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Want to Raise Your EQ? Play Poker

You’ve probably taken an IQ test at some point in your life, but have you ever taken an EQ test? While IQ is intelligence quotient, EQ stands for emotional quotient, also known as emotional intelligence. And let’s just say that having a high emotional intelligence quotient is as important as having a high IQ when it comes to achieving success.

In his best-selling book, “Emotional Intelligence: Why It Can Matter More Than IQ,” author Daniel Goleman, Ph.D., details study after study that prove people who have cultivated high emotional intelligence will be more successful than those with just high IQs. He also believes that businesses should pay attention to this fact when recruiting employees.

“By teaching people to tune in to their emotions with intelligence and to expand their circles of caring,” Goleman states on his website, “we can transform organizations from the inside out and make a positive difference in our world.”

So, what exactly is emotional intelligence, and why is it so important to achieving higher levels of success? How can learning to play poker actually increase your EQ?

What is emotional intelligence?

The New Oxford American Dictionary defines the emotional intelligence quotient as “the capacity to be aware of, control, and express one’s emotions, and to handle interpersonal relationships judiciously and empathetically.”

Your EQ is the way you handle your emotions in a positive, productive manner. We all know how hard it can be to control our own emotions, especially during difficult situations. Cultivating emotional intelligence allows us to process heated situations in real time and to better manage our responses. It replaces the typical knee-jerk reaction with intelligent, calm, and well-thought-out rebuttals.

Why is emotional intelligence essential for success?

The emotional intelligence quotient makes you a better communicator. It also teaches you to be more empathetic toward others and creates a safe space for relationships to deepen within professional or personal spaces. People with high levels of emotional intelligence are the peacemakers of the world. They’re effective communicators, teachers, therapists, and managers. Their thoughtful approach allows them the capacity for deeper understanding, rather than simply seeking to respond.

Imagine having the emotional discipline and tact to think about what you actually want to say before you say it, to consider the consequences before blurting out the first thing that comes to mind. With emotional intelligence, you train your emotions to work for you instead of against you.

In the book, “The Emotionally Intelligent Manager,” David R. Caruso and Peter Salovey expand on the importance of finding healthy and productive ways to express emotions, particularly in a work environment. They believe being aware of and in touch with our emotions helps us make good decisions and communicate better with co-workers by showing empathy and understanding.

Caruso and Salovey pinpoint four specific skills needed for a high emotional intelligence quotient:

  • Identifying your emotions
  • Using your emotions to facilitate your thinking
  • Understanding your emotions
  • Managing your emotions

By practicing these four principles in a corporate environment, a person can exercise and increase their emotional intelligence muscle, while interacting with co-workers and team members to solve difficult problems in the workplace.

Learning to tune in to, understand, and manage your emotional responses can also make you healthier, both mentally and physically. The higher your EQ, the more capable you are of handling stress and knowing when you need to take a break.

How does learning to play poker raise your EQ?

Everyone knows that to win at poker, you need to have a good poker face. This requires you to keep your emotions in check at all times. Otherwise, other players at the table will be able to read your reactions, your emotional tells. Emotional discipline is needed to help control your emotional responses, as well as to read other players’ reactions and their tells. It works both ways. Nonverbal communication is just one of the many skills you pick up at the poker table that also makes you more emotionally intelligent.

Another way learning to play poker can raise your emotional intelligence quotient is through critical thinking. Poker is a game of skill, logic, and discipline. If you play emotionally, you’re going to lose. Emotional intelligence plays a big part in critical thinking. It demands you look at everything that is going on around you, carefully analyze the situation, and then offer your next move.

Even risk management is something you learn at the poker table that can increase your EQ. Taking the time to consider the repercussions of your actions by coming up with a calculated response based on facts and logic, as opposed to emotion, can help you win a hand of poker or bring down the temperature of an argument with a co-worker or loved one. It can even prevent that argument from happening in the first place.

Cultivating emotional intelligence will not only help you become a better poker player, it can also help you become a better teammate, parent, partner, and human being in general. No matter how smart you are, a high EQ will always get you further in life.

Why not start raising your EQ right now with our free poker classes? Or, if you’re an organization looking to increase communication and teamwork skills for your employees, check out our corporate workshops.

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