Issue No. 20
Emotional Quotient and Character Development
Table of Contents
- Why Important
- Time Magazine Article
- Significance of the Findings
- Relevance to Parenting and Education
I. Why Important
Recent research have shown that what is called Emotional Quotient (EQ)
may be more important than IQ or Intelligence Quotient. EQ may be more
properly called Character Quotient since it is really a measurement of
qualities that we often refer to as character. People who have a high
EQ seem to fare better in life, are better adjusted, and are more
successful in their careers.
II. Time Magazine Article
A recent major article in Time Magazine focuses on the renewed interest
of psychologists on the importance of EQ. It defines it as: "Qualities
like understanding one's own feelings, empathy for the feelings of others,
and 'the regulation of emotion in a way that enhances living.' " Note that
this definition has three components:
"When it comes to predicting a person's success, brainpower as
measured by IQ and standardized achievement tests may actually matter
less than the qualities of mind once thought of as 'character.' " (Dr.
Daniel Goleman in Emotional Intelligence) Here are some examples in the
article on the importance of emotional maturity:
- Understanding one's feelings;
- Understanding others' feelings;
- Effectively handling one's own feelings.
- Postponement of pleasure or gratification. Children who are able
to exercise self-control and postpone gratification in favor of a later
advantage are found to be more well-adjusted when they grow up, perform
better in school, and do better in life.
- Self-awareness. This is regarded as the most crucial ability
because self-awareness allows a person to exercise self-control, or the
exercise of the will. "Anyone can be angry -- that is easy. But to be
angry with the right person, at the right time, for the right purpose,
and in the right way -- that is not easy. (Aristotle)
- Managing anxiety. Anxiety is natural, for it prepares us for
action. But inability to handle anxiety causes worse problems. "The
danger comes when worrying blocks thinking, becoming an end in itself
or a path to resignation instead of perseverance. Overworrying about
failing increase the likelihood of failure."
- Optimism. Optimism is a positive and constructive attitude that
tends to minimize the adverse aspects of a situation. Psychologist Martin
Seligman studied 15,000 new employees of Metropolitan Life Insurance who
had taken two tests: one is the regular screening exam of the company
and the other is Seligman's test on optimism. He found that those who
scored high in optimism are those who perform the best, even if they
flunked the standard exam.
- People Skills. People who score high in nonverbal sensitivity
tests (measured for example by PONS or Profile of Nonverbal
Sensitivity) tend to be more successful in their work and
relationships. Children who score well are more popular and successful
in school, even when their IQs are quite average. Empathy is one of
the important examples of such nonverbal sensitivity. "In the corporate
world, according to personnel executives, IQ gets you hired, but EQ
gets you promoted." (Time magazine)
III. Significance of the Findings
A high EQ means that a person has better emotional self-control, which is
an important ingredient in:
- Personal Self-Mastery: better able to overcome negative states
such as depression, discouragement, moodiness, jealousy, resentment,
etc., which are often causes of personal unhappiness. A high EQ person
tends to be happier as an individual.
- Better Interpersonal Relationships: more effective in dealing
with people, thus have less difficulties in relationships, and becomes
more successful in career or work as well as home life.
- Better Prepared for Spiritual Life: the quest for the innermost
levels of our own being is hardly possible when the emotions are
unregulated or uncontrolled. Spirituality means that one's higher
nature is dominant over one's lower nature, such as habits and feelings.
This is the reason why all spiritual disciplines require emotional
maturity as a prerequisite.
IV. Relevance to Parenting and Education
Our new insights on the importance of emotional maturity for the true success
of an individual stress the relevance of emotional education both in schools
and the home. It means that:
- Schools should give emphasis to emotional
education and not only to mental education. Teacher training must include
these aspects, particularly the practical importance of character development.
Some schools have experimented with such programs and met with success.
New York City's Public School 75 "adopted an emotional literacy program,
designed to help children learn to manage anger, frustration, loneliness.
Since then, fights at lunchtime have decreased from two or three a day to
almost none." (Time)
- Parents must be sensitive to the emotional and character
development of the child, for the home is the first place where such
qualities are formed. They must be made aware of causes and effects in their
example and in their treatment of children.
Copyright 1995. Permission to reprint is granted provided acknowledgment is made to:
Theosophical Society in the Philippines, 1 Iba St., Quezon City, Philippines
"If five percent of the people work for peace, there will be peace."