Emotional Intelligence (EQ) has been declining globally since systemic efforts were first made to begin measuring this quotient approximately one decade ago. The ‘State of the Heart’ report, which uses World Health Organization data to underpin its research, suggests that from 2011 to 2017, global EQ has declined by 5%. This trend is established across genders, generations and geographies. EQ is important in crafting and nurturing many of the qualities that have been most challenged by the COVID-19 pandemic, not least our ability to exercise optimism, engage intrinsic motivation and harness resiliency. EQ has a direct correlation with our personal wellbeing, effectiveness, relationships and quality of life; it also links compellingly to the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goal 3 (“Ensure healthy lives and promote wellbeing for all at all ages”)
The challenge that the COVID-19 pandemic has brought to bear on EQ around the world has been considerable, from children of all school-ages missing out on crucial, formative social experiences in physical classrooms to the heightened isolation of our elders in care-homes and other suddenly far less social residences. Yet the flip-side of such challenge is often opportunity: COVID-19 brought with it a unique opportunity for the world to pause and to reflect. It also served to sharpen certain necessities from whence we have derived enriching creativity, not least in the technical sphere as we grapple with the realities of an enforced ‘virtual’ world. We have now a rare opportunity to focus consciously, intentionally upon first halting and then reversing the global decline in EQ and to do so at every level, across genders, generations and geographies. We have it in our power and responsibility to shape a happier, more successful, more pandemic-resistant humanity.