HEALTHY BITE | How’s your Emotional Intelligence and Health Quotient

Welcome to another Healthy Bite. In this week's podcast, we explored Emotional Intelligence with Robin Hills, which is how we relate to others. IQ - Intelligence Quotient - relates more to logic, memory, language, concentration, and comprehension. In this Healthy Bite episode, let's touch on something called HQ. The Health Quotient. What is it and why is it as important as the other two?

How’s your EQ and HQ?

Now, this week we explored with Robin Hills the Emotional Intelligence and people are familiar, of course, with IQ. We are talking this week about EQ and I thought I’d also touch on in this Healthy Bite something called HQ.

What does IQ mean?

Let me start with IQ because it’s something we hear a lot about, and there’s one definition which is extremely popular and it is the aggregate or global capacity of an individual to act purposefully, to think rationally, and to deal effectively with his or her environment. When we look at IQ scores, the average IQ score is about 100, a 95% of this line between 70 and 130. 

That would mean that there are a few individuals over 130, and there are a few individuals below 70, but 130 is definitely would be considered gifted and one only has to think of the IQ of Albert Einstein, which sits between 160 and 180, which definitely puts him in the genius category.

But actually, when you look at what else has gone on in the world, here are the top, the highest IQ: (1) Marilyn vos Savant, an IQ of 228; (2) Christopher Hirata, 225; (3) Kim Ung-Yong, 210; down there is (4) Edith Stern, 200; and (5) Garry Kasparov, the chess player, 194. So IQ is quite a range. But that’s IQ.

What does EQ mean?

What about EQ? EQ is more about intuition, empathy, creativity, awareness, and it’s different. I mean, IQ relates more to logic, to memory, to language, to concentration, and to comprehension. But IQ is something more about design and creativity. It’s a more holistic if you like, expression of an individual. 

Daniel Goleman, who Robin does refer to and is considered the godfather of EQ, it’s the ability to understand and manage your own emotions and those of people around you. If ever we needed the time when people were exercising and improving their EQ. I think the last few years, as we become increasingly more polarised, have certainly challenged our EQ. 

80-90% of the competencies that differentiate top performers are in the domain of emotional intelligence. So leaders are really looking in organisations towards people who have high emotional intelligence and ability to self-reflect, to show empathy, to self-soothe, important self-regulation. Very important. 

Five characteristics of emotionally intelligent people, the change agents aren’t afraid of change or taking risks, and we’ve spoken quite a lot about what constitutes people being open to change.

Locus of Control

One of those things is your locus of control. Meaning do you see yourself as a victim of the world in which you would see the locus of control in your life as being external to yourself? And or is your locus of control internal? Do you see that you actually do have a good deal of control over your life? 

Obviously, we don’t have complete control over our lives, but how that proportion plays out in your life determines whether you are open to change, whether you change management.

I think if you have an internal locus of control, you probably have a higher level of emotional intelligence. Another aspect of being open to change is a tolerance of ambiguity. We love black and white. We love right and wrong, good and evil. 

You can see that playing out in the current pandemic and the way it’s being managed, that people want simple solutions, want answers to problems, they want definite plans moving forward. I think that’s admirable. I think it’s important, but I think it’s a little more nuanced than that.

Do you have a high tolerance of ambiguity or a low tolerance? If you have a high tolerance of ambiguity that suggests that perhaps your emotional intelligence is higher and you are more open to change. Self-awareness is another thing. They don’t let weaknesses hold them back. They know what they are feeling, being empathetic and being able to relate to others, having a more balanced view and knowing how to maintain a balance and practise self-care, and also being gracious. The glass half full mentality. 

They feel good about their lives, so this is what constitutes characteristics of people with emotional intelligence, and you can be ticking off those boxes and thinking, “Yeah, that’s me. I think I do, or oh my goodness, no, I don’t really fit that bill”.

Emotional Intelligence

Emotional intelligence is actually a really important aspect of living in a community. When you have a higher level, there are different ways Robin talks about measuring this and if you’re watching this on YouTube, you might want to pause this and see the list of low emotional intelligence against high emotional intelligence.

For example, being low, having low emotional intelligence, your aggressive, demanding, egotistical, bossy, confrontational as opposed to being assertive, ambitious, driving, strong-willed and decisive. Another aspect of low emotional intelligence is you’re easily distracted. You believe you’re selfish. You’re a poor listener. You’re impulsive. The flip side of that, for those with high emotional intelligence, would be you’re warm, you’re enthusiastic, you’re sociable, charming, and persuasive. 

Other aspects, I think this is quite interesting because you could be taking these mental boxes off as we go. Another aspect of low emotional intelligence is to say you are resistant to change, you’re passive, you’re unresponsive, you’re slow, and you’re stubborn, as opposed to having the high emotional intelligence in this area where you are patient and stable, predictable, consistent and you’re a good listener. I hope you are a good listener. If you’re listening to this, I’m assuming you have high emotional intelligence, but I move on.

Finally, another aspect that shows as characteristics of people with low emotional intelligence is that they’re critical, they’re picky, they’re fussy, they’re hard to please, they’re perfectionists. A dentist, that’s a bit of that. You do need that skill as a dentist to be a perfectionist. 

But anyway, the flip side of that is that you’re detailed, you’re careful, meticulous, systematic, and you’re neat. Now that fits far better into the dental, into the dental profession, and you really do need a high level of emotional intelligence to be a good dentist. There’s no question about that.

Myers-Briggs type indicator 

Robin talks about different ways of measuring it, and the Myers-Briggs is one that I think is an interesting one. You can do it online and you know, you can really think about the different personality types, and they talk about four areas by which you can judge and they may have been covered in that last list, but here we are just covered with you. 

Are you an introvert or an extrovert? Do you as an extrovert are energised by people and enjoy a variety of tasks, a quick pace, and are good at multitasking? Why are you an introvert? Often like working alone or in small groups, prefer small, deliberate pace? I’d like to focus on one task at a time.

Now, this is a continuum because when I think of myself, I have often said to my wife’s own surprise that I do consider myself an introvert and I do enjoy working on projects on my own. But I do enjoy people and I do get energised by people. So it’s not all black and white, but it’s an interesting way of questioning yourself in what kind of a person you are. 

Another measure is are you sensing or are you intuitive? Now sensing realistic people who like to focus on the facts and details. They apply common sense and past experience to find practical solutions to problems. Intuitive people tend to prefer to focus on possibilities in the big picture, easily see patterns and value innovation, and seek creative solutions to problems. 

Are you an extrovert or an introvert?

Now I see a little bit of each of those in myself, but one would draw a continuum of a line where you are totally centre or totally into intuitive or you’re totally extroverted or a total introvert. I don’t think any of us are really one completely or the other, but we are mixes of each. 

Another measure is are you a thinker or a feeler. Thinkers tend to make their decisions using logical analysis, objective weighing, objectively weighing pros and cons and value, honesty, consistency, and fairness. Interesting.

Feelings tend to be sensitive and cooperative and decide based on their own personal values and how others will be affected by their actions. I think there’s a combination of both. The final measure is, are you a judger or a perceiver? Judgers tend to be organised and prepared, like to make and stick to plans, and are comfortable following most rules. Procedures prefer to keep their options open, like to be able to act spontaneously, and like to be flexible with making plans.

This is very much are you an ESTJ or an INFP. Are you an extrovert, a sensor, a thinker, and a judge? Or are you an introvert, an intuitive person fella, or and a perceiver? And of course, you can be combinations of any one of those. 

In fact, there are, according to the Myers-Briggs, at least 16 different personality types, and I’m not going to go into them with you here. But again, if you’re watching this on YouTube and I suggest you could, pause the screen and have a read of them, I think it’s most interesting and certainly an intriguing thing.

Now, while there are 16 characteristics or personality types and people love categorising people and things, and I suspect there’s something more like seven and a half billion character types. So I.Q., well, there’s Albert Einstein leading the way. EQ is how we relate to others, how we think, and how we feel. There’s another quotient that I wanted to introduce you to, which will be encouraged for you to think about, and that is H.Q.

What does HQ mean?

What is HQ? Well, HQ is your Health Quotient. That would be a combination of your overall health and your awareness of health issues. There is so much in health that we know, and there is so much in health. There’s quite a lot in health that we know, we don’t know. But having been in health for 42 years and I was just reflecting on this today in my surgery with one of my partners, Dr Lewis Ehrlich like I was saying the thing I find most exciting and stimulating about health, and this is up to 40 at least 42 years. 

Well, 45, if I consider my or even more if I consider my university years, I would have to say it was 47 years when I consider my university years. Even after 47 years of focussing on health as a profession, I still find it stimulating and exciting. And why? Because in health, the more you learn, the more you realise you don’t know. That is exciting to me, but threatening to some. 

Some people love certainty. Some people see it, see right and wrong, good and bad. They want to be, they’re resistant to change. They have a low tolerance for ambiguity. But when it comes to an awareness of health issues, I know there is a great deal. I don’t know. What I’ve been learning, particularly in these last two years, in particular, these last two years, is I’ve discovered so much more that I don’t know I even didn’t know. And that’s exciting. That’s stimulating.

I think the key to exploring health is, rather than looking at right and wrong answers, is to take a more holistic view of it and see how the particular jam is being shared with you at this particular moment. It’s this particular moment and other moments that you will be listening to others. There is so much information out there. Rather than looking for the right and wrong, keep an open mind and see how that fits into a more holistic view. 

Remembering the holistic health model that we focus on in our practise that I’ve focussed on in my book and is basically the blueprint for this podcast. That is to see our lives as a balancing beam, where we define stress. Well firstly, let me say we define stress as anything that compromises our immune system and promotes chronic inflammation. We try to identify and minimise as many of those as we can.

And to that effect, I work on a Five Stressor Model – emotional, environmental, postural, nutritional, and dental stress. To identify and minimise as many of those stressors that have the ability to compromise your immune system and promote chronic inflammation. 

The common denominator in all diseases: mental and physical. On the other hand, to build resilience by focussing on the five pillars of health – sleep, breathe, nourish, move and think – and understand that this whole balancing beam pivots on your genes and how your genes express themselves. Epigenetics.

If you keep that as an overriding model, I think approaching health becomes extremely exciting because rather than looking for the one answer to the problem, you start to build knowledge, and with knowledge comes power. 

Ultimately, one of the things that I’m also very keen on promoting in this podcast is that while the world around us becomes increasingly more complicated and complex, I believe the solutions are remarkably simple and we do need to go back to those simple solutions that are cheap, accessible and effective in terms of improving our health.

So a health quotient, our HQ, is about our overall health and an awareness of health issues. If you’re a regular listener of this podcast, then you will know just what I’m talking about and we’re just building our knowledge week by week. I thought this week’s focus on EQ was a particularly interesting one because over the last two years during this lockdown.

I’ve been looking far more closely at a new way of looking at stress, which is called The Polyvagal Theory and The Polyvagal Theory is all about how we regulate and co-regulate as a species, and I’m going to be doing more podcasts about that. But the point being is that I am just very much focussed on learning, keeping my mind open and looking at HQ and my EQ, and trying to hope that my IQ will help me along the way.

Ultimately, what we’re heading looking at is another quotient which I think we could all strive for, and that is the happiness quotient, which is all about getting our social, environmental, spiritual, physical, emotional, intellectual, and occupational lives in a good balance. I hope this helps. I hope this finds you well. Until next time.


This podcast provides general information and discussion about medicine, health, and related subjects. The content is not intended and should not be construed as medical advice or as a substitute for care by a qualified medical practitioner. If you or any other person has a medical concern, he or she should consult with an appropriately qualified medical practitioner. Guests who speak in this podcast express their own opinions, experiences, and conclusions.