EQ vs. IQ: The Great Brain Debate

February 18, 2021

Emotional intelligence was popularized in the mid-1990s as “EQ” and touted as a way to excel in business by psychologist and science writer Daniel Goleman. But what exactly is emotional intelligence? And how is it different from intelligence quotient, or IQ? Can one or the other make our lives better, right now?

It turns out achieving our potential requires a little bit of both – and the complex interplay is the place where all sorts of magic and creativity happen. In fact, new neuroscience studies show that we need a sprinkling of each to learn new things, take on new challenges and do better overall in life.

Where do you land?

Jot down a simple “yes” or “no” for each question below to see how you stack up.

  1. When I get bad news, I’m able to put a name on how I feel.
  2. People say I’m a good listener who really understands their problems.
  3. Give me a complex problem that requires lots of reasoning and analysis and I’m happy for hours.
  4. If a challenge presents itself, I’m able to figure out a work-around.
  5. I enjoy being completely immersed in a project or hobby for days at a time.
  6. When I’m wrong, I have no problem apologizing right away.
  7. I’m better at figuring out how things could be arranged in a room than making small talk at a party.
  8. Mapping out a strategy to attack a problem is one of my favorite things to do.
  9. There’s nothing better than a good, deep one-on-one conversation.
  10. I love word games and crossword puzzles.

If you answered yes to questions 1, 2, 4, 6 and 9, you lead in life with emotions and potentially have a high EQ. If you answered yes to questions 3, 5, 7, 8 and 10, you enjoy using reasoning and analysis in life, and potentially have a high IQ. If you answered yes to a few of each, you enjoy the best of both worlds.

Next steps

Consider taking a few moments to sharpen your skills.

Support your EQ:

  • Observe your feelings through meditation, journaling or self-reflection
  • Welcome feedback – encourage co-workers to share, and learn from their observations
  • Take a deep breath to slow reactions and thinking and calm any situation

Support your IQ:

  • Learn a new language – it actually helps with negotiating and problem-solving
  • Get your zzz’s – losing even two hours a night can take two points off your IQ
  • Use a map instead of GPS – using problem-solving, spatial, logical and cognitive muscles keeps them sharp

Sources: fool.com; medium.com; entrepreneur.com; sonoma.edu; 6seconds.org

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