For all the emphasis that has historically been placed on IQ scores, success and happiness in one’s life and career may be as dependent (if not more), on emotional intelligence – or EQ (wait…what is emotional intelligence, exactly?).

And as you may have noticed, I’ve been on a bit of an emotional intelligence kick as of late.

From cultivating our optimistic side

to listening to recordings of ourselves without wanting to curl up into the fetal position…

to taking ourselves less seriously at times so we can shift to a more productive state of mind…

to laughing as a means of relieving stress and managing our emotional state…

emotional intelligence is a skill, and hopefully you’ve had a chance to flex your EQ muscles a bit in recent weeks.

Don’t get me wrong, there is far more to emotional intelligence than simply cultivating the ability to laugh or remaining positive. At times, I believe we may even need to experience negative emotions in order to get to where we want to go. Nevertheless, humor can be a powerful asset in our emotional intelligence toolbox.

To that end, we ran a laughing contest last week to see if we could make each other smile by posting favorite video clips, blog posts, and comic strips that elicited a positive emotional response.

I promised to give away five copies of the iOS tuner app Cleartune to the five funniest submissions, so based on your votes and my own favorites, here are the five winners:

1. Julia with Infomercial People

2: Mel with Ode to Sleep Deprived Parents

3: James with Jessica’s Daily Affirmations

4: Kate with Sneaky Hate Spirals

5: Debbie with Simon’s Cat

(Julia, Mel, James, Kate, and Debbie – I’ll be in touch shortly!)

Take action

If you’d like to learn more about emotional intelligence and its role in our lives, the seminal book in this area is Daniel Goleman’s Emotional Intelligence.

About Noa Kageyama, Ph.D.

Performance psychologist and Juilliard alumnus & faculty member Noa Kageyama teaches musicians how to beat performance anxiety and play their best under pressure through live classes, coachings, and an online home-study course. Based in NYC, he is married to a terrific pianist, has two hilarious kids, and is a wee bit obsessed with technology and all things Apple.

After Countless Hours of Practice, Why Are Performances Still so Hit or Miss?

It’s not a talent issue. And that rush of adrenaline and emotional roller coaster you experience before performances is totally normal too.

Performing at the upper ranges of your ability under pressure is a unique skill – one that requires specific mental skills and a few tweaks in your approach to practicing. Elite athletes have been learning these techniques for decades; if nerves and self-doubt have been recurring obstacles in your performances, I’d like to help you do the same.

Click below to discover the 7 skills that are characteristic of top performers. Learn how you can develop these into strengths of your own. And begin to see tangible improvements in your playing that transfer to the stage.