“If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.” African Proverb

In 2006, just 11 years after his international phenomenon “Emotional Intelligence — Why it can matter more than IQ”, Daniel Goleman wrote “Social Intelligence: The New Science of Human Relationships”, a groundbreaking synthesis of the latest findings in biology and brain science. In this book, he unravels how we are “wired to connect” and the surprisingly profound impact of our relationships on every aspect of our lives.

For many of us, our schooling and formative years entrenched a belief system that we are largely valued because of what we can do and achieve. We are rewarded for skills learnt, information retained, and knowledge applied. This is our intellectual intelligence (IQ), and until Goleman wrote his 1995 book, emotional intelligence (EQ) was pretty much only engaged within scientific circles. His book elevated the awareness that emotional intelligence is crucial in leadership and personal development. 

The early 2000s saw substantial growth in leadership and self-help books that focussed on EQ. Goleman’s rubric for EQ development looks at five key abilities: self-awareness, self-regulation, motivation, empathy and social skills. When it comes to working with money, planning, self-improvement, these are great areas on which to focus, but our growth doesn’t end there. As we look beyond ourselves we start to engage with our social intelligence (SQ).

Social intelligence began to blossom into greater focus after Goleman’s 2006 book and it’s probably no coincidence that social media has grown in exactly the same period. Our conferences and global summits on climate change, equality and sustainability have become significantly more prevalent conversations over the last decade, even though they’ve been issues of concern for many decades.

SQ is about a new mindset, where we grow as much as others grow, exponentially, where we think distributed and not centralized, where the impact we have in our communities is equal or more important than our academic degrees, job positions and accumulated wealth.

It’s possibly also a major reason why our approach to financial planning, investing and risk assessment has matured to encompass far more than mere numbers. Corporations and companies now see themselves as citizens inside of the communities in which they operate, and governments are creating laws and legislations to allow greater inclusivity. All of these small changes have allowed us more space to engage with the social intelligence of our communities, which contribute a large part to our identity. Yuval Noah Harari often speaks to this in his books when he comments on nationalism, religion, culture and commerce. All the agreed-upon systems that help us cooperate in the billions – countries working with other countries.

When we seek to make a difference with what we have, as part of who we are, we can engage deeper with our wealthspace: finances, time, health and social. This is how we live beyond ourselves and tap into our legacy and the well-being of all around us so that we can all thrive.