Years of crown leadership of Intelligence Quotient (IQ) being the predictor of success in life has gradually and overwhelmingly, been outdone by the Emotional sibling! How did EI take the crown status?

Emotional Intelligence (EI)/ EQ now takes a precedence in: hiring the right candidate, choosing leaders, influencers, culture and relationship building , healing vices in individual and social behavior, creating an advanced social system and hence a learning goal for children at school! EI now links directly to Organizational /Social Effectiveness. 

Our success is within our social construct hence a deep relation between our intellectual academic abilities applied to our working environment and further in the social context. Daniel Goleman, who popularized EI, went on to emphasize EI at workplace and recently added “Social Intelligence: The new science of Human Relationships”, elaborating emotions and biology to help see intricacies of “social neuroscience” 

How Emotionally Intelligent Am I?

While EI is about how we ‘manage’ or ‘navigate’ through emotional complexities to smoothen our road to success, there comes a need to measure, to compare and to validate its implications. For people ‘count’ that ‘counts’! Since success counts, every sphere of life has taken EI seriously, making it important to understand, assess and adopt ways to improve upon these skills. 

Systematic tools have evolved to test EI, given that the skills are not easy to measure. (link to sample test). 

An interesting list of indicators mentioned by Dr.Travis Bardberry, drawn from researches, to assess ones own EI may help you ad hoc: Strong emotional vocabulary, Curiosity about people, Ability to embrace change, Knowledge of own strengths and weaknesses, Good judgment of character, Difficult to be Offended, Know how to say no, Ability to let go, Minimized expectations, Calm with toxic people, Empathetic,etc.

What if I Am Low On EI?

Lower EI may mean inability to understand ones moods and behavior, express oneself, adapt to changes in emotions, interact with people or understand others’ emotions. 

Take a simple life example, a computer science expert who is unable to handle rejection by his partner, may go ahead into depression and loss of self-esteem, only to land up in deep distress and inability to work. 

On the other hand, two and a half year old kid identified with an exceptional 160 IQ level on the SBI scale finds it difficult to mingle with kids his age and resorts to isolation. 

Unless, the right environment is provided or the person learns to adapt to his surrounding, he/ she will be ineffective in performing what he is good at, hence in being successful. Thus high IQ is not the only condition to achieve the best in life. 

It may be about being able to communicate your output, to influence others to utilize it, to let people see its value, to celebrate and also to consistently keep doing these despite many challenges life throws, including physical, mental and social constraints from time to time.

What Now?

Good news is, EI may be developed, enhanced, unlike a fixed IQ level. What are those common things to help develop EI? 50 Activities for Developing EI, by Adele B.Lynn is one master coach for workplace EI!

Emotional well-being is important for self-esteem and mutual relationships, through which we achieve success. It is essential to go slow while emotionally disturbed and use these techniques to communicate effectively. It helps you manage your emotional expressions from a negative (anger, frustration, depression) to a positive mode (sharing feedback, trusting, empathizing, and disrupting negative talking in mind). 

Mindfulness, is paying attention in a particular way on purpose, in the present moment and non-judgmentally. This allows self-introspection. It is commonly achieved through meditation. Self-awareness is always the first step. 

Reading, helps to build vocabulary that allows to better express ones feelings with more appropriate words. It also helps understand why people behave the way they do.

Music has a prominent impact on mood and emotions allowing secretion of hormones that balance the flow of expressions. Mozart-effect was known for improving verbal, spatial intelligence by listening to Mozart. Oriental theories have long known the impact of classical music, chants and vibrations playing key role in multiple intelligence development. It is being explored as a therapeutic support!

Networking, which social media and technology have filled our life with and helped close connectivity across seas, still lies in the virtual space. While emotions have been seen to develop a whole lot better through physical connect, feelings sending cascading hormones that regulate the biological immunity and amazing operations of genes. It is crucial to meet people and have frequent social interaction.

Future of EI

Now, thoughts whether EI is an inherent quotient or can be developed through training has led to inclusion of social emotional learning (SEL) in school curriculum, so that children develop through formative years instead of struggling with poor social adaptation in later life. All this because of the correlation between EI and a successful life. So it is about allowing children conducive environment to grow and nurture these skills. It is key to help them learn paying attention, communicate positively, interact without negative expressions, bond through sports and games, develop empathy, helpfulness and compassion.

Prerequisite Reading :

Peter Salvoy and John Mayer 

Emotional Intelligence (EI), is defined as the ability to 1) recognize, understand and manage our own emotions, 2) recognize, understand and influence the emotions of others. Which is awareness of role of emotions in our behavior and actions.

History of EI

First mentions of Darwin on “emotions” being attached to survival and adaptation, early in 1872, and about similarities in human and animal expressions through cycles of evolution of emotions were by far ignored. In early 1990s Peter Salvoy and John Mayer, through research created the concept of EQ as a success factor and Daniel Goleman, in 1996, brought it to popular use. Decade long researches now see it as not a driver but the ‘key life skill’. 

Beginning from a strange observation, where 70% of the time people with average IQ outperformed the highest IQ ones, there persisted a pertinent question. “How despite high IQ can some not succeed?” It was then observed that 90% of the star performers had something called “high emotional intelligence” and a strong connection appeared between successful handling of emotions for success in life! So, high IQ was not sufficient.

5 components of EI as per Goleman are: Self Awareness, Self-Regulation, Motivation, Empathy and Social skills.


Working with Emotional Intelligence, Social Intelligence – Daniel Goleman, 

Emotional Intelligence and Mindfulness –John Darwin, 2015

Reading the Mind in the Eyes – Baron- Cohen, 2001

Emotional Intelligence 2.0 – Travis Bradberry and Jean Greaves, 2006