Emotional intelligence is more than a hot topic or trending hashtag. The term describes an extremely important concept: 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. This quality greatly enhances your efforts to achieve success--in many areas of life.
So how do you develop emotional intelligence? As with any skill, you must study and practice. Here are 5 TED Talks that will help you increase self-awareness and start targeting areas for improvement.
1. Kelly McGonigal: How to make stress your friend
In this open and honest talk, psychologist Kelly McGonigal admits a fundamental change in her thinking regarding stress. She recounts that for years she taught others what sounds like a completely reasonable theory: Stress makes people sick. But then she shares the research that got her thinking differently: Stress may only be bad for you if you believe that it's bad for you.
McGonigal encourages us to see stress as a positive, and introduces us to the resulting benefits in doing so. She also teaches us how reaching out to others--either when we're under stress or when they are--helps build resilience.
2. Arianna Huffington: How to succeed? Get more sleep
You know Ms. Huffington as the co-founder and editor-in-chief of the Huffington Post, as well as an accomplished author and businesswoman.
In four compelling (and very funny) minutes, Ms. Huffington shares a personal experience that led to a personal discovery. In doing so, she urges us to take a closer look at the benefits of getting enough rest--and gives new meaning to the phrase "sleeping your way to the top".
3. Laura Trice: The power of saying thank you
There are few phrases in the English language that match the power of these two words: thank you.
In a simple (yet profound) three-minute talk, Dr. Laura Trice shares with us the potential of those two words to change relationships, along with the reasons why we don't hear the phrase as often as we should, and why we shouldn't be afraid to ask someone else to say it.
4. Daniel Goleman: Why aren't we more compassionate?
Daniel Goleman is a psychologist and award-winning author who greatly contributed to the popularity of EQ through his 1995 best-selling book Emotional Intelligence.
By brilliantly mixing scientific research and absorbing anecdotes, Goleman delves into the theme question with gusto. In doing so, he inspires us to think about the society we've created, what influences our perspective, and how we can do better. (His concluding story is eye-opening, to say the least.)
5. Mandy Len Catron: Falling in love is the easy part
I almost didn't include this one, but in the end I couldn't resist. It's true, the title might not speak to an audience of entrepreneurs and business owners. But the insights Ms. Catron provide go much further than finding romantic love.
In exploring the differences between falling and staying in love, Ms. Catron teaches important lessons about how we get to know others on a deeper level. Even more importantly, she raises thoughtful questions that each of us would do well to ponder. When we do, we are reminded of what it takes to maintain our most important relationships.
Upon reflection, we realize that developing emotional intelligence may not be easy--but it's definitely worth it.