Our society has long been fixated on using quantifiable metrics to measure intelligence and success. We often assume that our GPA, university entrance exam results, and IQ are the best measures of our success. But emotional intelligence experts will tell you that’s far from the truth.
Psychologists often define success as a function of your leadership skills, sense of humility, ability to collaborate and adapt to new situations. Your capacity to exhibit these “soft skills” could be your ticket to getting promoted, building and maintaining personal relationships and even being more productive.
“Your degree is not a proxy for your ability to do any job,” said Laszlo Bock, Senior Vice-President for People Operations at Google (yes, Google has an entire department focused on “people operations”) in a 2013 New York Times interview. “The world only cares about — and pays off on — what you can do with what you know. And it doesn’t care how you learned it.”
This week on Full Frame, we hear from the scientists and innovators who are ushering in a new age of measuring success by focusing on human emotions.
Newsmaker: Dr. Lenny Kristal Measures Emotional Literacy to Foresee Success
Do we run because we are scared, or are we scared because we are running? As the cofounder and chief scientific officer at Cognisess, Dr. Lenny Kristal can illuminate the technicalities and nuances underlying this “chicken-before-the-egg” quandary.
Dr. Kristal is at the forefront of redefining how we understand and improve human potential. Along with his co-partner, Chris Butt, Kristal offers companies integrated cognitive, emotional, social/personality and well-being assessments. His team has created a scalable, integrated system to enable any organization to assess job applicants or current employees in order to place them in the position that is the “best fit” for both the employee and the company. This insight, and coaching on how to use the data, can improve an organization’s use of human capital.
Through his personal experience, and later through his scientific research, Kristal has debunked the myth that one is born with a set IQ or a pre-determined level of emotional literacy. FMRI studies (which are used to measure and map brain activity) have proven that the brain can regenerate itself and improve its cognitive capacity.
“The whole field is changing,” he said. “We can even proactively stave off mental decline in our old age.”
Kristal’s tests can measure in statistical terms if your ability to perceive social cues diverges from a particular culture or cohort. And he argues that your ability to perceive facial expressions and vocalizations may be more important than your ability to answer multiple choice questions on a standardized test.
Dr. Lenny Kristal joins Full Frame’s Mike Walter to share his research findings, but also to put our correspondent’s emotional literacy to the test.
In-Depth: Finding Your ‘Happy Place” May Require Moving to Copenhagen
“Because I’m happy/Clap along if you feel like happiness is the truth/Because I’m happy/Clap along if you know what happiness is to you.”
Pharrell Williams’ hit “Happy” has people around the world literally dancing in the streets this summer, but have you ever thought about the social and economic implications of happiness?
Happiness is becoming a global priority — the United Nations publishes an annual World Happiness Report. This week, CCTV’s Malcolm Brabant reports from the country that is most consistently ranked as the happiest place on Earth: Copenhagen, Denmark. Brabant sets out to discover why Danes are so happy and if they recognize the value of happiness.
Which countries are the happiest?
Rollover countries to see who’s happier than others.
Data from the United Nation’s 2013 World Happiness Survey. Weighted by population, the average score was 5.1 out of a scale of from 0 to 10. Factors for determining happiness included variables like real GDP per capita, healthy life expectancy, having someone to count on, perceived freedom to make life choices, freedom from corruption, and generosity. For the full dataset and explanation, see the report here.
Quantifying happiness is not as simple as it may seem. Researchers have found that amassing wealth or material possessions does not lead to long-term happiness — so the endless pursuit of that next promotion or new handbag will do very little in increasing your overall level of happiness.
University of California Riverside Professor of Psychology and author of “The Myths of Happiness,” Dr. Sonja Lyubomirsky, has found that happiness is largely genetic, but it’s also within our control.
A pioneer in her field of study, Lyubomirsky has spent the last 25 years unlocking the secrets to living a happier life. Her work has been recognized worldwide and she received a $1 million grant from the National Institute of Mental Health in the United States to study the possibilities of permanently increasing happiness. While it has an elusive connotation, happiness is comprised of what Lyubomirsky calls “positive emotions,” such as serenity and joy, as well as “a sense that life is good” and progressing towards one’s life goals.
Dr. Sonja Lyubomirsky joins Full Frame’s Mike Walter to explain how she measures happiness and why happy people are also the world’s most productive, creative, and successful people.
In-Depth: Using Technology to Improve Emotional Intelligence
Dr. Edgar Breso, associate professor at Universitat Jaume I in Castellon, Spain, is one of the creators of The Mobile Emotional Intelligence Test (MEIT) app. The app is being used by people around the world to gauge and improve their emotional intelligence, and the data it collects can map how emotionally competent people are worldwide — and rank a country’s overall emotional literacy.
According to Breso, being emotionally intelligent is not equivalent to being emotional, but rather it’s about understanding and perceiving what we are feeling and what others are feeling. He says that by using technology to develop and enhance our emotional competencies, we can grow to become better and more empathetic human beings.
Dr. Edgar Breso joins Full Frame from Valencia, Spain to demonstrate the MEIT app and discuss the real-world applications of using technology to measure and improve emotional intelligence.
Close Up: The Low-Tech Approach to Weaving Happiness into our Surroundings
While the tech boom continues to grow in Silicon Valley, Lorna and Jill Watt are enhancing the beauty of their hometown without the help of any electronic gadgets. Armed with colorful balls of knitting yarn, the two creative sisters are using the streets of San Francisco as their canvas to create whimsical street art. It’s called “yarn bombing” and you can’t help but smile when you see the finished creations.
When they least expect it, resident of San Francisco may find themselves laughing at a tree that’s dressed like a squid or dropping an envelope into a mailbox that has wooly claw feet. Full Frame follows Lorna and Jill Watt on their latest yarn bombing effort to see how it all knits together.
Yarnbombing: The new street art
Crochet and design sister pair Lorna and Jill Watt are avid yarn bombers based in California. Yarn bomber Lorna Watt's company, Knits for Life, centers on surprising knitting & crochet designs. Sister Jill Watt's company, the Dapper Toad, also specializes in knitting patterns and participates in yarnbomb “graffiti”.
Interactive map by Du Yubin; tips graphic by Daniel Matthews; slideshow by Isbella Diaz.