Emotional intelligence (EQ) describes a person's ability to recognize his or her own and other people's emotions, to understand the powerful effect of these emotions, and to use that information to guide thinking and behavior. You can imagine why this quality greatly increases one's chances to achieve success.

A couple of weeks ago, I published a list of five brilliant TED talks that have helped me increase my own self-awareness and target areas for improvement. Response was amazing, with thousands of readers sharing the article and reaching out to express appreciation.

So, here are five more of my favorites. (I'll be sharing more in the coming months, so if you're interested, make sure to sign up for my newsletter at the end of the column.)

1. Martin Pistorius: How my mind came back to life--and no one knew

I figured I'd start with a doozy. At 12 years of age, Martin Pistorius contracted a brain infection and lost the ability to communicate. His parents were told that, for all intents and purposes, he had become a "vegetable" and was no longer mentally aware. But in reality, Martin's mind had begun to knit itself back together. The problem? No one knew it.

This talk will make you cry, but it will also make you smile. Through it all, you'll learn the value of a simple smile, the remarkable power of the mind, and why it's important to look beyond the first impression.

2. Phil Hansen: Embrace the shake


When Phil Hansen developed a tremor in his hand that initially destroyed his dream of becoming an artist, he was devastated. But a neurologist's amazingly simple advice changed his life. (I guarantee you will be amazed at what resulted.)

Hansen's incredible 10-minute talk will help you to appreciate how the power of perspective can turn seemingly insurmountable obstacles into unexpected gifts.  

3. Taiye Selasi: Don't ask where I'm from, ask where I'm local


How do you answer the question, "Where are you from?" If you're like Taiye Selasi, you know that can be a challenging question. Selasi was born in England, grew up in the United States, and has lived and felt emotional connections to a number of other places, for various reasons.

In her search for an answer, Selasi challenges us to explore why we ask that question in the first place. In the process, she also helps us to see that we all share more in common than you might think.

4. BJ Miller: What really matters at the end of life


As a palliative care physician, BJ Miller is uniquely qualified to explore this topic. A gifted storyteller, Miller will fascinate, enlighten, and inspire you.  But this talk is much bigger than the difficult subject that Miller tackles.

It's an exercise in developing empathy and compassion for all with whom we work and  live with on a daily basis.

5. Brene Brown: The power of vulnerability


Dr. Brene Brown is world-famous for her studies on human connection. She describes herself as a researcher-storyteller, and this talk is a perfect example why.

In her years of research, Dr. Brown discovered that "vulnerability is the core of shame and fear and our struggle for worthiness, but it appears that it's also the birthplace of joy, of creativity, of belonging, of love." So, what gives?

With the perfect dose of humor, Brown's insightful talk will help you to see vulnerability, not as a weakness, but as an opportunity.