Why Smart People Have Poor Communication Skills – and What to Do About It

On October 23, 1990, David Pologruto, a high school physics teacher, was stabbed by his smart student Jason Haffizulla. Jason was not a teenager you think would try to kill someone. He got straight A’s and was determined to study medicine at Harvard, yet this was his downfall. His physics teacher gave Jason a B, a mark Jason believed would undermine his entrance to Harvard. After discovering his B, Jason took a butcher knife to school then stabbed his physics teacher before being reprimanded in a struggle.

Two years following the incident in a New York Times article, it was reported Jason raised his grade average to 4.614 (exceeding the perfect average of 4) by taking advanced courses and graduated with highest honors. He was smart.

Jason got better than perfect grades and still emotionally lost himself by trying to wound or kill his teacher. He could never improve his grade by stabbing his teacher. How can someone as smart as Jason do something so dumb?

The answer? Smart can be dumb. Studies show there is little to no correlation between IQ and emotional intelligence and that smart people are as likely to be good at communicating as “dumb people”. But I’ve observed smart people with poor communication skills make common mistakes in their communication. Intelligence can work against you.

How to Be Successful and Smart

I regard myself as an intelligent guy. I was no Einstein but got good marks in Mathematics, Physics, and other technical subjects. I graduated high school with the highest marks of my year level. I began a degree in Engineering, majoring in Mechatronics, an area of study that integrates mechanics, electronics, and computing. I would be able to design robotics and cybernetic systems – the wave of the future. Such skills would surely give me an edge in life.

After one year of study with decent marks, I began to see two major classes of students. The first category of student turned up to few lectures, partied every weekend, enjoyed a great social life, and did minimal work to pass courses. The second category of students were intelligent, hard workers, got good grades, and were very focused on their studies. Surely these intelligent, hard-working students would fill the great jobs before the lazier class of student?

Not so. Students are often shocked upon graduation that their technical qualifications are unimportant. Students in school are lead to believe their academic knowledge is the primary determinat of a great job and success. Howard Gardner in Frames of Mind: The Theory of Multiple Intelligences defines various types of intelligence and emphasizes that schools are too focused on logic and linguistic intelligence. Robert Kiyosaki in Rich Dad, Poor Dad is a more famous author that demotes the common belief that the government’s education system leads students to wealth and success. Malcom Gladwell’s Outliers contains further proof that IQ has little correlation with achievement.

Daniel Goleman in his book Emotional Intelligence, says that IQ is too narrow to predicate success. The implications of emotional intelligence, which is summarized as an understanding of your emotions and the emotions of other people, are profound in communication and many areas of life. “Emotional Intelligence is a master aptitude, a capacity that profoundly affects all other abilities,” says Goleman, “either facilitating or interfering with them.”

Graduates enter the workforce only to realize that co-workers hate them, less intelligent people are the ones receiving promotions, and sucking up to the boss doesn’t help personal earnings. The students have “hard skills” such as technical know-how, but they lack the “soft skills” like conflict management and social etiquette. The transition for intelligent people from being goal-oriented to process and people-oriented is usually realized through experience.

It’s not that people dislike you because of your intelligence; it’s that people dislike you because you’re rude, not understanding, or annoying to be around.

If you have experience in hiring people, you know the importance of people skills. A person’s knowledge can be useless in some industries when the person has no people skills. You can have great ideas, theories, and solve complex problems, but if you cannot effectively communicate that material in a persuasive and exciting manner by relating to your fellow human, you face an uphill battle in whatever challenges you encounter. It’s not that people dislike you because of your intelligence; it’s that people dislike you because you’re rude, not understanding, or annoying to be around. The intelligent person with poor communication skills is insensitive.

Hopefully I can reveal the elusive obvious to you in this little exercise. I want you to think back to primary school or high school. Perhaps even college. Select the most memorable class to you.

I want you to categorize, and roughly rank, class members based on two sets of criteria: intelligence and popularity. You don’t need to go through every class member, but recall those at the end of each spectrum. That is, remember the smartest few in the class and the most popular few in the class. On a scale of one to ten, with ten being the highest, give a person a rank of ten in intelligence if you feel they were the most intelligent in the class. For the students who had lots of friends, give them a ten in the popularity category. Try to categorize roughly six students. If you have problems remembering, quickly write the ranks down on paper.

Now, with the students you have ranked in one category, rank them in the other category. So if you have ranked the smartest student as a ten in the intelligence category, give the person a rank you feel is appropriate in the popularity category. Do the same for students you ranked in the popularity category.

Now that you have several people in each category, think about the difference between the student-types.

Genius-Failure Paradox

Did you noticed a distinguishable difference in the students you ranked during the exercise? No difference may exist, but most who do this exercise notice the intelligent lack friends. The smartest were generally not very popular because they had poor social skills. Presumptuous? Likely, no.

Smarter, wealthier, or generally people who have feelings of superiority, refuse to seek help in dealing with people.

All intelligent people do not have poor people skills just like all unintelligent people do not have good people skills. You may think, “But I know someone who is smart and great with people.” Good. So do I. Intelligence and people skills are not mutually exclusive characteristics. Having one does not mean you cannot have the other.

Academically intelligent people fail in predictable areas of their lives for predictable reasons. What makes matters worse is they avoid solving the dilemma because of pride. The genius-failure paradox describes that people who want to feel smarter, wealthier, or generally superior to others refuse to seek help in dealing with people. You can feel inferior learning a skill like communication that you believe should be natural. To learn such a skill is an admission to your weakness and stupidity.

How the Problem Begins in Childhood

A study titled Reading Difficulties, Behavior, and Social Status published in the Journal of Educational Psychology, found that 81% of children referred to aggression and social behaviour as the number one reason for disliking another child. As children age, the researchers found that a child’s academic performance increased their peer acceptance.

The study also found that achievement and other factors are influential to peer acceptance. We do need to keep in mind that peer acceptance does not equate to only social skills. Peer acceptance can increase due to one variable that is completely unrelated to communication. What we can take from this study is that right from the beginning of our social interactions, we are liked or dislike based on our behaviour and social skills.

Herpreet Kaur Grewal in an article titled Lack of Social Skills Can Make Poor Even Poorer, refers to a study done by the Institute for Public Policy Research. The study confirms that the economy makes interpersonal skills as important as academic skills. Grewal says, “Those with good social skills born into poor families are 14% more likely to be well-off by age 30 than a similarly under-privileged person with average social skills.” The study presents a few interesting points that are worth noting for the purpose of this article.

Firstly, social skills and other communication skills were found to be more important later in life. Maybe you’ve experienced the same thing. When you were young, you could get away with yelling at other kids. You could even fight with little or no repercussions. Should you punch someone at work in the face tomorrow (I hope I haven’t given you any ideas) because of your inability to resolve conflict, the quality of your professional and personal life will suffer.

A second finding of interest to us is that the best way children can develop the communication skills required for life are through organized activities. These groups should have children of diverse ages, experiences, and interests, as well as adult leaders that provide guidance to the young group. The adult leaders typically have a goal they want the children to achieve together. Team sports are a good example of activities that fit the described criteria to help children develop their social skills. Even for mature adults, interacting with diverse individuals improves their communication skills because it requires a person to adapt and understand different people.

The implications of these findings on this article are vague, but I present them to you for your curiosity. Do smarter people participate in fewer organized activities that fit the criteria of developing children’s social skills? Do smarter people participate in more singular extra-curricular activities like learning to play a musical instrument? Is their a trade-off between social interaction and increasing your intelligence? Do the less-intelligent individuals spend their time in these socially-beneficial activities instead of studying?

One thing we do know is that social skills and other communication skills need to be frequently practiced. While people can naturally have the gift of the gab, be emotionally intelligent, or easily win friends, communication skills atrophy without use.

Poor communication skills can put you in a dangerous cyclic effect. Poor communication deters you from situations that require those skills, further decreasing your social skills. If a boy has poor communication skills during developmental years because he did not participate in activities like football that Grewal speaks of as important for social development, he can struggle to get out of the rut due to the cyclic effect of avoiding social situations.

Common Mistakes Smart People Make in Communication

Intelligent people solve problems with their superior logic. The individuals use rational thinking to eliminate problems. A dilemma arises when they attempt to solve an emotional problem with their logic.

The logic dilemma is partly given birth from an intelligent person’s love of information. Locating information makes life easier. With the Internet being a superhighway for information, intelligent people are inclined to read, learn, and analyse their issues via the World Wide Web. (Maybe that’s why you’re reading this article).

However, communication skills are skills. Communication skills are not information. Any skill develops through practice. If you are an intelligent person, I still want you to learn about communication skills, but know that acting on your knowledge is more likely to be a bottleneck in your personal development than gathering more information.

Intelligent people see problems and provide solutions – a harmful formula for human relations.

Back to the logic dilemma, people are an illogical formula. If people were a formula they would be defined by 1 + 1 = 3. Logic and intelligence cannot explain the complexities of human emotion. Dale Carnegie, author of How to Win Friends and Influence People, emphasizes the importance of emotion in human relations and the little influence logic has on our behavior. “When dealing with people,” says Carnegie, “remember you are not dealing with creatures of logic, but with creatures of emotion.”

In my Communication Secrets of Powerful People program, I define two distinguishing behaviors of people that fall into the logical trap. Firstly is a common mistake we all make: we point out the obvious. Stating the obvious is frustrating and emotionally ignorant. Some examples include:

  • “Breaking up with a guy is tough. Don’t worry, there’s the right man for you out there somewhere.” This starts well, but then the person says the emotionally-ignorant obvious.
  • “I can’t believe you burned my toast. That’s stupid.” Do you really think he or she burned the toast on purpose?
  • “Wow. I’m so sorry to hear about the burglar breaking into your car. You really should have locked your doors.” Thanks for the advice… Idiot!

The second common logical mistake is making factual statements. People make the factual statement mistake when they talk about an emotional issue with logic and rational. An indicator of this type of mistake is when the respondent says, “You don’t get it” or “You’re missing the point”.

As an example of the factual statement mistake, Jill is talking to her good friend Michael, an intelligent guy, about her recent break up. Jill begins to “open herself up” and discuss her broken relationship. The emotions she communicates are uncomfortable to Michael. As is common with smart people, Michael perceives Jill’s affliction and his own discomfort in clear terms. He does not see muddled emotions. He sees pain; not resentment and anguish; or hatred; not partial likeness and hatred.

Michael wants to resolve Jill’s hurt. In his black and white world, Michael sees clear emotions, problems, and provides a solution. He thinks giving her advice is best for her wellbeing. He may use his intelligence to give advice, provide reassurance, or create some other communication barrier. Intelligent people see problems and provide solutions – a harmful formula for human relations.

The logic-driven communication used by Michael frustrates Jill. Jill isn’t after a solution; she wants someone to empathize with her and understand what she feels. Michael is too intent on resolving problems and providing advice.

People want to emotionally connect with you. You cannot connect and make friends, however, when you erect an emotional barrier with advice and factual statements. To overcome this problem, I strongly recommend you get the Communication Secrets of Powerful People program then read chapters 9 and 10.

Combating Emotions with Logic

People today think they need to conquer their emotions. The smart, possibly think this more so because of their problem-solving habits and intellect. Popular self-help myths lead us to believe that emotions like depression and anger must be manipulated to achieve happiness.

Goleman says, “Even the most academically brilliant among us are vulnerable to being undone by unruly emotions.” Take for example, anxiety. The smart often try to suppress an emotion such as anxiety with self-talk (“I shouldn’t be worried about this”) to free themselves from what they do not want to feel. The secret cure to social anxiety, however, is acceptance of anxiety and doing what you are afraid of. Through this action day-by-day you can live on purpose. Goleman says that our fears, anxieties, anger, and emotions guide our everyday lives.

When intelligent people cannot resolve an issue, they may complain and blame others for the outcome. Their knowledge and past experience in solving problems causes them to look beyond themselves to explain why the problem remains. Even when they blame outsiders, a smart person may conclude that because a problem in unsolved, it cannot be solved or it is not worth the effort to solve.

Pat Wagner from Pattern Research, a Colorado company that provides organisations with a communication programs, says smart people tend to convert their self-diagnosed failings into virtues. They use their intellect to convert emotional weaknesses into strengths. Wagner terms them as smart flaws.

One particular smart flaw I used that Wagner mentioned was not starting a conversation because it would be a waste of time. The real reason I didn’t start a conversation was my fear. I was scared ****less. Now I am more aware of my most common smart flaws, I stop myself in my tracks when I use them then identify the real reason why I rationalize my behavior. Whenever I do not talk to someone because “it is a waste of time”, I now realize it could be because I am not dealing with my emotions. I maybe hiding: the fear of talking to strangers, feelings of unhappiness, or the anxiety that I will be boring.

Another emotional weakness with smart people – particularly guys when they want to approach a woman – is fear. “A smart guy’s strength is his mind,” says David DeAngelo, a dating coach for men. “His weakness is often his emotions. Smart guys are often immobilized by fear.”

Women wonder why men struggle to walk up then talk with them even when a woman sends obvious signals of interest that she wants to chat. A guy’s analytical mind switches on immobilizing him from action. A thousand crazy scenarios and potential problems race through his head in psychological war.

The problem for intelligent people who think a lot is they think a lot.

The analytical mind has its purpose. The mind has served humanity well in the past to get us where we are today. It has identified predators, threats, and immediate dangers.

The problem for intelligent people who think a lot is they think a lot! They tend to plan everything before taking action, which causes them to lose spontaneity and be boring. Such behavior may result in neediness, validation, and indecisiveness.

In social situations, over-analysis is a killer mistake. Intelligent people try to mind-read people in conversations. They micro-manage their interactions based on analytical feedback. This drives their fear and uncertainty in conversations.

The next time you catch yourself micro-managing your conversations and worrying what the other person thinks, remember the other person is likely to be more concerned with what you think about them. Remind yourself that you cannot mind-read – and trying to do so only creates anxiety. Live in the moment more often and you will notice people naturally attract to you.

A few last points I want to make on logical strength and emotional weakness deal with conversation. We hunger for emotional connection in conversations. We love drama, fun, and controversy. Facts, logic, and technical subjects are often boring and too complex. The emotional side of conversations engage people. Academically intelligent people may focus too much on logical topics. Women are especially interested in any type of drama. Watch their eyes light up when you talk about the latest celebrity fashion stuff ups and other popular dramas.

Another emotional weakness, in addition to the subject of conversations, is the vocabulary used. Academics often use technical vocabulary to prove their intelligence – a killer of rapport. Simple, duh-duh, language is more effective than technical linguistics and non-methodologically circumstantial language that homosapiens find distateful. The same goes for writing to keep people interested. I try to write in a casual way – similar to how a conversation goes; not technical stuff, things, and other types of stuff, you know? This last reason is why so many great findings in academic journals go hidden for years. The general public cannot be bothered reading jargon.

On that last point of being too technical for people, something that may interest you is how some people write emails to me. I teach communication, but that does not mean being technical, using complex vocabulary, and trying to be intelligent helps build rapport. You can tell the difference. Here’s one example of a technical email I received last week:

Dear Joshua. Allow me to extend my formal gratitude in your beautiful array of teachings…

The intent behind such emails is great. The problem when you speak in jargon is the person you talk or write to does not feel connected with you. Lots of organizations fail hard with this principle when handling complaints.

Let’s compare that email example with this one:

Hey Joshua. Thanks heaps for the articles. I’ve learned that… You’ve helped me improve my relationship with my partner because…

Can you sense the difference? The last example is more friendly, but not overly casual. The person in the first example who appears intelligent does not “connect” because they are too technical. Even if you are intelligent and have a complex vocabulary, use terminology the other person uses to build rapport. Do not try prove your intelligence. We want to improve your communication skills, not boost your ego.

A Little-Known Secret to Learn Communication Skills

Take a moment to imagine you have traveled back in time to the Stone Age with a smart friend. You and your friend arrive amongst a tribe when two saber-toothed tigers approach. What choice do you make: 1) Do you get help from your intelligent friend? or 2) Do you rely on tribe members that are intelligent as your dog back home, but you know they have spent their lifetime surviving and adapting to the environment?

Our trip in time to the Stone Age shows us that intelligence does not equate to survival and other important skills. Stone Age dwellers were far from the level of intelligence people have today. I remember hearing a strange statistic that the decisions we make when reading a newspaper (such as skimming sections, understanding an article, and selecting what to read) in one day exceeds the total decisions made by prehistoric people in their lifetime.

Intelligence doesn’t equate to effective communication skills.

Intelligent people must acknowledge their expertise is limited. You cannot be an expert in everything. Intelligence does not equate to effective communication skills. A person from the Stone Age is sure to teach you something. Instead of being right, concede you do not know everything about communication.

Find the first steps you need to take to develop expertise in an area of your interest – even from someone of less intelligence. If you are interested in how to hold a conversation, the dumbass you hate may teach you a lot. Find what you need to do first then take the next step.

The Attitude You Need to Develop an Amazing Life

What happens to intelligent people who struggle in their social life? They keep quite. Intelligent people are habituated in solving problems, being an expert, and working things out themselves so they refuse to ask for help. They choose to freeze themselves with fear and uncertainty than ask someone about social skills. There are several interesting reasons for rationalization and smart flaws.

Not in all cases, but smart people look down on less intelligent people. No way will an intelligent person ask someone less intelligent for help. If the intelligent person is also wealthy, not in a million years. To seek help from someone with less intelligence is demeaning to the ego and a sign of weakness.

People of less intelligence are not inferior. Their friends are not weird or immature. These are smart flaws. I sometimes catch myself thinking that someone with less intelligence or less skill cannot teach me. What a dangerous lie that is. You can learn from someone with an IQ of 60. Accept it. You will be more desirable when humbling yourself.

Boost Your EQ

Follow this short cheat-sheet to boost your emotional intelligence and become better with people:

  1. Think emotions, not logic. Humans are emotional creatures. Putting emotions in your limelight enables you to deal with them.
  2. Focus on people’s needs. That is how you manage emotional situations and persuade people.
  3. Withhold advice. Give a listening ear instead.
  4. Compliment people. Praise makes people feel great.
  5. Develop self-awareness to be more people-aware. Tune into your anxiety, fear, anger, sadness, and joy.
  6. Accept your emotions. Stop beating yourself over certain emotions.

When helping an intelligent person improve their communication, it is good to explain how their expertise will strengthen when their communication skills strengthen. Dale Carnegie talks about appealing to those characteristics you want in others to create those characteristics. Intelligent people know they are smart. One such statement in appealing to those good characteristics for changing the intelligent person’s behavior would go along the lines of, “You and I know you’re an intelligent person. Improving your communication is another way of showing people your intelligence, expertise, and good skill-set.”

Another explanation of why smart people do not seek help is that social skills are assumed to be natural. People skills can be a laughable skill to develop. If you need to develop your people skills, you could be labeled as a “loser”. Intelligent people cannot risk humiliation when they ask for help. They need to maintain their feelings of importance.

It is easy to talk about the necessity of seeking help, but seeking help is tough. No one by their own can gather the life skills to overcome personal problems. There is no shame in seeking help; only shame in not seeking help.

Quietening your ego proves your expertise more than stubbornness. People will be attracted to you when you are not obsessed with being right. Asking for advice is a secret technique to make people feel important and increase your personal magnetism. Withholding your intelligence can win you friends, even if you do not play dumb like Arthur Schopenhauer suggests:

It is a real recommendation to be stupid. For just as warmth is agreeable to the body, so it does the mind good to feel its superiority; and a man will seek company likely to give him this feeling, as instinctively as he will approach the fireplace or walk in the sun if he wants to get warm. But this means that he will be disliked on account of his superiority; and if a man is to be liked, he must really be inferior in point of intellect.

There are millions of lessons waiting for you to be discovered in conversations. Listen, empathize, and make friends to discover the lessons. Then you will be smart.

(I have posted people’s comments from an older version of the article below.)

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Joshua Uebergang aka "Tower of Power"

Joshua Uebergang, aka "Tower of Power", teaches social skills to help shy guys build friends and influence people. Visit his blog and sign-up free to get communication techniques, relationship-boosting strategies, and life-building tips by email, along with blog updates, and more! Go now to http://www.towerofpower.com.au/free/

Comments

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Reply

[…] Articles That Might Help You The Benefits of Communication SkillsWhy Smart People Have Poor Communication Skills – and What to Do About ItReview of Nonviolent Communication by Marshall RosenbergWhy People Remain Quiet, Shy, and […]

Daljeet singh
Reply

Thanks for this great information. it seems really powerful.

BNee
Reply

Wonderful article…you hit the nail on the head about so many things. This article helped me identify mistakes I’ve been making in my communication and in my attitude towards people for years.

Captain Lampat
Reply

Your article is true and to the point. It helped me understand myself more. In addition, my workplace (a Junior College), is littered with intelligent people who have little or NO social skills. They also know how to mis-communicate very well… it is bad, very bad. They have no use for people’s emotions, and I long to retire.

Best..
Cap

Geoffrey
Reply

Hi Joshua, this is one of the most interesting articles I have ever read. It has very profound facts derived from research and that’s good work. I agree with you that at later years of life one needs more of social skills than intelligence. Also, I am happy to know that I can learn something from anyone whether they are intelligent or not.

You are doing good work and please help us “intelligent” people to appreciate social and communication skills.
God Bless you.

Tess Poblete
Reply

Dear Joshua,

Thanks so much for sending me this article. It is logical that most intelligent people have poor communication skills since they seldom relate with others except their own kind. And so, their problem solving is often on the rational level and not on the experiential. They cannot speak all what are in their minds because their mental processing is too fast that it difficult to grasp all at one time.

I enjoyed reading your article. It is fortunate that I am in the field of applied social science and at times, there are technical people who come to me for help on conveying their research findings in a manner understandable to ordinary people in affected communities. Despite that, I learned much from your article.

More power to you and congratulations for this article. I know that you are being used by God for others to learn.

Tess

Niki
Reply

Hi Josh, would you think that having good communication skills has a greater advantage than having a higher than average IQ?

Blessing Igumbor
Reply

Hi Joshua, great work you made my day, l had to read it out to my fellow workers who are having problems here, l now realise why less intelligent people get promotion more than us who are smart!!

Thanks a billion, no a trillion!!!

Brian
Reply

I don’t think all intelligent people look down on others as inferior. Sometimes they just do not know where to begin since they are only taught to excel. Maybe with such articles, there will be a remarkable improvement in the social life of intelligent people. Let us just try to be there for them and not cast them to hell like it is of their own making to be very intelligent. Also, please forward the article to as many people as possible.
Thank you Joshua

Alex
Reply

Thank you, that was a great article. I found a lot of useful information for myself and I think many others will as well. One thought though – who is actually “intelligent” and by whose standards? I think to make your point more understandable it helped to label some as “intelligent people”, but IQ tests and academic achievement alone don’t always prove that so-called “intelligent people” are more logically proficient than “less intelligent people”. We all possess different skills of different magnitudes and nobody owns an intellotometer that I know of. If you are able to use your brain to manipulate, motivate, and inspire others, isn’t that a sign of “intelligence”?

I really liked the article, but I have my own personal struggle with how people label one another. It may seem pretentious, seeing that to distinguish one group from another you sometimes need labels, but I think the intelligent and unintelligent groups have a lot of overlap.

That’s why I liked the bit on “dropping the ego”. People shouldn’t always assume that they are more intelligent than another based on occupation, income, or schooling. Like you said, there are lots of lessons humanity has to offer, and assuming that oneself is more intelligent than another may lead to a predisposed attitude that doesn’t allow oneself to fully take in and appreciate all there is to be learned by someone, say… less than “intelligent”.

Thank you again for the article. There is no doubt that maintaining healthy interpersonal relationships is a key to success. Your mention of dropping the ego is a good reminder for me, not that I’m so egotisical, but we all need to remember that sometimes other people can make us better and smarter people.

Joshua Uebergang aka "Tower of Power"
Reply

Thanks guys for your insightful feedback. It’s always nice to hear everyone’s thoughts and experiences on the topics I write about.

Geoffery, I’m glad you found it that interesting!

Brian, yes. Not all intelligent people look down on those who are less intelligent. I’ve been guilty a tonne of times though. The inferiority complex can suck bad and make people be very judgmental of others. There’s constant comparing of people.

Niki, personally I think good communication skills will get you a lot further in many areas than just a high IQ. The intelligence quotient often just predicts educational achievement. Education doesn’t mean much on its own. Having said that, some people succeed in vocations like mathematics with a high IQ and poor communication. Generally, good communication and emotional skills will take you further. CEOs get hired for their intelligence and fired for their personality.

Get Daniel Goleman’s Emotional Intelligence if you’d like to learn more about IQ and interpersonal skills. Emotional Intelligence is a groundbreaking book that amplified the worldwide shift from IQ making or breaking your success to emotional intelligence

Robert Sternberg, a Yale University Professor of Psychology, has a book called Successful Intelligence: How Practical and Creative Intelligence Determine Success in Life. You’ll learn some good things by just reading the reviews on Amazon and what the book is about.

Here’s additional links that may be of further interest:
The Importance of Emotional Intelligence in the Workplace
Just For Youth… Is Intelligence the Most Important Factor for Success

Alex, yeah. I don’t have any definite “model” of what intelligence is. Many people have differing opinions. In the article I mostly referred to intelligence as academic performance. Thanks for your insightful comment.

Bhavyata
Reply

hi joshua,

brilliant as always! I very strongly feel the same too. This was quite a breather. There were things I knew but u put them in words so well that I thought I was gaining newer insights into them..literally.

I would like to discuss one characteristic of human nature (generally speaking) which would be a deviation from the laws of intelligence vs people skills you have discussed so far.. that is the unconditionally accepted notion by relatively unintelligent people – their population is definitely larger and so is the consequence of their notion – that an intelligent person is supposed to be emotionally stable, mentally sound & self sufficient at all stages of life… otherwise he/she stands to lose the pedestal they have been placed on. This invariably places a huge responsibility on the intelligent variety who have no respite except masking their smallest needs, weaknesses or shortcomings despite of desperately needing help. They would gladly ask for help from any Tom, Dick, or Harry very naturally and humbly if they were not subjected to
this instant crucification. They say “it takes years to build and a moment to destroy”. A heavy price to pay wforces the refined lot to bottle up most of the times.

Nevertheless a very insightful article. Definitely – you need to be a good human being but you cannot do without good people skills.

evans reuben wandera
Reply

this article is superb! It is practical and has a positive impact on whoever reads it. I feel encouraged and motivated by it… make it real brother. Thanks alot.

Rupesh
Reply

Hi Joshua,

Thanks very much for sharing this wonderful understanding about people skills.
I’m always egar to improve my communication skills. I used to think that I’ve got good communication skills but after reading this article I realized that I need to learn a lot in that area.

I especially like the paragraph:

“Once I remove my ego and pride, I actually find myself happier and more knowledgeable than I was before. Doing so proves your expertise more than stubbornness. People will be attracted to you when you are not obsessed with being right. Besides, asking them for their advice is sure to make them feel important and increase your personal magnetism.”

This paragraph has changed my perception that I have to be right when I talk/communicate people and it really leads me toward fear of being wrong. And I used to think that it is my IQ problem but after reading this article I realised that it is my EQ problem.

I’m obliged to you for your sharing and say your kind of persons serve society better.

thanks very much.

Drew
Reply

Amazing, I couldn’t agree more and me coming right out of college has been like a storm of a new world which I will be following with less ego.

Chi
Reply

:razz: thanks for all.
I’m finishing my MA thesis so I need these information.
It’s useful materials.
Chi

Marcy
Reply

…so I was researching communication skills for a school paper and I stumbled across this article written mostly about me! :lol: Good work – and thank you… now I know how annoying I am! Rupesh, comment 14, nailed it.

Manish
Reply

hi Joshua!

thx a lot for putting such soul guiding articles online. let me tell you a very interesting story which my grandmother used to tell me in childhood, before sleeping hours.

… when God was creating human being, firstly he created a physical body made of mud and dust and then he decided to put life into that, he covered the body with five energy levels, also called levels of consciousness, one by one, in the order of increasing superiority and dominance… at once he was in a mess, whether to put the level of emotional consciousness upper than level of intellectual consciousness or vice versa… he reflected a lot… and finally consulted with his wife (goddess)… and finally put emotions above than intellect and so created something called “great human beings”, and given them a beautiful world called earth to live, to form communities, to share, to dream and hence to develop.

The story ends here, but not the morale.

Even today we see emotions dominating intellect in all “major” walks of life. People are ruled by emotions not by intellect. In any nation or constitution the supreme power or control is given to someone coming through vast experiences of “public life”, not to intellectuals. That is why democracy is preferred. That is why a manager is paid more than an engineer.

The views and the debate, never come to an end so let others quote on this.

thanks.

Matt
Reply

I am a very intelligent person and also a social retard. I recently graduated from college with a degree in Civil Engineering. My social retardedness exists because even though I have good intentions, I don’t know how to begin a conversation. Even if I get into a conversation with somebody, I have no idea how to keep it going. As a recent graduate, I realize this ineptitude keeps me from getting a job.

It has been said that intelligent people seldom relate to others except to their own kind. That isn’t true. Do to our lack of social skills, we have trouble talking with each other. This puts us in further isolation.

Because of my social awkwardness, I have been shunned by other people. This has further driven my abilities, which in turn has brought further isolation. Now you see the cycle. For the longest time, because of being isolated socially, I have been more inclined to doing things on my own rather than relying on others.

Kelli
Reply

I am very happy to hear that after 18 yrs after my fathers attack, people still write articles and express there thoughts about this topic. It was a terrible tragic that occurred and to this day, it still cannot seem to grasp how a person with such a high IQ and high level of “book knowledge” could lack so much general knowledge in knowing right from wrong. If anyone knows how to contact the author of Emotional Intelligence – Goleman I would appreciate it. I have been trying for years. Unfortunately my father passed away over a year ago, but the fact that people still recall this event and express thoughts about it means a lot to our family!!
Thanks Josh

Mohammed
Reply

Thank you for your great analysis of the reasons why smart people don’t interact socially. I was astonished how someone ever wrote an article about that, 95% of it was true about my life. I don’t usually comment on blogs, but to me you seem an intelligent individual contributing to society which makes me think twice about my ego and pride.
Keep it up

Sulabha R Chadwick
Reply

Good morning Joshua,

Last week I watched “Ten Commandments” wherein there is Joshua and I immediately connected you to him. Moses chose him to be the other Leader for his mission and similarly you are my leader, not that I am Moses because you are and I am Joshua. The articles you send me are awesome and believe me I use a lot of material in my training sessions to motivate and educate my trainees. I also make PPTs on the topics for better understanding. I learn a lot every time I receive some message from your site. Thank you and May God Bless you Joshua.

Sulabha R Chadwick, In India, Pune

[…] practice the attraction skills he teaches. Many guys seeking advice from him are intelligent, but smart can be dumb. The skills he teaches, like any other, require practice. No great skill or canned pick-up lines […]

[…] next section defines the nature of emotional intelligence. This section has discussions on: when smart is dumb, the development of empathy, depression, anger, happiness, optimism, focus, and much […]

Les
Reply

As I was reading your article I reflected on all the leadership training I’ve provided for organisations and how I’ve explained poor communication skills.

I generally ask people to remember back to their high school years and see if they can think of a teacher who really knew his stuff, and yet couldn’t get through to most students. Generally few people enjoyed those classes. Some have even described those teachers as “the most intelligent ‘idiot’ they ever came across”.

For those who’ve been to university they’ve probably come across professors and lecturers who are highly educated and very intelligent but simply can’t communicate to their students in a way that enables them to understand and really learn.

My questioning has indicated that high school classes enjoyed most have been those where the teacher uses simple language tuned to the student needs. In most cases Tech, PE, Home Ec etc are considered the best subjects – just look at the language used and the practicality of people in those teaching positions.

Your article has solidified my thinking and expanded on the concepts I teach people. I found it very insightful and interesting.

If Tertiary education had more people who could ‘communicate’, at all levels, we’d be a lot better off as a business community.

Perhaps we need the high school teaching fraternity to put their best communicators forward for Tertiary teaching roles so that we can move towards breaking down the communication barriers you write about!

Conrad
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This article is awesome and very helpful. Working in crisis management, law enforcement and social services, I see and hear a lot of bad stuff. I find that relating to others can be difficult because of that and the in depth training recieved. This article can help others find that balance to relate to normal regular people.

A
Reply

I think part of it is cultural. Here in the United States, our culture seems to denigrate intelligent people and celebrate dimwitted buffoonery. It has less to do with intelligent people coming across as arrogant or aloof and more to do with simple resentment of people more intelligent than oneself.

JoJo
Reply

Thanks for your article, but I can’t say that I agree with it. Intelligence is not simply being good at physics and maths, no, you cannot assume high IQ simply because you are good in this area, simply because you chose to allocate most of your time to it. Truly intelligent people understand from an early age what real success is all about, and it’s not excelling at a physics test. Is it not less intelligent to focus on areas such as physics and maths to the detriment of your people and communication skills? You label people as lazy simply because they choose to network and make better connections because they realize how important that is. That’s not to say that good grades are not important, it’s just that they are not the ONLY thing, nor the MOST important thing and you only have so much time available. As long as you have a good enough grasp of the topic, then why do you need to spend so much time to be perfect at it, instead of allocating time to another equally important area for success in life, your social skills and connections?

How to Win an Argument Everytime
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[…] females, asylum attendees, and the weak are the ones controlled by emotion. Smart people are the best communicators because they communicate with logic. If another person gets emotional, it’s best you feign […]

Tristan K
Reply

In response to points made on page two:
In my experience, listening to people drone on about their emotions is actually quite boring—not always, mind, but usually. This is because many people do lack the ability to articulate their emotions with accuracy, and their negative emotions without whining and moaning.

What I’ve learned to do is express my negative emotions creatively and quite independently. I shan’t weigh down another with my negativity, and I do not expect them to put up with me while I try to because that would be detrimental to them. I do resent this article’s implication that I should feel enthusiastic about listening to others gripe on about their troubles, instead of helping them solve them in a way that doesn’t drain me of my own energy. Parts of this article sounds as though it’s trying to tell me that I ought to be eager to sit and listen to people crying:

“Wah, I left my door unlocked and now I’ve lost my CDs.”
“Wow, that sucks, man. Really, I’m sorry that this happened to you.”

That’s about as far as I’ll go. Well, I might go a little further but if you’re carrying on for more than a few minutes, and you start to bitch about the state of the world and how scummy people are for stealing your things, then I am not going to tolerate this. At this point, I am going to point at your unlocked door and say, “Here is your problem. This was YOUR mistake. Hopefully, you’ve learned a valuable lesson today: People with nice things oughtn’t be so careless with them. Be thankful that you’re not destitute, and you have a nice car whose window you don’t have to pay to replace (because the burglar used the door), and that CDs are just things, and are very reobtainable. It’s time to move on, now.” Honestly, I don’t even consider that to be “tough love”. I consider that to be very reasonable. It’s like telling people very abruptly, “Snap out of it!” where appropriate.

It’s time to evolve. It’s time to grow stronger, and to help us all work together toward a better world. Please learn to become emotionally self-reliant, so that you don’t hold yourself back. Emotions are indeed tamable, and can be directed to more constructive ends.

Tactics:
Think through a problem, and vent frustration and other negative feelings in such a way that others are not weighed down by your negativity. For example, hit the gym or the dojo, or draw a cartoon of how the conflict is perceived. One can clean or can organize something, or one can do one’s work! One can cook a fantastic meal, or lose oneself in a videogame. One can totally sex the pain away; there’s nothing wrong with that (but be safe, obviously). One can write about whatever’s bothering him. One can do literally anything that switches up the pace for a while, and will feel better because of it! Heck, even researching and applying self-improvement can go a long way toward alleviating the pain. On the other hand, dwelling on a problem and spiraling downward never solved one—and while venting on someone about it might help YOU feel better temporarily, what it also does is harm that other person—so before you consider someone emotionally insensitive, think about what it is that you’re about to put him through. Please ask for help only when necessary, and try to solve problems on your own. You’ll become a stronger person this person, honestly.

If I’ve got it all wrong here, then please write me a response and I will read and consider it.

A criticism:
“Women are especially interested in any type of drama. Watch their eyes light up when you talk about the latest celebrity fashion stuff ups and other popular dramas.”
Am I really to be considered emotionally insensitive myself, because I do not take interest in what I consider to be a dull topic? Can people not talk about their interest with others who are also interested? I hope you don’t expect me to act interested in the tabloids, and in celebrity-drama. I do not care for pop-stars and misinformation; I’d rather talk about something more substantial.

On “jargon” and “technicality”—
I am personally attracted to those who speak eloquently. I find such flowery speech to be demonstrative and accurate, and do naturally speak this way myself. I do understand that the technicality of the language that I employ sometimes does create blockades for others who are perhaps not very well-read, or who are not very used to speaking in better-than-simple terms, but to dumb myself down in conversation would be to my personal detriment, I think. Further, I do not think that you should feel upset about our disparity. You’re probably better than me at other things, so why should you feel down and out because you’re not as good as me at this? I’m not trying to show-off. This is simply how I communicate with people. I’ll not act unnatural, for your sake. If anything, you should treat the opportunity to converse with a person better-spoken than you as a chance to learn and to practise your best speech! If you were better at soccer than me, and I was playing soccer with you—I’d do my best to catch up to you! I’d try to learn from you—and I’d have a blast doing it, I tell you what.

When I speak I do not aim to demonstrate my vocabulary to you. I simply aim to express myself accurately, and I do make use of all of the tools at my disposal—including drawing pictures and diagrams in my notebook to show you what I’m talking about, or pantomiming and hand-talking, or speaking in illustrative metaphor, or employing tonal adjustments and other such face-to-face tactics. Do you really consider that to be a personal shortcoming? There’s nothing wrong with being better than the average person at something—provided one isn’t conceited about the fact. Please do not misconstrue talent as conceit.

Good article overall. I did enjoy reading it, and did benefit from it, and although I’ll not quote examples of where I feel you’ve got things right, I will say that you are correct about quite a lot of what you speak about. Your points are good!—and you’ve successfully encouraged positive growth in this world, I think. Well done! Thank you for providing.

Cornelia
Reply

Hi,

This was an interesting article, but I feel like you fail to address the role of the outsider in shaping how someone develops these fears of “being boring” or “unhappiness” which may be the cause of their poor communication skills. Did you consider how “smart people” may have been treated as they grew up by the people in their environments which could lead them to develop a “superiority complex” as a defense mechanism? When you’re constantly told you’re inferior because you deviate from the norm (i.e. a child who – unlike her peers – is genuinely more interested in collecting rocks than boys) you start to believe it and you internalize it. It can shape you as you receive feedback that either affirms or negates the lessons you’ve been taught in your formative years about your worth as a person. If you’re rejected by society at large, you’ve nothing to turn to but your books and your beautiful rock collection that you are oh-so-very proud of. Need I even to mention the role of social factors (race, religion, ethnicity, gender, socioeconomic status…) in ostracizing a child from their peers?

While I appreciate the argument you present here, I cannot help but feel that your “be humble and get with the program” approach fails to consider some very real contributors to the development of poor communication skills. People may be smart because they had no one to communicate with, so they found friendship in knowledge. You briefly mention this in your discussion of the interplay between not having good communication skills and avoiding situations in which you are forced to communicate, but I feel as though it’s important to consider the aforementioned issues more in depth.

Alice
Reply

This is an awesome article! Your findings greatly prove that personal success is attributed to EQ rather than IQ. The behaviors of smart people don’t necessarily show that they are smart in everything they do.

Jessica
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I would really appreciate your thoughts on an issue that has plagued me my entire life. I grew up basically lacking parents and parental guidance. What i mean is my parents were never around, and if they were they almost completely neglected me and or left me with people who did not engage me in a way that a loving parent would have, never provided me with advice, etc on my life, relationships, and even basic things in life. I didnt even know how to cook an egg until i was 16. I am not asking for sympathy, what i have tried to understand is after spending so much time teaching myself just the basics about life, etc, how are my grades supposed to reflect the real me, the potential me, how are my communication skills supposed to reflect the real me, it seems like such an overwhelming daily struggle internally and externally.

meonetwo
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I thought that IQ was measured before you open a book. :lol:

saqib
Reply

thanks Joshua, the article was really an eye opener to say the least.
surely social skills are much more important than intelligence…important because they are much useful in living a successful life.
thank once again

Piotr Kundu
Reply

IQ and EQ are still discussed as counterparts, yes there are smart people with no social skills and low EQ, and there are people with high IQ, high EQ and a lot of social skills. Intelligence is definitely not academic performance – academic performance is learning what other people consider important. Low IQ people pride themselves on “high EQ”, but generally there is no EQ to talk about. Making yourself helpless and seeking approval from a group is very primal, smart people don’t need that. Do you think Steve Jobs was unaware of his emotions or do you think he was allergic to idiots? It was his choice, don’t you think Steve Jobs could read Dale Carnegie and smile like a fool for the rest of his life so people could write books on how sympathetic he was and emitting him with “high EQ”. He was smart and it made him arrogant – that is a causation to think about.

Rat
Reply

This article in absolute BS, at least in my class. In my Engineering class, the smartest and most hardworking people are equally as popular as the popular people. Their intelligence drives their popularity, and it’s not just nerdy popularity.

Lena
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This has certainly helped me realize that trying to understand people with logic is futile, I have tried for years and the only thing I found was frustration. People just don’t want your advice, they just want to be heard, but for me, it’s painful when I feel the answer to their problem is there, obvious, just waiting for them to grab it and solve their misery. But oh well, I guess I will have to adapt and develop skills, I can’t change people, I can only change myself.

Over Shyness
Reply

An amazing article.

Especially the section on reacting with logic rather than emotion although sometimes it can seem like an uphill fight to turn off your brain and emphasize with people when you think you have a great logical solution.

Setting SMART Achievable Personal Goals
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[…] I have met people unbelievably resistant to developing their communication. They were actually insulted to hear their communication can improve! We all can communicate more effectively no matter how good we […]

Bernie
Reply

I would see myself as a highly intelligent person who struggles with his emotional intelligence. Hence, communication gone wrong is mostly a case of lacking to deal with my emotions in a specific professional context. It starts to get difficult when I have built up a high level of frustration because the “others” don’t make an effort to listen to me despite the fact that I am always to explain my thoughts. Despite the fact that people agree that my view ususally prevails the blame me for not having made an effort to explain it to them in a way they would understand.

If such a situation appears multiple factors surely play a role:
1) The communication skills of the person who makes a point
2) The emotional competence of this person
3) The willingness of people to listen to this person
4) The capability of people to grasp what is said (dependent on experience, knowledge, value system, intellect, etc. …)

So from my perspective if there is a situation where communication fails because of the above it takes all involved to make an effort to change it to the better. You can not just blame it to the person who wants to express a complex abstract concept to others.

Nevertheless, everything said in your article has a point and is worth mentioning. Yet I don’t full agree with the proposition that bad social skills are mostly caused by anxiety. It is a factor though.

It is also a numbers problem. Highly intelligent people are aprox. 10% of the population. So it is more likely that they will mostly have to engage with people on the left side on the bell curve (90%). I often find it difficult to fully engage with people on the left side of the curve because I am not interested in the topics they are interested in and vice versa. I really do find the most recent findings on string theory more exciting than the fact that we have a royal baby.

So why is it a numbers game then? If let’s say 50% of the population would be interested in intellectual challenging topics people would engage more and hence would train their social and communication skill.

Also to make once thing clear. In my view a high IQ just means that someone is more talented in analysing complex abstract problems. Not more. And the minimum of problems we have to deal with in our daily lifes fall into this category. Yet, people who are able to deal with complex problems engage in them also because it gives them joy and fulfillment. If they then apply the solution patterns for complex problems to less complex problems a possible area of conflict emerges.

According to Myers-Briggs 65+% base decisions on their emotions vs 35% base it on rational thinking. This would explain to me why a high emotional intelligence generally works better for most people.

Just a few thoughts.

My final points… A high IQ does not make you a better person just more suitable to resolve a small number of specific problems It needs two to tango! If communication fails both sides have to make an effort. But it is true that it is the responsibility of the person who wants to make a point to form the message in a way that it has a change to get across.

Joshua Uebergang aka "Tower of Power"
Reply

Thanks for your comments Bernie.

You make good points. Just because an intelligent person doesn’t talk well with someone, doesn’t mean the “problem” lies with him or her. Though I believe you should take responsibility for it because there are always things you can control, there’s things like topics you’re interested in that the other person can be more aware of.

Your name just reminded me of the British sit com I watched last night Black Books. There’s a character named Bernard who works in a bookstore. Much of the comedy is based around his incompetence with people. Been awhile since I laughed that hard!

Ralph
Reply

What a crock of progressive socio-liberal bulls***. Sissies worry about being adept at communicating with peons. Us wealthy people get that way by not caring a damned thing about any of you or your problems, so please spare us the b.s.

Vayne
Reply

Hi Josh. I liked your article. I had a connection to it as if I am that kind of hateful person. It was hard for me to read everything from start to end, but I did, and it changed my perspective on the word change. Is there any way for a person like me to change and have emotional connections with people? I don’t want to be intelligent and not understand people’s feelings around me. I’m afraid to hurt them. :neutral:

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