What’s more important EQ or IQ?
Q: I’ve been reading a lot about emotional intelligence. The pros and cons. In your opinion what’s more important EQ or IQ?
A: Eight years ago, when I first started devouring everything I could get my hands on about Emotional Intelligence, I was convinced that EQ was far more important than IQ. I’ve even written an article or two that vehemently argues the point.
But now--hundreds of books, psychology journals, articles and research papers later--I’m careful about making claims that EQ totally crushes IQ. Here’s why.
Think about your car. What’s the most important part of your car? If you’re like most people, you said the engine or the transmission.
To that I respond, “What about the tires?” I’m not suggesting that the tires are of comparable significance to the engine, but let’s take the following example into consideration.
There was a race between a guy with a brand new Maybach (a ridiculously expensive car) without tires and a guy with a hooptie (Translation: old beat up car) with brand new tires.
Million Dollar Question: Who do you think won the race?
Understand that if a person’s IQ isn’t a certain level (estimated to be around 90) then high EQ wouldn’t even matter because it’s highly unlikely that a person would have the wherewithal to use it effectively. Think about that.
As you advance in an organization, EQ plays an increasingly important in factor. But in most cases you would also need an MBA or higher, right? According to statistics you need an IQ of 100-120 to earn an advanced degree.
In relationships, EQ has a huge impact on whether or not the relationship will be a mutually beneficial one. But who wants to marry someone with the intellect of a gnat?
In a high school student’s AP physics class one would think that IQ would be more important. But research overwhelmingly proves the opposite to be true. You probably already know, that test anxiety is the cause of many poor performances on exam day.
Students with the ability to manage the emotions that accompany the extreme pressure and stressfulness of a final exam fare far better than students with equal or slightly better IQ’s who lack the ability to govern test-time emotions.
The key phrase here is “with equal or slightly better IQ’s”. A student with a significantly lower IQ might not even make it into AP physics.
Whether they are aware of it or not, for the vast majority of people the level of their emotional mastery will have an equal or even greater impact than IQ on their level of achievement and sense of fulfillment in life. However…
This does not diminish the importance of IQ in any shape, form, or fashion; it simply augments the importance of emotional intelligence and all of the other soft skills.
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