IQ vs. AQ

I suppose that virtually all of us have at some time or other in our lifetimes taken some IQ test. Supposedly they are tests that can evaluate your Intelligence Quotient. IQ has always had high standing in the thinking of folks that if you are way up the scale then you must be an exceptional person. Truth is that you are an exceptional person when it comes to thinking abilities, problem solving abilities, and acquiring information abilities. Not everyone can do that, and not everyone lives in the high atmosphere of genius IQ.

Recent studies have been looking at what a lot of people have thought was extremely valuable long before some of the IQ people recognized it, and that is studying the EQ. Some of their findings showed that if you have a high EQ, it can be even better than having a superior IQ. The EQ stands for Emotional Quotient. It is that feature of human beings that make up a lot of pieces that form our lives that generally have to do with our relational skills, getting along with folks. That being said, you probably can think of some people who have tremendous IQs but can’t get along with family, friends, or even themselves. Their Emotional Quotient is out of kilter or out of whack.

From what the studies show, it’s hard for us to change our IQ and even our EQ, but more recently the AQ has come into play. Here some progress can be made, for AQ stands for Attitude Quotient. Attitude is certainly an interesting thing by definition. The attitude is the mental position in regard to a person or a fact or an issue. A person’s AQ can be very positive and confident, helping and encouraging others, or it can be a negative filled with antagonism that you can only say he or she has a bad attitude. It can fluctuate from one extreme to another, but it is interesting to note that for the most part, people lean toward a positive or a negative attitude one being more prominent than the other.

It is interesting to see attitudes in the Bible. It may be that the best known story that Jesus ever told, the Parable of the Prodigal Son, is in part a study of the attitudes of two boys, the older and the younger. In this powerful, simplistic, biblical story is a picture of virtually every family to some extent. You see in Luke 15 when Jesus tells us the story of the prodigal, that boy had a problem, an attitudinal problem. You can almost hear it when he comes to his father and the Scripture says he said to him, “Give me” (Luke 15:12). This self-centered, demanding attitude that is entitled and pushy can just ooze with all the features of a person with a bad attitude.

On the other hand, his older brother had an attitude problem himself. You remember when the prodigal who had been away in a far country, wasted everything, came back home. The father wanted to throw him a party and have a great time in welcoming his son who was dead and now alive. The older brother comes in from working hard out in the field and hears all the commotion. The fatted calf had been killed, the party has already started, and he would have nothing of it. He wouldn’t even go in the house to see his brother. And, oh, what an attitude he expressed. Mad at his dad, upset with all these folks coming and nobody had ever given him a party like that.

Now you put those two boys together and you begin to see that when a person has a bad AQ and then even tries to get it right, it’s hard to renew relationships that have been broken by the other person’s bad AQ. There are some thoughts about what is now being discovered about the AQ being so important.

One observation that I would make is that the Attitudinal Quotient is often felt more than it is seen. Not everyone wears their attitude on their shoulders like some people do, but it hardly takes any time for people to be around anyone whose attitude has gone sour, downhill, and rotten to realize that something is not right. They can be dressed up to the nines, put on a big smile as though everything was wonderful, and have a bad attitude and it begins to show in their facial expressions. You begin to pick up little emotional nuances that are in the air and at times even the way they walk or the way they are looking about the landscape, you know that something is not right. You can just feel it, even to the point that even if you were to ask somebody quietly off to the side, what’s his problem or her problem, they may ask you, how did you pick up on that? Well, attitude is powerful enough that you can feel it before you even see it.

A second thing that maybe we learn about AQ is that it is always more harmful to the person with the bad attitude than to the people that may be affected by it. Oh, it can hurt other people for sure, but it is more harmful to the person who has it and exhibits it. It is a cancer that they think they have under control. It is a crippling disease that they think nobody will notice. It does hurt other people, but the person who is living with it is living with a painful sickness that will sap strength and joy and purpose from their lives.

A third thing that is true about a bad attitude is that it can be explained away or explained into nothingness through deniability. People with bad attitudes always have a justification, a rationalization of why they are living with the attitude they’ve got. They were done wrong. Yes, that’s right. Somebody said something. Probably. Somebody else created their bad attitude through abuse or neglect. Could be.

Now I’m not sure if we can take a test to determine how good or bad our Attitude Quotient is, but the real test is day by day with the people you come in contact with, you live with, you work with, you go to church with. There is a consistency of what you unwittingly display that will either be a good or a bad attitude, a positive, uplifting, or a negative, destructive attitude. It will, for the most part, outweigh all the other quotients in your life.

Today, in all of our sin-touched and corrupted lives, only Jesus can enable us to have a new attitude, a right attitude, a positive God-honoring attitude that will also be displayed as we live for Him.

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Dr. Jim Futral

Executive Director-Treasurer