Q. Someone commented recently that I need to raise my EQ. Give me a break! What is this new jargon anyway?

A. Yes, there is some relatively new jargon, as you call it. No doubt you are familiar with IQ, short for Intelligence Quotient. EQ on the other hand is short for Emotional Intelligence Quotient, sometimes also seen written as EI. When Goleman’s book on this topic was released in the mid ’90s, many people had never even heard of the term Emotional Intelligence, much less had any idea of what it really meant. Most would never have heard of a metaphorical EQ Continuum, either, on individuals could be plotted in terms of their level of EQ and the behaviors they consistently exhibited—aligned with high, moderate, or low levels of EQ.

Having said that, the behaviors related to EQ undoubtedly have been exhibited since human beings showed up on this planet. Even when you read accounts of historical figures, it is possible to get some sense of where on the metaphorical EQ Continuum they might fall based on their reported choices and behaviors. In this 21st Century, EQ terminology, characteristics, studies related to its importance, and assessments to assist individuals in evaluating their own level of EQ are coming into their own. A person’s level of EQ reportedly accounts for at least 80% of his/her overall success in life (compared to the 20% contribution of the person’s IQ).

Are you able to identify the situation or describe the behaviors you exhibited that triggered the “you need to raise your level of EQ” comment? There are resources available if you are interested in learning more about EQ in general and yours in particular. For example, there is Daniel Goleman’s book on EQ, and another one by Dr. Singh of India, and Taylor has a DVD entitled The Power of Emotional Intelligence.