The word EQ is frequently thrown around. When couples fight, they may accuse one another of having a low EQ; if a person reacts too quickly in a work environment their EQ is put under question. The truth is that we all react in life from time to time. Even those with a very high EQ have been known to make a snappy remark or a comment that has been reactive as oppose to responsive.
But what exactly is EQ?
EQ stands for emotional quotient and is borrowed from the term intelligence quotient. It is also referred to as emotional intelligence.
A simple definition might be: Knowing what feels good, what feels bad, and how to get from bad to good.
So why is it being said that EQ is more important than IQ? First let us expound on the ‘Qs’… in addition to EQ and IQ there is also MQ (moral intelligence) and BQ (body intelligence). These concepts are hard to measure; their importance, however, is far greater than IQ.
Why is this?
Moral intelligence is the ability to understand right from wrong; it means to have strong ethical convictions and to act and behave in an honourable way. Body intelligence is defined as the awareness and use of bodily sensations in order to support overall health and well-being, lessen symptoms of stress and signal information about safety and comfort.
According to Forbes, research carried out by the Carnegie Institute of Technology shows that 85% of your (financial) success is due to skills in ‘human engineering’, your personality and ability to communicate, negotiate and lead. Only 15% is due to technical knowledge.
This statistic is alarming proof that success in the work place, as well is in life, is largely reliant on increasing our EQ, MQ and BQ levels.
So why are our emotions important?
Because our emotions are the way in which our bodies talk to us and tell us what they need to be healthy and happy. If we don’t listen to our emotions and our bodies, we risk negatively affecting our health and well being.
People with healthy emotional skills, or "high EQ" are happier, healthier, and more successful in their relationships.
Such people show a balance between emotion and reason, an awareness of their own feelings, empathy and compassion for others as well as signs of high self esteem.
We are not all created emotionally equal and have widely differing temperaments but we can significantly change the way we express and utilise our emotions. Raising our EQ levels often goes hand in hand with learning how to deal appropriately with conflict. Most people have two responses to conflict – fight or flight. If fight is our instinctive response, we may take an aggressive approach which does not consider the needs of others and is not good for our physical being. Flight approaches too are not the best response from an EQ and BQ perspective. We may run from a conflict but, in not being assertive, we may then internalise our thoughts, feelings and opinions and this can have an adverse effect on our physical well being.
We need to learn to communicate assertively. This involves identifying and expressing one’s feelings; taking responsibility for feelings by saying, “I feel” instead of “you shouldn’t have”. A high EQ suggests you address fears using reason, rather than avoiding them and high EQ people empathise with the feelings of others, acknowledge them and help to soothe them.
Many of us grew up being put into IQ boxes. While a high IQ is by no means something to be ignored, it is becoming increasingly clear that the ability to feel, use, communicate, recognize, remember, describe, identify, learn from, manage, understand and explain emotions is what determines success.
Mini EQ test.
These questions help you judge your own level of EQ:
- When you're feeling depressed and a friend asks how you are feeling, are you more likely to answer:
Fine. I don't know. All right I guess. You don't want to know.
I feel depressed.
- When your partner does something which upsets you, are you more likely to say:
You shouldn't have... You really hurt my feelings.
I felt hurt by that.
- When someone points out a mistake, are you more likely to:
Defend yourself. Find something wrong with the other person or their logic.
Thank the person.
- When facing a scary situation are you more likely to:
Worry about it. Try to avoid thinking about it. Hope that it will go away.
Estimate the probability of your fears coming true and focusing on your options.
- When someone reacts strongly to something you say, are you more likely to:
Think they are too sensitive. Tell them you were just kidding.
Apologise and ask them what bothered them about what you said.
Generally speaking, the more you tend towards the answers in the second set of responses, the higher your EQ is likely to be and the higher your EQ, the more chance you have of achieving you goals and being truly successful.