For decades, a lot of emphasis has been put on certain aspects of intelligence
such as logical reasoning, math skills, spatial skills, understanding analogies
and verbal skills. Yet, researchers were puzzled by the fact that while
Intelligence Quotient (IQ) could predict academic and professional success to a
significant degree, there was something missing in the equation. Some of those
with fabulous IQ scores were doing poorly in life. They could not explain why
some people just have the gift for living well; why the smartest kid in the
class may probably not end up being the most successful; why some people are
able to remain calm in the midst of calamity while some others buckle under the
One of the major missing parts in the success equation is emotional
intelligence. This is a concept made popular by Daniel Goleman, based on years
of research by numerous scientists such as Peter Salovey, John Meyer, Howard
Gardner, Robert Sternberg and Jack Block. The phrase "emotional intelligence"
was coined to describe qualities like understanding one's own feelings, empathy
for the feelings of others and "the regulation of emotion in a way that improves
one's life". They redefine what it means to be smart. They have concluded that
people who manage their own feelings well and deal effectively with others are
more likely to live contented lives. Besides, happy people are more apt to
retain information and do so more effectively than dissatisfied people.
The study on emotional intelligence has great implications for our schools.
Research has shown that emotional health is fundamental to effective learning.
Basically, a student who learns to learn is much more likely to succeed. Instead
of intervention projects, declarations of war on drug abuse, vandalism, violence
and teen pregnancy, we should design an emotional literacy program to help
children learn to manage anger, frustration and loneliness. Students who are
depressed or angry literally cannot learn. Children who have trouble being
accepted by their classmates are two to eight times as likely to drop out.
On a personal level, emotional intelligence involves motivation and being
able to focus on a goal rather than demanding instant gratification. A person
with a high emotional intelligence is better at handling relationships of every
kind. This is because they are capable of understanding the feelings of others.
Highly intelligent people may lack the social skills that are associated with
high emotional intelligence. Just because someone is deemed "intellectually"
intelligent, it does not necessarily follow that they are emotionally
intelligent. Having a good memory or good problem solving abilities does not
mean you are
capable of dealing with emotions or motivating yourself. Thus, children need to
be taught about emotional intelligence.
Emotional intelligence programs have also been used in leadership training in
the corporate world. The idea that one should succeed in both life and work
became highly credible and organizations have recognized the reason why their
best leaders and managers need to develop their emotional intelligence.
In conclusion, we now know that there is much more than the traditional
qualities of intelligence that lead to success. Scientists have proven that
emotional intelligence is just as important. Schools should be encouraged to
teach students the skills necessary for emotional intelligence. And in
corporations, the inclusion of emotional intelligence in training programs has
helped employees co-operate better and be more motivated, thereby increasing
productivity and profits.