Monthly Archives: July 2020

The Value of EQ Has Peaked And Is Dropping Dramatically

Emotional Quotient (EQ) and Emotional Intelligence (also known as interpersonal intelligence) are incredibly important and will continue to be very important. However, until recently, it was THE most important type of intelligence. It’s not anymore. 

In the past, people with high EQ were rewarded with networks of people to leverage in deal-making. 

It makes sense that EQ was the dominant trait in a world previously dominated by: “it is not what you know, but who you know.” 

That was the world we lived in in the 20th Century — a world defined by middlemen and rent-seekers. The who-you-knows would put together two what-you-knows and take a transaction fee for their service. They were the brokers, bankers, agents, and management consultants – the ones using their high EQs to close deals and make sales. They were essential for society. 

business insider linkedin GIF

In most professions, people with high EQ would massively outperform people who had very high levels of other intelligence (like IQ, creativity, intra-intelligence [self-awareness], spiritual intelligence, physical intelligence, and more). Most of the highest paying jobs in the last 100 years relied heavily on EQ.

But, technology is now replacing “who you knows” with platforms that do the same job.

In the last few years, technology has replaced the “who-you-knows” faster than the “what-you-knows.” LinkedIn, Facebook, and Google (not to mention tons of other companies that are taking market share from middlemen) are far better connectors than anyone profiled in Malcolm Gladwell’s Tipping Point.

Linkedin GIF by Socialbakers

Upwork is another great example. This database has replaced most talent agencies and allows qualified freelancers to provide quotes, book jobs, and create for their clients 24/7/365. The “who you knows” used to control these client leads. Now, it’s handled by code (much to the delight of the creative community).

In this new world, EQ will remain essential but will not be as dominant as it once was. IQ also may decline a bit (as computers are taking over that area too). We’ll see a higher value placed on some of the other skills, traits, and intelligence like creativity, self-awareness, spiritual intelligence, and more.

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How Many Priorities Can You Have? Uhhhh … definitely not more than 100.

One simple way to increase productivity is to say no to any priorities that are not in your top 100. (note that a “priority” is everything, you spend more than a few hours doing per month). 

Whaaa?   “But I thought I can only have 3 priorities”

A lot of people say, “you can only have three priorities.” But everyone has way more.  Most people are juggling 300 things … not 100).  

In my opinion, each person you love is an individual priority. 

Maybe you’re fanatic about your sleep. If so, that’s a priority. 

If you binge-watch The Sopranos, that is a priority for you.

And yes, if you spend more than a few hours a month cleaning your house, it is a priority … your time does not lie.   

Photo byJESHOOTS.COM on Unsplash

I’m not talking about macro goals like “build a profitable startup.” There are many smaller projects and workstreams that go into a macro goal like that. 

Imagine if an invisible evil elf teleported to your home from the Planet Krytonii and secretly recorded your every move for the last few months.  What would Mr. Evil Elf have noted?  Those are your priorities … your time does not lie.

If you spend a few hours on something per month, it’s a priority.  

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Don’t Choose What To Do, Choose What Not To Do.

Photo by Kyle Glenn on Unsplash

The number one thing that smart people do wrong is that they overvalue optionality. Contrary to popular belief, you should put yourself in a small box and limit your options so that you are clear and focused. 

Optionality usually leads to a worse outcome than focus.

Almost every smart person disagrees with me on this, but you should eliminate options. 

Most super-smart people are doing the opposite: they are continually growing their options. Business school teaches you to open up options. Businesses that value optionality will start a few different products with the hope that one of the businesses will take off, or they’ll make multiple bets valuing portfolio theory over focus.

Having multiple strategies often means that a company isn’t investing enough in the most promising path. The best businesses are clearly focused and say “no” to almost everything. They deliberately cut off options, and they publicly declare that they will not go into business lines in the future (even when businesses are adjacent to their core market).

Focus is the act of eliminating options. 

Eschew optionality and instead focus on the one thing you want to do really, really well. Create a strategy and execute on that strategy. Don’t A/B test. Instead, be deterministic about what path will work and follow that path. A CEO might be wrong about the path, or the business might not execute. But without a deterministic path, you are leaving yourself vulnerable to the focused entrepreneur.

“The difference between successful people and really successful people is that really successful people say ‘no’ to almost everything.”

– Warren Buffett
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