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EQ not IQ

Author: Marcia Sirota MD FRCP (C)

"Intellect and emotional intelligence are very different things. The former is the cognitive ability to synthesize and analyse data; to problem-solve and make associations based on available information. The latter is a set of innate and learned skills which facilitate relationships and enable a person to negotiate more easily through all areas of life.

Intellect can be measured by standardized IQ tests but there is no actual measure of the “EQ,” or Emotional Quotient. Even without a test, it’s obvious when someone has a high IQ and it’s just as obvious when someone has a high EQ. Rather than try to measure it, though, it’s more useful to look at the various elements that go into emotional intelligence.

While the IQ remains stable over a person’s lifetime, the EQ can be developed. Acquiring and practicing the following elements will enable you to boost your EQ.

The first element of emotional intelligence is empathy. The ability to understand what other people are feeling will make you more sensitive and aware and will result in more meaningful relationships.

The second element is the recognition that your actions have consequences. This understanding will enable you to make conscious choices in your life and to avoid unnecessary difficulties.

Third on the list is good judgment. The gift of making well-thought-out decisions and seeing people for who they really are will maximize the possibilities of success in all areas of your life.

Number four is personal responsibility. When you hold yourself accountable and don’t blame anyone else for your mistakes or misfortunes, you are empowered to change things for the better. Other people respect you, because you own up to your part in your relationships.

The fifth element is insight. The ability to see yourself clearly and to understand your own motivations allows for the possibility of personal growth. Insight into others allows you to have a greater impact in your relationships.

Element number six is mental flexibility. Being able to change your mind or to see things from different points of view makes it possible for you to navigate all sorts of relationships and to succeed where other, more rigid thinkers would fail.

The seventh element is compassion. Being honest with yourself can be painful but with a kind and gentle attitude, it’s much easier. This type of compassion facilitates personal transformation, while compassion toward others supports deeper, more loving connections.

The eighth element is integrity. Following through on commitments and keeping your promises creates much good-will in personal and professional relationships and promotes success in both arenas.

Ninth on the list is impulse control. Thinking before speaking or acting gives you a chance to make deliberate, even sophisticated choices about how you present yourself to others. Not acting out of primitive impulses, urges or emotions avoids social embarrassment.

The tenth element is the ability to defer gratification. It’s one thing to want something but the ability to put off having it is empowering. Mastery of your needs allows you to prioritize around life goals.

Number eleven on the list is perseverance. Sticking with something, especially when it’s challenging, allows you to see it through to completion and demonstrates to others that you are dependable and potentially a high achiever.

The twelfth and final element is courage. Emotional courage (as opposed to the physical variety) is the ability to do the right thing, see the truth, open your heart and trust yourself and others enough to be vulnerable, even if all this is frightening. This causes others hold you in high regard.

All these elements combine within you to make up your emotional intelligence. With a high EQ, even a simple person is at an advantage in life. Without it, even someone with the most brilliant intellect is at a disadvantage.

By Marcia Sirota MD FRCP (C)

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