Why Your EQ Is Your Most Valuable Superpower

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In your favorite childhood cartoons, there always seemed to be one character who stood out from the rest. In a cast where one is sporty, one is brainy, one is funny, and so on, you'd inevitably also have the character who's all about heart. The animators and scriptwriters may have been on to something, corny as it might sound.

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Researchers at Indiana University have just released a study with some pretty significant findings for self-starters and other entrepreneurial types. Whether you're working for yourself, working within a company, or running your own business, you probably rely on what you think of as your IQ for most of your successes. But emotional intelligence, rather than straight-up intellect, may actually be more responsible for your wins than anything else.

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"Emotional intelligence is linked to social skills such as accurately perceiving other's needs, making good first impressions, and influencing others in interpersonal interactions," according to the study. Another, simpler way to understand it: "the ability to understand, use, and manage emotions to relieve stress." This matches up with earlier data about the importance of cultivating your soft skills on the job.

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If you're a deeply analytical type and these results make you a little nervous, don't worry: Because emotional intelligence relies on skills and observation, it can be learned and improved upon just like any other task or behavior. Emotional intelligence is also likely to help you be better at your job's core functions, which means entrepreneur or not, you're measurably better off with more of it.

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