Our IQ ostensibly measures our intelligence. Problem is that nobody has demonstrated that our ability to do puzzles and math problems on paper within a certain time frame really shows anything useful about us. IQ tests just show how well we do puzzles and math problems.
Up until the mid-1990s people had several rival theories about why IQ seemed such a poor indication of success. People with average IQs often did far better than those with exceptional IQs, even as lower IQ persons almost always did poorly. The answer seems to be the emotional intelligence of a person.
Emotional intelligence is one of those answers that remains slightly intangible. But it can be divided into two connected competencies – social ability and personal ability. These can both be further divided into awareness and management. People who have these four components working well, who have good emotional awareness and management at personal and social levels, are inclined to do well in any pursuit that interests them, though they still need at least some normal (IQ) intelligence.
Unlike IQ which tends to stay constant, or can only be improved through years of neuro-training, emotional intelligence is a learnable skill. We tend to increase emotional intelligence through social interaction and through introspection. Meditation, learning to be more aware of one-self, even just being honest with oneself, all benefit emotional intelligence. In every field and occupation known emotional intelligence is a very good indication of success.
The answer should not be a surprise. Emotional intelligence is just a name given to a set of skills always thought of as being important. The interconnectedness of those skills has largely gone unnoticed, but is should be no surprise that social skills and self-management are important to any form of success, personal or otherwise. Good news is that we can cultivate our emotional intelligence. And emotional intelligence allows us to make the best use of our other intellectual abilities.