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What’s Your Emotional Intelligence? What EQ Is, How It Differs From IQ, and Why It Matters

When it comes to life success, what’s more important: book smarts or street smarts? Cognitive intelligence (IQ) versus emotional intelligence (EQ) is a topic debated by many.

Some believe the most successful people are the brainiacs of the world, while others say the emotionally savvy have the upper hand.

When we were young, our parents instilled in us the importance of doing well in school and getting good grades. Excelling in academics means more career opportunities which means more money. And while money can’t buy happiness, it certainly makes your life easier.

However, there are many things you can’t learn from a textbook such as how to make friends, how to fall in love and heal a broken heart, and how to cope with disappointment and failure. All of these play a vital role in our long-term success and happiness.

You didn’t learn this in school: Wondering How to Heal a Broken Heart? Try These 6 Yoga Practices

The Difference Between Cognitive Intelligence (IQ) and Emotional Intelligence (EQ)

IQ, also known as intelligence quotient, is a score that comes from a standardized intelligence test. IQ measures visual and spatial processing, working memory, short-term memory, and quantitative reasoning.

EQ, also known as emotional quotient, measures an individual’s ability to evaluate and express emotions. This includes a person’s own emotions and the emotions of others.

In short, IQ measures how people learn and process information whereas EQ measures how people apply emotional knowledge.

Why Emotional Intelligence Is Important

Picture it: You’re interviewing Albert Einstein and Jim Carrey for a job opening. Let’s assume it’s for a position they could both do relatively well.

Albert has the brains, but Jim has the charisma. Who would you rather work with every day? The guy who is so smart you probably couldn’t have a normal conversation with, or the guy who is enthusiastic and brings an incredible energy to the office?

Let’s face it: We’d all rather work with someone we can socialize with. While being smart is important, having strong social skills is invaluable.

And as it turns out, many employers are now using an EQ test while hiring.

In fact, psychologists agree that IQ accounts for roughly 10% (at most 25%) of personal and professional success. The rest depends on other factors, including EQ.


These Are the 5 Categories of Emotional Intelligence:

Here are the five categories of emotional intelligence along with questions to ask yourself to see if you can identify with any on this list:

1. Self-Awareness

Are you in touch with your own feelings? Can you recognize the emotions you’re experiencing and how they affect you?

Self-awareness is having the ability to understand your own emotional strengths and weaknesses, what motivates you, and how your emotions impact your decision-making and behavior.

In order to unlock your potential, you must have confidence and competence. In other words, you know who you are and the unique value you provide.

2. Self-Regulation

Do you have self-control? Can you manage your impulses?

Self-regulation requires discipline. This factor of emotional intelligence means learning how to control your negative emotions, adapt to change, and stay focused on your goals.

When you maintain a calm and positive state of mind, you can express yourself with greater clarity and accurately interpret the emotions of others.

3. Motivation

Do you have clear goals for what you want to achieve? Are you committed to taking the steps to achieve those goals?

Emotionally intelligent people are motivated by things more than just money and fame. They follow their passion and purpose to feel fulfilled on a deeper level.

4. Empathy

Are you good at reading people? Do you consider yourself intuitive and sensitive to the emotional needs of others?

When you sense that someone is upset, you respond with greater care and concern. When someone is feeling hopeless, you offer positive encouragement to lift their spirits. You’re aware of someone’s emotional needs and react accordingly.


5. Social Skills

Do you make friends easily? Are you a skilled communicator and negotiator? Would you consider yourself a “people person?”

True emotional intelligence goes beyond understanding your own emotions. You must be able to apply that emotional knowledge in your day-to-day interactions and learn how to connect with others on a social level.

How High Is Your EQ?

If you’re looking to sharpen your skills, the good news is emotional intelligence can be improved with practice.

To find out where you fall on the EQ spectrum, take this emotional intelligence test.

The bottom line: Life is a lot more enjoyable when you focus on what matters and make your emotional intelligence a priority. As Theodore Roosevelt once said, “No one cares how much you know, until they know how much you care.”

Deepen your emotional intelligence through the 5 Life-Changing Benefits of Meditation

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Kaitlin Vogel

Kaitlin has worked as a professional writer and editor in New York City for over seven years. Beyond her professional experience in journalism and psychology, it is her keen interest in personal development that has driven every one of her career decisions thus far. She's committed to creating content that matters.

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