This may sound a little Trump-like, but my IQ is pretty high.
Well, it was, many years ago, according to a Mensa quiz in the back of a newspaper. As I recall it was next to some sudokus (sudokii?), which I’m a sucker for.
Thinking about it, I’m not sure I’ve seen an IQ test around in years. Facebook is littered with quizzes of course, but they only tend to provide a (spurious) insight into what Disney/Game of Thrones/Paw Patrol character you are most like (Baloo/Daenerys/Rocky respectively, in case you were wondering).
Of course, Mensa intelligence is only one type of intelligence. It means I’m good with puzzles and logic, but not much else. Intelligence can be measured in a number of ways, but often we judge it by how extensive someone’s vocabulary is or how ‘book smart’ they are, rather than considering their common sense or spatial awareness for example (both criteria I’d score a big fat zero on).
Even then, just taking these kinds of characteristics into account isn’t enough. There’s also a variety of intelligence that is not as often discussed, but arguably more important – emotional intelligence.Emotional intelligence is your capacity for empathy, to understand and appreciate both other people’s needs and your own. In a world where boundaries and walls (metaphorical rather than Mexican) appear to be increasingly put up, and tensions bubble under (and sometimes over), no amount of logical and critical thinking can get us through our fractured modern world if are close-minded and inconsiderate.
So what can we do about it? It’s easy to feel powerless, but we can do small things in our own lives. Because small things, little and often, by enough people, make for big change. And just as doing puzzles can help boost your IQ, there are ways to flex your EQ too –
Put yourself in other’s shoes. I am not the same as anyone else alive and yet I make assumptions about others. I put expectations on them based on my own world view and precious little other information. When someone is rude, for example, it is easy to assume they’re just that type of person. And maybe they are. But maybe they’re going through something you don’t know about.
It could be something big or something small, and it could be they’re struggling to deal with it that particular day, or even just at the very minute when their path crosses yours. I wouldn’t want someone to judge me on one instance (unless by some miracle it’s an instance where I’m being awesomely cool of course)
Totally guilty of this crime. I am (more than) capable of talking incessantly. Not only is this impolite, but it means I learn less about the people around me, which is boring and makes for one-sided conversations that simply serve as a report about the louder person’s day. But if you can master listening (and really listening, not just being quiet when someone else talks) then not only will your relationships improve, but you also have a simple and effectively way of improving the mood of others. The benefits of having the space to talk cannot be underestimated.
We carry so much around, locked away in our heads, particularly us men, so the more opportunities there are to feel like someone cares, that someone is listening, the better.
Last of all – pause. Take a breath. Slow down. If you asked me what 37 x 56 was, I couldn’t give you the right answer straight away. Not for quite a while in fact. So how can you expect to give the best response to an emotional situation without waiting and considering before reacting? Taking time to think could help you side-step your prejudices and see things more clearly.
Many of the problems we see on our shores and beyond, offline and online, are borne of ignorance, misinformation and a lack of compassion. So take a moment to consider both sides of an issue and the feelings of those involved.
If everyone worked on nurturing their emotional intelligence, we’d all be better off. Being a bit more aware and forgiving of both yourself and others is not always easy, but we are all capable of it, given some thought and effort.
You may not realise it, but your friendly nod, smile or two minutes spent listening to someone, could be enough to just nudge their mood in the right direction.