GUEST AUTHOR BLOG: Positive Intelligence: Why Only 20% of Us Achieve Our True Potential by Shirzad Chamine, author of "Positive Intelligence: Why Only 20% of Teams and Individuals Achieve Their True Potential AND HOW YOU CAN ACHIEVE YOURS."
In my Stanford lectures on Positive IntelligenceI show that invisible “Saboteurs” in our minds are constantly undermining us.
There are 10 of these sneaky characters with names like Judge, Controller, Stickler, Victim, Avoider, and Pleaser. Remarkably, 95% of the executives in the Stanford program conclude that one or more of these Saboteurs cause “significant harm” to their ability to reach their full potential for success and personal fulfillment.
How do you think you or people on your team are faring?
Through a synthesis of the latest research in both positive and cognitive psychology and neuroscience, we are now able to measure what percentage of time your mind is serving you as opposed to sabotaging you. The result is your Positive Intelligence score or PQ.
The numbers are compelling: With improved PQ, professionals ranging from leaders to salespeople perform 30-35% better on average. Even more importantly, they report being far happier and less stressed.
The critical number to watch is the PQ score of 75, meaning your mind is serving you 75% of the time and sabotaging you 25%. Research has revealed this to be a critical tipping point score with enormous consequences. Peak performance and consistent peace of mind are only possible above 75. Only 20% of teams and individuals score that high. How do you think you would score?
The counterpart to your Saboteur is your “Sage” voice. Your Sage has access to your deeper wisdom, creativity, compassion, and clear-headed thinking. This voice is literally produced by a different region of your brain than the one fueling your Saboteurs. We are literally and neurochemically of two minds and two brains. This gives rise to 3 strategies for improving your PQ: weaken your Saboteurs, strengthen your Sage, or strengthen your “PQ Brain” muscles.
1. Weaken your Saboteurs: The most dangerous enemy is the invisible one, and most Saboteurs hide extremely well or masquerade as your friend. For example, the Judge Saboteur convinces you that unless it constantly beats you up over your mistakes and shortcomings, you won’t improve and grow. The Controller convinces you that unless you control people’s actions, you won’t get the desired outcome. You can click here for a free 5-minute online assessment to identify and expose your top Saboteur.
Once you expose your Saboteur and intercept its voice in your head, you don’t want to “fight” it. Getting upset at any Saboteur would only further activate the Judge Saboteur. The trick is to simply label the thought as the Saboteur thought so you can let it go. Notice the difference between saying: “I don’t think I can make it” to “My Judge says I can’t make it.” The shift is instantaneous.
2. Strengthen Your Sage: Your Sage’s great wisdom and strength is rooted in its perspective: any problem you are facing is either already a gift and opportunity or could be actively turned into one. Your Saboteurs mock that perspective and cause you instead to feel anxious, frustrated, disappointed, stressed, or guilty over “bad” outcomes. Both the Sage and the Saboteur perspectives are self-fulfilling prophecies. Which prophecy would you like to live?
If you follow the Sage perspective, you get greater access to its five vastly untapped mental powers which can meet absolutely any work or life challenge without being worked up about it. There are simple and fun “power games” you can play in the back of your mind to facilitate this process.
3. Strengthen Your PQ Brain Muscles: The PQ Brain regions fuel the Sage perspective and powers. The PQ Brain “muscles” are activated and strengthened when you command your mind to stop its busy mind chatter and direct its attention to any of your five physical sensations. An example might be to feel the weight of your body on your seat, or feet on the floor, or sensations of your breathing. This might appear simplistic, but it is backed by a massive amount of research. Each such shift of attention for about 10 seconds is equivalent to lifting a heavy dumbbell in physical fitness training. The muscles build up fast.
The tools and techniques of Positive Intelligence have been refined over years of working with hundreds of CEOs and their executive teams. They fit demanding and busy lifestyles. Many call it not only a gamechanger for business but even more importantly lifechanging at a personal level.
Shirzad Chamine is author of New York Times bestseller "Positive Intelligence: Why Only 20% of Teams and Individuals Achieve Their True Potential AND HOW YOU CAN ACHIEVE YOURS." He is Chairman of CTI, the largest coach-training organization in the world. A preeminent C-suite advisor, Shirzad has coached hundreds of CEOs and their executive teams. His background includes PhD studies in neuroscience in addition to a BA in psychology, an MS in electrical engineering, and an MBA from Stanford, where he lectures.