In 1996, Daniel Goleman wrote his hit book, Emotional Intelligence: Why It Can Matter More Than IQ. Mr. Goleman is a journalist, and not a scientist, but nevertheless he made a break-through in the way in which humans understand ourselves by giving context to the new ways scientists were learning about our psychology. Here’s the book in a nutshell and how it relates to productivity.
The premise of the book is quite simple: raw intelligence (IQ) tests score a human metric that doesn’t correspond directly with success in life, and that emotional intelligence (or, EQ) is a psychosocial skill that should be taught so that humans are more productive members of society.
Goleman heavily relies on studies to support his theory, and I think he does so quite successfully. The study that stood out for me the most when I read it fifteen years ago now, was a study that appears deep in the book in Part III, Chapter 10, “Managing with Heart.” In this chapter, the author describes how researchers basically test high IQ people using emotional intelligence tests. They found that the high IQ individuals that were mostly average and below average on the EQ tests were also those that started many projects or tasks at a time and didn’t complete them. Those that shined on the EQ tests were the ones that took pride in completing their projects or tasks. We know anecdotally that successful people in life are usually those that get things done not just get things going.
I think this makes a real statement for all of us living in the Digital Age. Focus on finishing what you set out to accomplish and don’t get distracted and fragmented in your goals. You’ll not only have greater emotional intelligence but you’ll also see more success in your productive life.