Reams and reams have been written about the important role IQ plays in propelling an individual towards success.
How obsessed humankind is with IQ can be gauged from the fact that there are several tests designed to measure the level of an individual’s intelligence, numerous products available to boost IQ, and umpteen mental exercises that claim to improve brainpower.
However, more and more people are beginning to realise that success doesn’t solely depend on IQ.
According to *Dr Ravi Samuel, "There are nine types of intelligences; naturalist, intrapersonal, linguistic, bodily kinaesthetic, interpersonal, existential, logical, spatial and musical! Identifying which of these are higher in their children and nurturing that intelligence will bring greater success to them. So, parents need to know what their children are good at and nurture that ability to help their children enjoy what they are doing and make them successful."
Let’s read and understand about traits that are more important than IQ for success in life.
Emotional intelligence: This is the ability to understand, assess, manage and express one’s emotions as well as influence and manage the emotions of others. A child with healthy emotional intelligence is more likely to stand up for her peers, extend a helping hand, practise mindfulness, and develop satisfying relationships. It is also a critical leadership quality, as it helps an individual understand her strengths and weaknesses. In her article, ‘Why We Need to Teach Kids Emotional Intelligence’, Lisa Firestone PhD, says, “Research has shown that emotional intelligence or EQ predicts over 54% of the variation in success (relationships, effectiveness, health, quality of life).”
- How to develop it: While some children are born with a healthy level of emotional intelligence, some aren’t. But, it is possible to develop emotional intelligence in a child. Some of the things you can do to foster emotional intelligence are: Help your child understand emotions by labelling them, teach her how to deal with difficult emotions, develop empathy, and build social skills.
Growth mindset: Individuals with this quality believe in the fact that their abilities aren’t fixed and that they can develop their talents to achieve more success. A child with a growth mindset is keen to learn, resilient, and persistent in his efforts.
"Every child needs direction in life to streamline his energy and efforts. Otherwise, his mind may get diverted towards non-purposeful activities, which will later lead to behavioural and mood problems. Adopting a growth mindset enables a child to channelise his energy towards purposeful pursuits, and achieve success in both academics and extra-curricular activities." *Dr Ravi Samuel
- How to develop it: Motivate your child by telling him about how he can help his brain grow by being persistent and trying to learn new skills. Encourage him to engage in positive self-talk like, “Practise will make me better” or “I’ll keep trying”. When it comes to praising your child, applaud the effort he put in and the strategy he came up with to accomplish a task. When your child fails in a task, sit with him and analyse the reasons and come up with a better plan.
Passion: Most of us agree that approaching any task with enthusiasm helps us accomplish it in a better way. But, do you know why passion helps us do better and succeed? Passion gives rise to the desire to make things happen. It develops a strong sense of connection between the individual and her interests, and increases motivation levels. It creates a feeling of resilience, because of which, setbacks don’t deter us from trying again.
- How to develop it: Find out about your child’s interests. Give her ample time to pursue her interests or do things she finds meaningful. As she succeeds, she will begin developing a passion for those activities. Encourage your child to innovate. For example, if she finds an idea or product interesting, ask her how she can do something different from it. Foster creativity, as creating something new fuels passion. Talk to your child and try to change her perception of things she is not keen on doing.
Intrinsic motivation: It is the quality that makes us remain continually interested in and committed to what we are doing or should do, because accomplishing that feels naturally satisfying. Intrinsic motivation makes a child feel curious, gives rise to the desire to do things and learn, devote more time to academics/tasks, and remain resolute towards his goals.
- How to develop it: Help your child identify his goals and come up with plans to achieving them. Explain to him about how hard work makes him better and leads to success. Teach your child that while results do matter, learning from the process of doing a task is very important. Make your child understand that personal growth is a never-ending process, and the more he is motivated to learn, the more he will grow.
Willingness to learn: Learning is a lifelong process and children display a natural desire to learn. In a child, the willingness to acquire new knowledge and develop new skills is of vital important, as it would help him stay ahead of the competition and propels him towards success. However, as children grow up, the enthusiasm to learn wanes because of the curbs we place on their urge to explore and experience.
- How to develop it: Learning appears exciting to children only when it incites their interest. So, find creative ways to provoke your child’s curiosity and interest—for example, encouraging imaginative play. Give your child the freedom to experiment and ask questions, encourage him to solve problems, nurture his interests, and point out to him how much he has progressed or learnt.
*Dr Ravi Samuel is one of Chennai's eminent psychotherapists who offers mental health therapy through his URClinic.
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