Intersections by Indu Balakrishnan

Intelligence Quotient : working memory, visual processing, fluid and quantitative reasoning 

Emotional Quotient : relating to others, social communication, identifying emotions 

Having too much of one thing with little to none of the other can be nothing short of a disaster. If you have seen the movie ‘Bedazzled’, you’d know what I’m talking about. For those who have been living under a rock, Elliot Richards sells his soul to the devil to get seven wishes in return. And he has only one thing in mind – to win the heart of Alison, the girl of his dreams. 

The test 

His first wish to become rich and powerful failed miserably. So he figured that if he was emotionally sensitive, she’d fall in love with him. Little did he realise that he’d sob like a three-year-old whose toy was taken away every time he saw the sunset and wrote a poem about anything that moved him. Alison shocks him by preferring to be with an obnoxiously rude and indifferent man. His wish to be an intelligent know-it-all made him rather boring to most. 

So the point is that intelligence is not a single general ability. Solving the String Theory can be charming. Being empathetic and understanding is definitely endearing in his own way. There are multiple intelligences and the strengths in each category play a critical role in how the person is perceived. It is a fact  the ability to feel and express emotions is as important as being smart, if not more. 

The difference between EQ and IQ 

Thanks to the education system, IQ has always been perceived as bringing in more marks and answering questions from the textbook. Since the 1990s, the way emotional intelligence has been seen has changed from a vague concept to a popular and delightful characteristic. 

By focusing a little time on social-emotional learning, we actually can go further in academics. 

Children are now being taught the importance of both. They are groomed to solve math problems, english puzzles and answer questions that would boost their emotional intelligence. Some schools have slowly ingrained this into their syllabus. 

Avoiding failures might come from being intelligent, but understanding and accepting it comes from your emotional quotient. 

Which is more important? 

There was a point in time when the IQ of a child determined his entire future. His marks were the ultimate factor that placed him in a profession. Soon, it dawned upon people that a degree did not guarantee anything. It was just a piece of paper that showed his capability to byheart and repeat what he learned on paper. 

While IQ is still important, (don’t get me wrong); and is an essential element of success, it is not the only determinant. There are people who are simply brilliant when it comes to theories but stumble at the idea of having a heart-to-heart conversation with another soul. 

Careers and personal lives 

An IQ helps you get a job. EQ helps you keep it. As you go up the ladder, it becomes more and more critical for you to connect with other people – peers, bosses or subordinates. Your ability to work as a team depends on the EQ. Emotional abilities influence your choices as well – personal or professional. 

IQ can only take you so far. To really go the distance, traits such as perseverance, motivation, handling stress and the ability to delay gratification make a big difference not just to how people see you but how you see life itself. Handling complex relationships and being in meaningful relationships can possibly play a bigger role in your health and happiness. 

Life today

Take the COVID-19 scenario for example. We have managed to study online, work from home and adopt a home-bound economy to avoid going out. But how well are you handling playing the role of a stay-at-home-everything? Your ability to adapt to the new normal today could depend more on your EQ than IQ, don’t you feel? 


It is very important to understand that emotional intelligence is not the opposite of intelligence, it is not the triumph of heart over head – it is the unique intersection of both

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