“Our emotions need to be as educated as our intellect. It is important to know how to feel, how to respond, and how to let life in so that it can touch you.” – Unknown
Our culture is one obsessed with praising intelligence. Iconic geniuses are easily named. In fact, referring to someone as an Einstein is the same as calling someone a genius. Almost immediately, we tend to perceive someone as being of a higher intellect if they excel as situations requiring a logical mindset.
IQ Made Popular
Almost everybody knows Sheldon Cooper from the Big Bang Theory. Sheldon is a quirky personality, he is extremely logical and in most situations he is seen as rude, oblivious, or condescending towards others. Sheldon is well accomplished. He is a theoretical physicist with multiple doctorate degrees. He is a genius with an IQ of 187.
As smart as Sheldon is, he tends to be completely oblivious in many circumstances. He does not understand sarcasm, and completely lacks empathy for others. A favorite scene of mine takes place with a friend named Penny:
“Why are you crying?” Sheldon asks Penny.
“Because I’m stupid!” She responds.
Sheldon follows up with, “That’s no reason to cry. One cries because one is sad. For example, I cry because others are stupid, and that makes me sad.”
Don’t we all know somebody like this? An individual with an extremely high intellect, a genius in their own right, yet completely oblivious in other situations?
Enter Emotional Intelligence (EI or EQ)
EQ is a term coined by Peter Salavoy and John Mayer, the concept became mainstream by Daniel Goleman who released a book ‘Emotional Intelligence’ in 1995. EQ is described as having 5 dimensions: self-awareness, managing emotions, motivating others, showing empathy, and staying connected.
- Self-awareness – how can we seek to understand the people around us if we cannot understand ourselves? Self-awareness implies that we have spent enough time reflecting, meditating, and ponder who we are and “why” we feel the way we do. Our experiences vary greatly, yet emotions are a commonality experienced by all. The “why” to your happiness is different than mine, but once you understand your “why” it is that much easier to understand others as well.
- Managing emotions – A person who has a high EQ is an individual who is not only capable but pro-actively managing his/her emotions. While everyone has triggers and a threshold that can be met before snapping, managing emotions includes removing ourselves from situations where we are easily triggered or “on edge.” If you are a person easily agitated by crowds, how easy will you control your emotions in a crowded line at Disneyland? Know your limits.
- Motivating others – people scoring on the high side of EQ tests often have happy, contagious personalities that feed off encouraging and building others. Often you will find individuals with a high EQ working as psychologists, teachers, writers, and other positions where they can influence others to achieving their goals and dreams.
- Showing empathy – when you need to speak with someone about something burdening your heart, do you seek out a Sheldon? Probably not. Why is that? When we are needing to unburden our weary hearts, we often seek an individual with high EQ unknowingly. We recognize these individuals as good, attentive listeners who seek to understand what you are feeling in addition to what you are saying. We crave empathy and tie it to being understood.
- Staying connected – a favorite song of mine’s lyrics highlight the meaning of staying connected well. It says, “everyone’s connected but no one is connecting, the human element has long been missing.” In this digital age, we are all plugged into each other’s lives. The tragedy is being connected without actually connecting with these people. Sharing laughter, tears, sadness, and joy is fulfilling. Individuals with a high EQ crave this connection.
Emotional Intelligence is equally important in our professional environments. In employment, we have experienced many types of managers and leaders. Some have extremely high IQ and lack EQ. What type of manager would you prefer? One with a high EQ or a low EQ?
When we seek to do business with someone, we first establish a connection before proceeding to a business transaction. We will often “feel out” who the other person is before deciding whether or not we want to do business with them. Subconsciously, we determine if we can trust these individuals. Essentially, we are using our EQ skills to determine if we want to work with these people.
EQ is used daily. Luckily, EQ is a skill that can be developed and tuned through years of life.
EQ in Hollywood
One of my favorite television shows is Seinfeld. This is a fun clip to understand some highs and lows to EQ.
Want to know where you fall on the EQ scale? How has EQ helped you in your profession life?
Let us know!