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Positive Intelligence: Why Only 20% of Teams and Individuals Achieve Their True Potential and How You Can Achieve Yours by Shirzad Chamine

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PQ stands for Positive Intelligence Quotient. Your PQ is your Positive Intelligence score, expressed as a percentage, ranging from 0 to 100.

Your PQ is the percentage of time your mind is acting as your friend rather than as your enemy; in other words, it is the percentage of time your mind is serving you versus sabotaging you. A PQ of 75 means that your mind is serving you about 75 percent of the time and is sabotaging you about 25 percent of the time. Note the periods of time when your mind is in neutral territory are not counted.

A PQ score of 75 is a critical tipping point. Above it, you are generally being uplifted by the internal
dynamics of the mind, and below it you are constantly being dragged down by those dynamics. Eighty percent of individuals and teams score below this critical PQ tipping point. And that is why 80 percent of individuals and teams fall far short of achieving their true potential for success and happiness.

You will hear the common assumption that we need to work hard so we can succeed, then we can be happy. In reality, increasing your PQ results in greater happiness and performance, leading to greater success. Success without happiness is possible with low PQ. But the only path to greater success with lasting happiness is through high PQ.

There are ten common mental saboteurs, which can potentially hinder you from achieving high PQ.  Most people have two or three of these ‘saboteurs’ traits that are stronger for them, not all them are present in everyone but it is useful as each individual tends to have several of them.  

The Judge is the master Saboteur, the one everyone suffers from. It compels you to constantly find faults with yourself, others, and your conditions and circumstances. This generates much of your anxiety, stress, anger, disappointment, shame, and guilt. Its self-justifying lie is that without it, you
or others would turn into lazy and unambitious beings who would not achieve much. Its voice is therefore often mistaken as a tough-love voice of reason rather than the destructive Saboteur it actually is.

The Stickler is the need for perfection, order, and organization taken too far. It makes you and others around you anxious and uptight. It saps your own or others’ energy on extra measures of perfection that are not necessary. It also causes you to live in constant frustration with yourself and others over things not being perfect enough. Its lie is that perfectionism is always good and that you don’t pay a huge price for it.

The Pleaser compels you to try to gain acceptance and affection by helping, pleasing, rescuing, or flattering others constantly. It causes you to lose sight of your own needs and become resentful of others as a result. It also encourages others to become overly dependent on you. Its lie is that you are pleasing others because it is a good thing to do, denying that you are really trying to win affection and acceptance indirectly.

The Hyper-Achiever makes you dependent on constant performance and achievement for self-respect and self-validation. It keeps you focused mainly on external success rather than on internal criteria for happiness. It often leads to unsustainable workaholic tendencies and causes you to fall out of touch with deeper emotional and relationship needs. Its lie is that your self-acceptance should be conditional on performance and external validation.

The Victim wants you to feel emotional and temperamental as a way of gaining attention and affection. It results in an extreme focus on internal feelings, particularly painful ones, and can often result in a martyr streak. The consequences are that you waste your mental and emotional energy, and others feel frustrated, helpless, or guilty that they can never make you happy for long. The Victim’s lie is that assuming the victim or martyr persona is the best way to attract caring and attention for yourself.

The Hyper-Rational involves an intense and exclusive focus on the rational processing of everything, including relationships. It causes you to be impatient with people’s emotions and regard emotions as unworthy of much time or consideration. When under the influence of the Hyper-Rational, you can be perceived as cold, distant, or intellectually arrogant. It limits your depth and flexibility in relationships at work or in your personal life and intimidates less analytically minded people. Its lie is that the rational mind is the most important and helpful form of intelligence that you possess.

The Hyper-Vigilant makes you feel intense and continuous anxiety about all the dangers surrounding you and what could go wrong. It is constantly vigilant and can never rest. It results in a great deal of ongoing stress that wears you and others down. Its lie is that the dangers around you are bigger than they actually are and that nonstop vigilance is the best way to tackle them.

The Restless is constantly in search of greater excitement in the next activity or through perpetual busyness. It doesn’t allow you to feel much peace or contentment with your current activity. It gives you a never-ending stream of distractions that make you lose your focus on the things and relationships that truly matter. Other people have a difficult time keeping up with the person ruled by The Restless and often feel distanced from him or her. Its lie is that by being so busy you are living life fully, but it ignores the fact that in pursuit of a full life you miss out on your life as it is happening.

The Controller runs on an anxiety-based need to take charge, control situations, and bend people’s actions to one’s own will. It generates high anxiety and impatience when that is not possible. In the Controller’s world view, you are either in control or out of control. While the Controller allows you to get short term results, in the long run it generates resentment in others and prevents them from exercising and developing their own fullest capabilities. Its lie is that you need the Controller to generate the best results from the people around you.

The Avoider focuses on the positive and the pleasant in an extreme way. It avoids difficult and unpleasant tasks and conflicts. It leads you to the habits of procrastination and conflict avoidance. It results in damaging eruptions in festering conflicts that have been sidestepped and causes delays in
getting things done. Its lie is that you are being positive, not avoiding your problems.

To counteract saboteurs, which represent your internal enemies you have ‘the sage’, which represents the deeper and wiser part of you. It is the part that can rise above the fray and resist getting carried away by the drama and tension of the moment or falling victim to the lies of the Saboteurs. Its perspective on any challenge you are facing is that it is either already a gift and opportunity or could
be actively turned into one.

The five great powers of the sage to meet any challenge are:

(1) Explore with great curiosity and an open mind

(2) Empathize with yourself and others, bringing compassion and understanding to any situation

(3) Innovate and create new perspectives and outside-the-box solutions

(4) Navigate and choose a path that best aligns with your deeper underlying values and mission

(5) Activate and take decisive action without the distress, interference, or distractions of the Saboteurs.

The most effective strategy to weaken your Saboteurs is to simply observe and label your Saboteur thoughts or feelings every time you notice them.

It is possible to perform PQ reps to build up you score, try do this regularly and be prompted to do this when performing activities such as going to the bathroom.  Also try to perform a PQ rep whenever you become aware of your Saboteurs.  A PQ rep it is essentially being mindful, in the moment appreciating your body and the surroundings.  You could become aware of your body, the weight of your body on your feet as you stand up from your chair.  Deliberately feeling the carpet or floor under your feet as you walk. Appreciate the temperature of the room and texture and feel of objects in it. All the while, keep letting go of the many thoughts that try to distract you during this minute.

It is of note if you build up PQ in one aspect of life will help other areas in your life.
When playing sports it is worthwhile trying to get as many PQ reps in as possible right before and
during the game. This might take the form of feeling the temperature, texture, or weight of the club or racket for a few breaths, seeing the spin of the ball as it comes toward you, feeling the breeze on your face, or just simply observing your breath as often as you can during the game. When you hear Saboteur voices making you anxious about your performance, keep labelling them and letting them go.

Ask yourself: How would I wish I had performed this role at the end of my career, looking back? Asking such a question might help you decide that developing your team members is far more important to your long-term sense of fulfilment.

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