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Which do you think is a more accurate predictor of life success: A person's emotional intelligence or a person's IQ? If you're like most of us, you'd probably guess that IQ—a person's mental intelligence—is more important. However, you'd be surprised to learn that a person's emotional intelligence is actually more closely tied to life success. Why? While IQ determines a person's memory, reasoning ability and fluency with language and math, emotional intelligence is linked with a person's moods, attitudes, empathy, and motivation. And these are powerful forces that can result in an individual's success in business or social settings.

The Elements of IQ
IQ measures a person's intellectual ability and generally remains steady throughout a person's life. Interestingly, it contributes to only about 20 percent of the factors that determine a person's life success. Traits exhibited by a person with a high IQ include a wide intellectual capacity and range of interests, confidence and fluency in expressing thoughts and opinions, a tendency to be anxious and to worry, and a critical nature. IQ is linked with the following mental abilities:

* verbal comprehension, which is the ability to understand and define words
* word fluency, which is the ability to think of words rapidly
* number facility, or the ability to do mathematical problems
* spatial ability, the ability to visualize objects and draw them from memory
* memory, which is the ability to memorize and recall information
* perception, the ability to notice details and detect similarities and differences
* reasoning, the ability to follow general rules

The Elements of Emotional Intelligence
Emotional intelligence is comprised of a broad range of abilities, including awareness of one's own emotions, the ability to regulate moods, the recognition of emotions in others, the ability to motivate oneself in the face of frustration, the ability to control impulses and delay gratification, and the ability to empathize. Emotional intelligence contributes to about 80 percent of the factors that predict life success.

Individuals with high emotional intelligence are poised, outgoing, and cheerful. They have empathy for others, express their feelings directly but appropriately, and have a capacity for developing relationships. Therefore, emotional intelligence is a more accurate predictor of life success than IQ is. Fortunately, emotional intelligence is a skill that can be developed more readily than pure intellectual abilities. To be more successful in your job and in your personal life, strive to be aware of your emotional intelligence and to improve the emotional aspects of your life.

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