Updated: Jul 24, 2021
Most people know what an IQ is, but just to make sure we are all on the same page, IQ (which stands for the intelligence quotient) is a formal measurement of crystallized and fluid intelligence. Basically, that means it’s a test to measure how much we know, how much we are capable of knowing, our reasoning abilities, and how well we solve problems. The score is calculated after you take several tests (usually administered by a psychologist) and then by comparing your score on these tests with a standardized group to determine where you fall in a range. It is supposed to be able to identify exceptionally high intelligence, and even capture potential learning disabilities.
Now, while there are some really cool things about knowing how smart you are, I could go on forever (and many psychologists have) about the many issues and inherent problems in this method of quantifying intelligence. For example, who exactly is in this standardized group we are all compared to? I bet I know who is not in that group smh! What knowledge is it exactly that we are all supposed to know and how were we all supposed to come to know this information? Basically, the test relies on the premise of universals and the human experience is simply not universal.
Psychologists of color have often thought IQ was too rigid in determining intelligence and often failed to fully explain cognitive ability. But are these tests the only measure of intelligence? Nope! Insert EQ or the emotional quotient. It’s not a replacement/swap for IQ, but it's a really really critical component of smartness.
The emotional quotient (EQ) was first introduced in 1964 but gained popularity from the 1995 best seller written by Daniel Goleman, Emotional Intelligence- Why it can matter more than IQ. EQ refers to our ability to use our emotions, identify our emotions, and discern what our emotions are communicating. Whaaaattt??? Yes, we can measure how good you are with the touchy feely stuff.
EQ is extremely important and research tells us that high emotional intelligence is an important influencing factor in our success. Basically, higher EQ is predictive of how well we are able to navigate challenges and achieve our goals (raise your hand if you got challenges?). People with high EQ develop effective communication skills and assertion of boundaries. They grow strong leadership skills, have keen awareness of others boundaries, express empathy, are effective at problem solving, have strong self-management skills, and strong intrapersonal skills, like the ability to self-regulate and manage stress (raise your hand if you got stress?).
Raising your EQ (yes, you can raise your EQ if it's low) is also linked to your ability to improve your physical health, mental health, and your academic and career achievement. So, while many people are out here trying to prove they are a genius by raising their IQ score, if you really want to live a good life, I’d actually encourage you to work on your EQ. You can grow your EQ by going to therapy to learn to better manage difficult emotions and relationships, reading self-help books, journaling your thoughts, practicing naming and talking about your feelings, and learning conflict mediation skills instead of avoiding hard things.