IQ or EQ?

Smart is the new sexy. This is evident in a lot of our popular culture heroes, such as lady charmer Ironman.

As many of you may know, IQ (intelligence quotient) is a tool used to measure human intelligence with a score of 100 being “average”. Like all tests, it is not 100 per cent fool-proof. For example, if I were to wake up and take the test there is no doubt that ’Morning Me’ will be less intelligent than ‘Afternoon Me’ (I am not a morning person). Does that mean I became wiser in the span of a few hours? Pssht! I wish! That would be helpful before exams though.

So what about our emotional wellbeing or EQ (emotional quotient)? How many of us actually appreciate or even know about it? EQ is a measure of our ability to identify and manage our emotions, as well as how the emotions of others affects someone. Like IQ, there are several components that contribute to EQ. In Daniel Colman’s book, Emotional Intelligence, he identified five main elements to EQ including:

  1. Self awareness – Understand and do not allow emotions to rule over the self.
  2. Self regulation – Control emotions and impulses.
  3. Motivation – Defer immediate pleasures for long-term success.
  4. Empathy – Understand the wants, needs, and viewpoints of others.
  5. Social skills – Ability to interact with people.

In recent years, EQ has been receiving more attention.  

From a student’s perspective, I see the importance of emotional intelligence everywhere. For example, I see EQ playing a role in managing stress during exam time, dealing with group members during a team project, and even trying to maintain your cool with occasionally trying housemates.

So let’s cut to the chase - how can we develop our own EQ?

Well, the answer is similar to muscle training; the more you practice, the easier it gets. Of course, everyone experiences things differently, but from my own experience, here are some helpful tips:

  1. Speak less – just by observing how people react and hearing what others have to say, I’ve learnt a lot more than trying to take the spotlight in conversations.
  2. Find your own weakness – as clichéd as it sounds, it is how we manage and handle our weaknesses that define our strength. After all, it is from the basis of our mistakes that we build the platform on which we can improve.
  3. Take responsibility for your actions – the three hardest things to say? “I’m sorry”, “I was wrong”, and “No thanks, one bowl of cereal was enough”.

To sum things up, one can say EQ is the equivalent of being ‘street smart’ whilst IQ is more like being ‘book smart’. In this day and age, where the internet is filled with information only a click away, I most definitely think we need to invest more time in developing our EQ.

About the author…

I’m Michelle, an international student from Hong Kong currently in my third year of a MBBS degree. I enjoy backpacking, reading manga, going to the gym, and I am currently learning to play the keyboard. I live by the motto “Embrace failure”.

Last updated:
25 August 2016