A Crood Way of Looking at Emotional Intelligence
Dreamworks latest animated film “The Croods” opened as the #1 movie in North America this past weekend. The movie follows caveman Grug and his family of Neanderthals as they must adapt to a quickly changing environment that challenges his limited thinking capacity and his approach to survival. As he repeatedly tells his family “new is dangerous” and “never not be afraid.”
But Grug’s philosophy is challenged and changed by both environmental shifts as earthquakes and volcanoes destroy their safe cave and by his own family. In a search for safety, Grug’s teen daughter Eep and her slightly-more evolved friend Guy show that being open to new things can be more rewarding than hiding in a cave.
I doubt the movie’s producers spent much time studying the components of intelligence, but the movie’s premise and journey do reflect how emotional intelligence can help people thrive in an ever-changing environment.
The Behavioral Emotional Intelligence (BEQ) model describes the competencies associated with thriving in the face of change. This includes emotional awareness, self-confidence, and empathy/openness. These internal emotional management processes are then projected into the external world and manifested as self-control, stress-management, optimism, flexibility, etc. That Eep’s EQ is dramatically higher than her father’s, makes for fun entertainment if not evolutionary accuracy. Our ability to deal with change has developed over millenia, not a single generation.
Though this film is set in the prehistoric era, the importance of emotional intelligence still rings true today. Studies have shown that, in the workplace, EQ competencies account for the difference between star performers and average performers, particularly in positions of leadership. The good news is that emotional intelligence can be learned and developed.
And if movies about semi-intelligent characters appeal to you, Die Hard 5 is still playing and Jackass 4 will be out later this year.