I recently heard of a private primary school nearby that only enrolls children who, at 5 years of age or younger, score high IQ tests.
It is hard to pin point all the reasons why selecting pre-schoolers based on IQ is not in line with our times. IQ is one way of measuring one type of intelligence, there are many ways of doing it, and there are many types of intelligence, by now we should know how equally important they all are.
As adults, how often we come across situations, people, environments that less than excite us and exhaust us, draining our energy?
“Most personal development theories are about “changing your thinking”, a concept that can sometimes work. But this in short means getting stuck in swapping a thought with another. Or the content instead of the process.
In short, if someone is upsetting you, you can change your thinking, create different stories and reframe as much as you like, but that person still has the power to annoy you beyond words.
You don`t change the tide by standing in the sea. You change the tide by going to the Moon. Understanding the nature of thought - how thought works – shifts your moon and gets you a much more interesting result. This has the power to generate a spontaneous shift of consciousness that allows you to see life from a more objective vantage point.
The view from “up there” is more panoramic than the one “down there”, so there is less need for “positive thinking”. Everything we experience is just a thought.
In the Nicomachean Ethics, Aristotele postulated that, in order to achieve what he called “the good life”, it was necessary to manage our emotional life with intelligence. That translated today means the concept of emotional intelligence was clear to the elite 300 years before Jesus was born.
The definition of emotional intelligence has morphed into a mishmash of ideas. The best starting point goes back to the thorny question “How clever are you?”
Tracking back, it was Howard Gardener’s Frames of Mind: The Theory of Multiple Intelligences (Basic Books, 1983) that gave an influential nudge of the first domino that began to topple the meme that IQ was the be-all and end-off of intelligence.
Is a successful manager of a building company who can fix anything under the sun less clever than a Ph.D.?
Who is smarter? Gardener’s neat answer is: both.
He asserts that there are at least seven intelligences, only two of which - verbal and mathematical – are academic. Into the mix he tossed spatial (as used by artists or architects), kinesthetic (found in sports people), musical (found in Mozart) and a couple of “personal intelligences” – interpersonal and intrapersonal.
It is the combination of these so-called “multiple intelligences” that makes up our all-round “cleverness”.
Studies show continuously and consistently how important these last two “personal intelligences” are for our life, for business and for society at large.
How many leaders have you ever met and how many ineffective or terrible "bosses"? Leaders do not act from a position of authority or a title, they lead by influence, inspiration and a personal example.
“Interpersonal intelligence is the ability to understand other people: what motivates them, how they work, how to work cooperatively with them.” Or, stated differently “Capacities to discern and respond appropriately to the moods, temperaments, motivations and desires of other people”.
Intrapersonal intelligence is subtly but importantly different, defined as “…a correlative ability, turned inward. It is a capacity to form an accurate model of oneself and be able to use that model to operate effectively in life.” Or, with a slightly different spin, “access to one`s own feelings and the ability to discriminate among them and draw upon them to guide behaviour”.
This is how we instinctively know when someone is attuned to us. But there is a lot more.
The award-winning, eminent guru Dr. Daniel Goleman, proposed five domains of what he terms EQ (emotional quotient):
1 – Knowing your emotions
2 – Managing your own emotions
3 – Motivating yourself
4 – Recognizing and understanding other people’s emotions
5 – Managing relationships
The first three relate to personal competence, the remaining two to social competence, social awareness and social skills.
And of course, they are closely linked to the definition of “happiness”. It may be brittle, but happiness is a very big deal. In more than a global survey it easily topped the list of what you want for your children and grandchildren.
There is a plethora of evidence suggesting that happiness can influence health in positive ways. People who feel positive in their lives “grow psychologically” as well as becoming more optimistic, resilient, open, accepting, and purposeful. In addition, real happiness builds social connections and is energizing and contagious.
In Okinawa, Japan, they have a lovely word, ikagai, which is defined as the reason you get up in the morning. Your ikagai is your purpose, and once fulled, drives your internal engine. Chances are that all the great people are just ordinary people with a strong ikagai."*
I wonder if they all attended IQ-based schools.
* Extracts from “Emotional Intelligence”, by Andy Cope and Amy Bradley