Positive Intelligence is the science and practice of developing mastery over your own mind so you can reach your full potential for both happiness and success.
Every human has in him something called Self sabotage (Saboteurs) and Sage factors (serving factors) which work out the Positive Intelligence. Neuroscience proves it’s all in humans how they increase or suppress the release of these factors depending on the region activated.
To illustrate, when your mind prepares you for tomorrow performance in calmness, it is serving you, causing positive action. When it wakes you up at 3:00 a.m. anxious about the meeting and warning you for the hundredth time about the many consequences of failing, it is sabotaging you; it is simply exhausting your mental resources without any redeeming value.
When you are in self-sabotage state, Saboteurs are dominating in your mind. They are no means doing good for you but acting against your best interest. They are your internal enemies with negative tone, beliefs, destructive thoughts and assumptions degrading you mentally and physically. Every ounce of your energy wasted on anxiety, stress, anger, frustration, self-doubt, impatience, despair, regret, resentment, restlessness, guilt, or shame is a choice that was made by the Saboteurs in your mind. They come in ten varieties: the Judge, Controller, Victim, Stickler, Pleaser, Avoider, Restless, Hyper-Rational, Hyper-Achiever, and Hyper-Vigilant ( with reference to Shirzad Chamine ).
The counterpart of Saboteurs is the Sage. Your Sage has access to your wisdom, deeper insights, and often untapped mental powers. Every challenge can be met by the Sage, its perspective, and its five great powers (empathy, discovery, invention, wisdom, and resolute action). The Sage’s perspective and powers generate only positive feelings.
Are you positively intelligent? It depends on whether your brain is dominated with saboteurs or serving factors. You can measure the saboteurs or serving factors release in your brain with help of tool called Positive Intelligence Quotient (PQ). It is your Positive Intelligence score expressed as a percentage, ranging from 0 to 100. In effect, your PQ is the percentage of time your mind is serving you as opposed to sabotaging you. For example, a PQ of 75 means that your mind is serving you 75% of the time and sabotaging you about 25% of the time. If we define happiness by the percentage of time we experience life’s positive and desirable feelings, your PQ score becomes your happiness score. You only need to know someone’s PQ score to know how happy they are. To increase your PQ score your have to expose and weaken your saboteurs and strengthen your original true self which can un-tap your sage powers.
The figure above is the positive intelligent vortex
In vortex of negativity you are dragged down when you are with them. In such meetings, you realize you are anxious, self-conscious, suspicious or defensive. A negative force of the mind chatter inside your own head and exhaust you so much that your do not know how to stop it.
Conversely, in vortex of positivity it’s like walking into a room where the energy is so positive and uplifting that you immediately feel better, more hopeful, and more energized. Even in presence of a leader you stand an inch taller and believe in yourself more, regardless of whether he or she is even talking to you. Your mind follows a flow that you embraced every challenge and obstacle as a fun game or opportunity. These effects are the result of the invisible PQ vortex that each individual or team exhibits at any given time. This vortex affects your energy level, mood, and perspective, often without you realizing it.
If you are in net negative vortex, it’s like you are caught with headwind where u can still reach the destination, but you’d use much more energy and take longer. In case you are in Net positive vortex, you feel uplifted naturally as if you are with a tailwind.
Notice that a PQ of 75 means that outside the neutral times, your mind is in Saboteur mode 25% of the time and Sage mode 75%. What this indicates is that you need at least 3 times more positivity to counteract the damaging impact of every negative Saboteur impact. This shouldn’t be surprising as the brain is biased to notice, remember, exaggerate, and react to the negative stimuli due to the evolutionary survival advantage of the negative bias. Surprisingly, only 20% of us score above a PQ of 75, and that’s why only 20% of individuals and teams achieve their true potential.
So, you can imagine how subjective wellbeing (happiness) is important (PQ>75) to be productive and successful. Most of the people believe that happiness is followed by success. Therefore, they work hard, improve their ranks, become successful and believe they can be happy. What works is reverse of formula when you are balance your positive activities you are happy and when you are happy you achieve your success and you achieve it effortlessly. When you are happy you have positive mind set which improves the performance in productivity creativity and engagement at work and otherwise. That’s exactly positive intelligence is all about, to keep yourself happy.
Neuroplasticity in simple words is changing capacity of the brain all time. Science has proved every time you learn a new factor or skill, your brain changes chemically, structurally or functionally leading to a new learning process. The primary driver for the change in your brain is your behavior. By repeating the behavior, you can tune your brain.
The degree of neuroplasticity is extremely variable among individuals and therefore one size approach does not fit all. So, you can tune your brain and develop your personalized brain by all yourself. Brains are shaped by the world around you, by what you encounter, by what you do, by what you explain. Its best explained by The Tetris effect. When you play Tetris game the effect of it skids into real life. Even after shutting off you still feel those Tetris blocks falling in your mind’s eye. For example, when you are in grocery shopping and just played the game in recent time and due to Tetris effect, you start yourself thinking about rearranging items on grocery shelves and carts in the parking lot. That’s your mind continues to play the game, even when you’re physically not. So, when you cultivate a behavior (any time of your life) and repeat it for few times then the brain automatically captures the rhythm and make the behavior easy to adapt. So, “Tetris learning effect” in which the brain consumed less energy as mastery of the game rose, as you learn the game, it becomes more automatic.”
Once when we understand we can tune our brain, now we can put effort to understand how to harness brain’s plasticity by training our brain to make positive patterns more automatic.
Surprisingly our brains are negativity biased. For that unfortunate reasons, we tend to remember the bad stuff happened to us than the good stuff that happened in a day. And negative is superpower and thus have stronger impact than the positivity thus eating away the productivity, creativity, decision making skills. Negative impact of setbacks in your work is three times as powerful in affecting motivation than positive progress.
The good news is we can break out of that negative feedback loop and we can rewire our brains to think positively. When we practice looking for and being more aware of positive aspects of life, we fight off the brain’s natural tendency to scan for and spot the negatives. Naturally we bring ourselves into better balance. Just like playing and getting automatic rhythm in the Tetris game.
Whenever you do specific tasks repeatedly, they take up less of your brain power over time. And that’s amazing, as this will be the basis for a huge opportunity to change our behavior for the better. We can retrain the brain to scan for the good things in life—to help us see more possibility, to feel more energy, and to succeed at higher levels. The impact of practicing and retaining a more positive thinking pattern, especially on our well being and happiness, can be even more powerful.
Patrick Roupin is an expert in innovation, design, strategy & entrepreneurship.
Ashrefunisa Shaik is an expert in organizational transformation & sustainability.