“Life is a shipwreck, but we must not forget to sing in the lifeboats.”
Voltaire (1694 – 1778)
We all self-sabotage from time to time, and it can be so automatic that we don’t even realize it. However, when this rather destructive thinking continues, it causes us to flounder and draws us further into negativity and self-defeat. If at some point it hits you full force, the concept of Positive Intelligence™ might be helpful. I am delighted to introduce it to you. You will see that it is quite easy to reprogram your brains and strengthen our positivity.
What is Positive Intelligence™?
Positive Intelligence™ (PQ) describes how our mind acts in our best interest. In his book, “Positive Intelligence™: Why only 20% of Teams and Individuals Achieve their True Potential”, Shirzad Chamine explains that PQ is an indicator of the control you have over your own mind. The good news is that positivity is a skill we can increase. Perhaps, it is the most important life skill that we have left behind in our quest to achieve and conquer and call it success. How can we go about acquiring PQ?
Shirzad Chamine is best known for his development of the Positive Intelligence™ theory. He argues that PQ is based on research from performance science, neuroscience, and cognitive and positive psychology.
Our brains are hard wired for negativity. This goes back to our Stone Age ancestors, who had to be constantly on guard against attacks. Attacks from dangerous animals, impending bad weather, or threats from other tribes. This tendency toward negativity has stayed with us (aka negativity bias), and we naturally focus on negative things, looking for problems and often overreacting when they occur.
Recent research on neuroplasticity – the brain’s ability to change even in adulthood – has found that new pathways emerge in the brain when we develop new habits.
Impact of Positive Intelligence™
In his book, Shirzad Chamine presents some important research findings on the impact of PQ:
- In studies of more than 275,000 people, higher PQ led to higher pay and more success in career, marriage, health, sociability, friendship, and creativity.
- Higher-PQ workers take fewer sick days and are less likely to become burned out or quit.
- Project teams with managers with higher PQ perform 31% better on average, all other factors being equal.
- Higher PQ leads to improved immune system function, lower levels of stress-related hormones, lower blood pressure, less pain, fewer colds, better sleep, and a lower likelihood of developing hypertension, diabetes, or strokes.
No surprise, people who cultivate a positive mind-set perform better in the face of challenge.
What are the two states of our mind?
The Positive Intelligence™ quotient is used as a measure of mental fitness. It indicates the percentage of the time our brain is positive and able to thrive – an important factor in reaching our full potential. The positive mode of our brain is referred to as Sage. Sage describes a state in which we are in contact with our inner resources and act out of our strength without fear or stress, think in a solution-oriented manner, are in appreciative contact with our fellow human beings, and make effective and sustainable decisions.
PQ measures the strength of positive mental muscles (Sage) compared to negative ones (Saboteurs). Self-command is a person’s ability to strengthen their Sage and dampen their Saboteurs. PQ reflects your mental fitness (and vice versa). It describes the relationship of the Sage to the Saboteurs.
Shirzad Chamine describes Saboteurs as habitual thought patterns that respond to challenges and generate negative emotions. You may experience stress, disappointment, regret, anger, guilt, shame, and worry. The counterpart of the Saboteurs is the Sage who overcomes challenges through positive emotions. These can be empathy, gratitude, creativity, curiosity, confidence, clarity, and getting into action.
Positive Intelligence™ can be a game changer
PQ is a measure of what percentage of the time someone is in positive or wise thinking mode. This can be measured. PQ could be one of the most important factors in determining and achieving your potential. To measure your PQ, please go to the PQ Assessment at https://www.positiveintelligence.com/Saboteurs/.
Your PQ score can range from 0 to 100. For example, a PQ of 75 means you are productive and constructive with your thoughts ¾ of the time in your daily life and are in self-sabotage mode ¼ of the time. A value of 75 is a critical threshold. When your PQ score is 75 or higher, your positive thinking is on your side and giving you energy to get your act together.
There are ten inner Saboteurs
The Judge is the universal master for all people and the Saboteur that commonly haunts everyone. That being said, not everyone is affected by all ten Saboteurs at the same time and in the same way.
These are the ten inner Saboteurs:
- Judge: Fault finding with self, others, or circumstances.
- Victim: Focus on painful feeling as way of earning empathy and attention.
- Pleaser: Pleasing, flattering, rescuing others to gain acceptance.
- Avoider: Procrastinate or avoid difficult tasks or conflicts, focus on the pleasant.
- Stickler: Need for perfection, order, and organization taken too far.
- Restless: Never at rest or content with what is, needing perpetual busyness.
- Controller: Anxiety-based need to control situations and bend others to own will.
- Hyper-Achiever: Dependent on achievement for self-acceptance and self-love.
- Hyper-Rational: Rational processing of everything including relationships.
- Hyper-Vigilant: Vigilance that can never rest, seeing danger in every corner.
Where do you find yourselves? The good news is that Saboteurs are not static or fixed for life. They can be changed and weakened, strengthening the Sage.
Boost your mental fitness
Coaching around Positive Intelligence™ helps strengthen mental fitness, weaken Saboteurs, and strengthen the Sage. It involves small, simple exercises that can be quickly integrated into everyday work and are very effective. They are designed to strengthen access to our wise brain. Coaching and reflection help build these routines.
Mental fitness affects three areas:
- Saboteurs Interceptor Muscle: Saboteurs generate negative emotions, including stress, anxiety, self-doubt, avoidance, etc. Mental fitness is the ability to intercept the Saboteurs.
- Sage Muscle: The Sage handles challenges with a clear, calm mind and positive emotions. This muscle has access to your 5 primary powers.
- Self-Command Muscle: Strengthening the self-command muscle allows us to silence the Saboteurs. With self-command, you can push away self-doubts, recover from disappointments immediately, and spend little time in anger, regret, or blame.
Training our brains for more positivity is not so different from training our muscles in the gym. Learn more about Inspired Executives’ PQ Coach program.
Ready to develop new habits and curious to experiment?
A quick tip to try: The first step to gaining PQ is to increase your empathy for yourself and others. Then focus on your creativity and give yourself a chance to explore and innovate. Direct your focus on consistently making and acting upon decisions based on your core values. Finally, focus your attention on discovering positivity; write down three to five positive things you have experienced each day. This will train your brains. Try it out and sense the effect.
Build your mental fitness by developing strong routines. We’d love to support you in this! Learn more about the Positive Intelligence™ Program for Leaders with Inspired Executives . As always, we are just an email away at Annette@Inspired-Executives.com or a phone call +49 162 240 4002. We look forward to working with you on your PQ.