Your intelligence quotient--the level of ability with which you process information--is undoubtedly important when it comes to your work, but it's far from being the most valuable factor for creative success.

What's more valuable than having a high IQ is having a balance of what I refer to as "ICE."

Think of ICE as a dynamic pyramid, consisting of relationships between three separate mental quotients which, when working in unison, strengthen your ability to think critically, discover new ideas, and take action. The three quotients that make up ICE are:

  • IQ, your intelligence quotient
  • CQ, or curiosity quotient (your ability to gain knowledge and perspective over time)
  • EQ, or emotional quotient  (your ability to perceive and utilize emotions)

Having a high level in one quotient (like intelligence) can be beneficial, but it's less impactful than having a balance between all three. Having a balance between intelligence, curiosity, and empathy means you're more able to empathize and understand problems, utilize existing knowledge to conceptualize solutions, and overcome risks in order to execute on ideas. It's worth noting these same traits exist in some of the greatest minds, from Einstein and Edison, to Elon Musk, Marissa Mayer, and Richard Branson.

Why does EQ and CQ matter just as much as IQ? Dr. Tomas Chamorro-Premuzic, Professor of Business Psychology at University College London and Columbia University, explains the benefits of EQ and CQ:

"...People with higher EQ tend to be more entrepreneurial, so they are more proactive at exploiting opportunities, taking risks, and turning creative ideas into actual innovations.

CQ leads to higher levels of intellectual investment and knowledge acquisition over time, especially in formal domains of education, such as science and art... Knowledge and expertise, much like experience, translate complex situations into familiar ones, so CQ is the ultimate tool to produce simple solutions for complex problems."

Additionally, Laszlo Bock, Google's Senior Vice President of People Operations, says when Google is looking to hire someone, they don't necessarily look at IQ, but at a more comprehensive ability:

"For every job, the No. 1 thing we look for is general cognitive ability, and it's not I.Q. It's learning ability. It's the ability to process on the fly. It's the ability to pull together disparate bits of information."

What does ICE mean for you?

While IQ is something we are more or less stuck with up through young adulthood and into old age, CQ and EQ are traits we can actively improve over time.

Improve your CQ

To develop your curiosity quotient is an exercise in your ability to view the world, problems, and even boredom, as opportunities to explore and learn.

Reading often and broadly, traveling (whether it's across the globe or simply to a new coffee shop), and asking dumb questions, are all great places to start. However, the most impactful way to develop your curiosity quotient is to consistently ask questions, even about things you already know the answers to.

As Albert Einstein once stated: "The important thing is not to stop questioning."

Improve your EQ

To develop emotional quotient is a bit more difficult than developing your CQ, but it is possible. To do so, you must develop your ability to connect and interact with other people, in what author Roman Krznaric calls outrospection.

Cultivate a curiosity for strangers and their behaviors, imagine yourself in other people's lives, and challenge your own prejudices. Or consider these three habits which have shown