Without raising your hand, if I were to ask you if you are familiar with the term IQ, the answer would probably be yes. And if I were to ask you to define IQ, it would probably be something like: “IQ is a numerical score derived from a test designed to assess intelligence.” Or put simply, it could be summed up: “IQ is a number that determines how smart someone is.” Even if we’ve never taken an IQ test and have no idea what our actual IQ score is, we’ve been conditioned throughout life to understand that being born with a high IQ is a bit of luck. It is widely recognized as a desirable door-opening attribute associated with paving the way to success. Right or wrong, IQ has long been thought of as a kind of measuring stick of someone’s potential to rise through the ranks of life, including professional careers.
This traditional line of thinking is being challenged as more attention is being paid to the importance of Emotional Intelligence, commonly known as EQ. A crucial distinction between EQ and IQ is that EQ is a score that can be increased over time, while IQ is considered a fixed point throughout our lives.
I spend a fair amount of time talking about EQ to both individuals and groups. In this six part Bar Talk series, I will share some of the main components and approaches that you can easily incorporate into your life to elevate your personal and professional results along with your relationships with others. One of the reasons EQ is such a critical topic to learn more about is that it plays a central role in our lives every day, both in managing our thoughts and mindsets and in our interactions with everyone in our lives. To underscore their level of importance, Dr. Daniel Goleman, who is widely considered the pioneering voice and researcher of EQ, considers these skill sets to be the defining factors in determining our level of health, wealth, and happiness in life.
Whether or not you’ve heard the term “emotional intelligence,” you see it (or the lack of it) continually, even if you haven’t consciously recognized it as EQ. For example, maybe you work with someone incredibly bright and knowledgeable in your industry. They are also a nightmare to deal with being argumentative, condescending, and hypercritical. In general terms, they could be described as having a toxic personality. At the other end of the spectrum is a coworker who has a magnetic personality, seems to be known and loved by everyone, and has every door and opportunity open to them. They can dissipate stress, communicate effectively with any audience, collaborate, and move through the world with ease and a smile. Maybe you know someone like that and have thought at some point, “they are very lucky!” It’s not luck if it’s repeatable, and that person is likely to have a high level of EQ and strive to stay sharp in all areas that shine. In other words: “do what others won’t do, get results that others won’t”.
Before we delve into the various areas of EQ, let’s first pause to consider how our fantastic human brain is wired. All of our senses (sight, hearing, smell, taste, and touch) enter our body as signals that travel through our spinal cord to our brain. Once the signals reach our brain, the first stop is our limbic system, where our emotions are created. After that, those signals travel to our neocortex, where the rational part of our brain is, and logic prevails. Here’s the problem: Before all of these input messages coming into our body have a chance to reach the rational part of our brain, we’re already having an emotional reaction to them. This default brain setup served our ancient ancestors well when they faced deadly danger foraging for food and fending off predators, which required making instant fight-or-flight decisions, but these days it’s in our best interest to think ahead. to react. Our brains haven’t changed with the times, so it’s up to us to develop the practice of acknowledging the fact that emotional responses are always happening, but without being hijacked by them. Think of it this way: On life’s great road trip, our emotions are always present. We choose whether to let them drive or keep them in the passenger seat.
EQ can be broken down into four distinct areas: self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, and relationship management. In next week’s edition of Part 2, I’ll provide an overview of the first personal competency: Self-Awareness. In each of the sections, we’ll cover some simple techniques that can be put into practice right away if you start to develop the habit. Like many other self-development concepts, these are easy to do and also easy not to do, but I am confident that the result you will begin to see early on will motivate you to want to continue developing these powerful skill sets.
eric bartosz is the founder of BAR40 and the author of the internationally acclaimed and best-selling book ‘BAR40: Achieving Personal Excellence’. He lives in Center Valley with his wife Trish, daughter Riley and their pug Piper, is an MBA Adjunct Professor at DeSales University and serves the community as an Upper Saucon Firefighter, Board Member of Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Lehigh Valley and a local breed. organizer. Eric is a runner and runner for over 20 years and can often be found logging miles on the Saucon Rail Trail.