates have landed up doing ordinary jobs that are non-challenging to them and a surprise for their teachers as well as peers.

Test this out
CONSIDER OFFERING a bar of chocolate to a six-year-old. Explain that she can have another bar if she holds on to the first bar without eating it for two hours. Amazingly some children understand the advantage of getting more if they hold on to that first bar, but several others will rip open the wrapper and gobble it up right away.

Why do they differ in their behaviour and what makes some people delay gratification in order to achieve a more satisfying result? One explanation may lie in the way they handle their emotions. No matter how sharp you may be in learning a particular subject and how efficiently you solve your problem, unless you have optimum control over your emotions  (measured as Emotional Quotient) you may not be able to achieve the best possible results. People often fail to enjoy the fruits of success because they lack the emotional maturity required to succeed.

What is Emotion? The term emotion has been derived from the Latin ‘emover’, which means to move, to excite or to agitate. Today the term emotion is used as an umbrella to use any subjective experience such as love, hate, attraction, or any other such powerful feeling. Most affairs of everyday life are lined with emotions.

We remember with a warm glow the pleasant time that we spent with someone; we anticipate with pleasure our parties and picnics. On the other hand when our emotions are so intense or out of our control they can get us into frequent trouble. Emotions may cloud our judgment, turn friends into enemies and make us miserable interacting with others.

Until recently a lot of emphasis was given on the role of logical thinking, ability to learn efficiently, and memorise material in determining conventional intelligence.

But psychologists are now seriously into determining the importance of emotions and the ability of handling emotions in day-to-day life situations. So it is not simply your abilities related to high intelligence but also your abilities related to management of emotions that determines your overall success in any field.

It is not surprising, therefore, that many companies, schools and organisations are training people to improve their understanding of emotions and creating better insight in their participants to be able to deal more efficiently with day-to-day emotional situations in life.

In ‘ Emotional Intelligence: Why it Matters more than IQ’, Goalman (1995) suggests that Emotional Intelligence allows us to think more creatively and to use our emotions to solve problems. Tests designed to measure Emotional Quotient of people help in identifying areas in which people need to focus and improve.

Suggestions related to improvement in emotional intelligence have focused on two key areas that are presented in the development of emotional competence. These are  ‘ personal competence’ - How we manage ourselves, and ‘social competence’ – how we manage relationships. Each broad area consists of a number of specific competencies, as outlined below.
Personal competence

1 Self Awareness (of internal states, preferences, resources, and intuitions)

2 Self Regulation (of internal states, impulses and resources)

3 Motivation (tendencies that facilitate reaching goals)

Social competence
1 Empathy (awareness of others feelings, needs, and concerns)

2 Social Skills (adept at inducing desirable responses in others)

You may also improve your emotional intelligence by becoming more practical in your life and especially in your social relations.

Keep reminding yourself that you have higher goals to achieve and no one can make you unhappy without your own consent. Avoid irrelevant information that is not useful in achieving your goal. Relaxation and meditation may also prove to be useful to you.

And over and above the conviction and meaningfulness of your desired goal will always help you to use your emotions in a fruitful way.

(The author is a psychologist and a professor of Psychology and Social work at BSSS. He can be contacted at
drvinaymishra@rediffmail.com)

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