IQ and character quotient

Koreans have a tendency to rely strongly on the results of Intelligence Quotient (IQ) tests, though to a lesser degree now than in the past. IQ tests an individual on language, arithmetic, abstract-reasoning or spatial imagery and if the score is over 130, the person is considered bright and if the score is over 140, the person is considered a genius. However, it has been demonstrated many times thatachievinga high score on an IQ test does not really correlate with the score’s success in life and achievements.

One of the well-known studies related to this issue is that of Lewis Terman of Stanford University. He performed IQ testing of 250,000 elementary and middle school student who were considered to be bright and selected 1500 students who scored more than 140. Afterwards, he followed these students for several decades. The result was there were not any great achievers from this group. Of course, there were some successful persons. However, when he compared the results for those for normal-scoring students, there was not a significant difference. In addition, there were two students whose IQs were not high enough to be included into the select group of 1500 students, butwho later became Novel Prize recipients.

Largely because of this study, it is now known that the level of a person’s IQ does not really influence his/her achievement in life. Of course, if IQ is very low, there could be a problem. However, if IQ is around 110, the results in life will be about the same. Also, acceptance to an Ivy Leagueschool does not necessarily correlate to success rate. There are many Nobel Prize recipients from famous colleges but also many are from not so famous colleges. Therefore, what will be the main factor for success in life? Howard Gardner claims that the key is ‘multiple intelligence’ which is not measured by any IQ test. For a person to be successful in the fields of math, logic, sports or music, he/she needs character quotient along with talent.

Character quotient can be divided into two parts. First is an ability to understand oneself and the second is the ability to understand others. The most important factor of self-understanding is the ability to control one’s emotions. When one can accurately understand one’s own emotional state and able to steer it into a desirable direction, one’s character quotient is high. On the other hand, the ability to understand others is to discern the state of other people’s emotions and be able to influence their emotional state. Basically, if one can control oneself, be considerate toward others and have good relationships with others, and manage conflict well, he/she has a high probability to be successful in life.

Based on this, we can see why Jesus considered relationships so important and talked a lot about serving and being a servant. As we raise our children, it is important to develop their talents, but at the same time, it is equally important to raise children so that they will be able to control themselves and be considerate towards others.

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