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IQ: Why It's Only Part of The Story

An IQ test is an estimated measurement of our ability to reason, using logic and deductive skills to solve problems and answer questions and figure out pattern sequences. IQ has historically been used as a determination for appropriate academic placement and to evaluate job applicants. In World War I it was used to screen for aptitude for officer training.

Ironically, Binet, a French psychologist, who developed the first IQ test in 1905 actually thought that IQ tests were inadequate measures for overall intelligence. He pointed out that the test was unable to properly measure creativity or emotional intelligence. This concept was propelled into the limelight by Daniel Golemen in his 1995 book called Emotional Intelligence.

Goleman proposes that it is important to hold a wider view of intelligence that takes into account what it takes to lead a life successfully. In his book, he offers a broader definition of intelligence which he categorizes into 5 domains:

1. Self-Awareness. This is the ability to recognize a feeling as it is happening. Being able to identify feelings from moment to moment is absolutely crucial to gain an understanding of ourselves. When we are unable to do this, we fall victim to the many moods that enter our air space each day.

2. Self-Regulation. Managing our emotions is the next step in emotional flexibility.

This includes the capacity to soothe oneself and to calm emotions like anxiety, anger, frustration and hopelessness. The inability to self-regulate results in a constant state of internal crisis.

3. Self-Motivation. Self-motivation is the ability to pursue goals and aspirations despite obstacles that appear along the way. This also involves managing impulsivity and delaying gratification when it is called for. It implies the ability to be persistent and determined to pursue short and long term goals.

4. Empathy. Empathy is a fundamental "people skill" which is dependent upon being able to recognize the emotions in others and to be able to see life from their perspective. Empathy is the basis of altruism. Empathy is essential in the ability to function effectively in day to day situations involving other people.

5. Nurturing Relationships. The ability to deal with emotions in other people is the basis for interpersonal effectiveness. The capacity for nurturing relationships with others is based on the ability to recognize and regulate your own emotions (#'s 1 & 2). In order to nurture relationships with others, you need to sincerely demonstrate an emotional interest and compassion for them.

There is no test that can accurately measure our level of emotional intelligence. The good news is, that based on the principles of neuroplasticity we can teach our brains to develop and grow new neural pathways on a continual basis. By developing a growth mindset, we can all achieve a greater level of emotional intelligence and lead more successful, fulfilled lives.


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