IQ, EQ, Or What?

I remember there was a time about 10 years ago that EQ was introduced to the society at a popular level and many people talked about it. I remember EQ stands for Emotional Quantity in comparison with IQ, Intellectual Quantity. Before then, IQ was regarded very highly alone and thought a high IQ means a bigger probability of success in life. In this atmosphere, I remember I used to be nervous for the results of the IQ tests done at schools. As more than 30 years has passed since I took the first test and got its result and lived with my IQ, according to my life experience I can safely conclude that EQ is at least as important as IQ is. I cannot define EQ exactly, but what I am meaning by EQ in this statement is something of a person which is beyond intellect and intelligence. Thus, now I believe the greater a person is, the greater EQ is in him or herself.

When I was a middle schooler, I had two very smart classmates whose performance was top level of the school. Both were very intelligent. One’s IQ was 155 and the other’s, 150. That range of IQ was over 97 present of all population in Korea in my generation. Very interestingly, their characters were very different. The one’s apparent character showed that he was cold (I mean, not warm hearted as the other), strict, practical, and rational. On the other hand, the other’s showed that he was warm-hearted, kind, gentle, humble, emotional, and spiritual. The one was the top in academic performance from the beginning of the school. Everybody in the school paid attention to him for his intelligence. The other was a little bit slower than the one. He was staying in the shadow right under the one for a while—the first year.

What is very interesting to remember is that, the one seemed, even if he was better than the other, nervous about the other. I thought he was always conscious of the other and his way of study and everything as if he was in a constant competition with the other. He seemed to be a good friend with the other; but he seemed managing the relational distance to the other. On the contrary, the other was innocent and pure in everything to the one. He acknowledged the superiority of the one in academic performance and he did not challenge the one except doing his best as a student. He did not have any competitive mind to the one; he genuinely appreciated the ‘friendship’ of the one.

As the second year began, the one looked getting slower and more nervous about the other. One day as the first midterm was coming near, the one asked the other to go to a movie, which was not welcomed by the school policy then. As it was expected, they were detected by a teacher who was living in the area and was warned sternly by the school director. As the midterm was coming closer, the one invited the other to various things that were not related with school work. The other was just thinking that the one was trying to have fun with him as many other average students did. Meanwhile, the midterm was over and the result was a bit surprising even if it was expected by some who knew the two. They were reversed in order of academic performance. The other got on the first rank and the one got lowered by a couple of ranks. Several years later, the one failed to get into a second rank college in Korea, while the other got into the best college.

One day, when they met each other after about 10 years since their college graduation, the one confessed why he had been doing such weird things to the other in the second year at the middle school. In his late elementary years, the one took tutoring to preview the important subjects of the middle school. However, soon private tutoring was forbidden for it was becoming too much in the society. So, the one could get tutoring only what would appear until the first year of the middle school. For what he had previewed in advance, he could make almost perfect scores on the tests in the middle school. Probably his tutors might be the teachers of the school. This is one of the reasons that the government forbade private tutoring—some teachers’ corruption. Thus, he knew exactly, what his academic performance would be from the second year for which he had not previewed. This is why he tried to distract the other not to get behind him in academic performance.

The one, if he had been more honest, earnest, and authentic, he might have been better than the other because he has better IQ. However, he was not so and, lacking in confidence, not only he became mean to the other but also he got worse in academic performance. That personal trend was not changed as far as he graduated from a college. After his graduation, he went to the United States to study and he could have made up his lowered academic achievement.

This true story I myself saw in my life raises an idea. What is the thing that determines a person’s performance in life between IQ and EQ or something like that? The story tells us that IQ of the one did not work for him as he did not have good EQ or something like that. I think in this case, EQ or something means a character, morality, innocence and purity of heart, gentleness, humility, and so forth, which are good human virtues. I am not talking about the virtues themselves; but what I am talking about is the person, who has the virtues imbedded in him or herself. The degree of the personality of a person of how much the person has imbedded human virtues, if it could be measured objectively, can be coined as EQ or something like that. As virtues are forthcoming of what a person has in heart, what is really significant here is heart of the person. In other words, what determines a person’s performance is the person’s heart as well as other factors.

Why does heart matter for a person’s life? Heart is the seat of spirit of the person. The word, heart, represents spirit of the person. If one has a very strong spirit of love, we say that the person’s heart is full of love. The spirit works in the person and makes the person who he or she is. If one has evil spirit, the one is evil person. If one has loving and merciful spirit, the one is loving and merciful person. Spirit of the person activates the person toward the direction it points. Evil spirit activates the person to do evil; loving spirit, to love. Spirit overcomes physical and mental obstacles lying before the person. Spirit cannot be hindered for it does not have limitation; but body and mentality do. The limitations are physical or mental. When a limitation blocks the person from going on to the direction, if he or she has a strong spirit, spirit activates the person’s mind and body to the extent that he or she could overcome the obstacles. A Korean pianist who has only two fingers could be an example. She plays piano with only the fingers as good as world’s best pianists (See her play at

By the way, there is much more important thing that good spirit gives to the person than life performance. It is a greatest possibility of winning the ultimate game of life. When a person lives a life led by a good, loving, and humble spirit, the spirit will lead the person to the Spirit, who is the source of ultimate love, mercy, peace, joy, goodness, humility, self-control, trustworthiness, and patience (Galatians 5:22-23). That is the Spirit of Jesus Christ and God Himself. This is the guarantor of salvation—the heavenly reward. Life led by the Spirit is life in the kingdom of heaven (Romans 14:17).

We are living in the society that focuses on and praises more the stuff such as IQ. While we are distracted to that stuff so much, we may be losing and missing too much from the life focusing on a thing such as EQ. Thinking about spiritual life may lead one to a better life, and further, if the one would, to an eternal salvation that God prepared.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Create a website or blog at

Up ↑

%d bloggers like this: