In this post I’m going to summarize my last few posts on Positive Intelligence and demonstrate how it’s not just a six-week program, it’s actually an operating system that you can apply in any area of your life, and for the rest of your life. Some of the many applications of the Positive Intelligence operating system include:
- stress management
- performance improvement
- work/life balance
- health and fitness
- relationships at work and at home
- conflict resolution
The simplicity of the operating system is shown in the accompanying picture as four simple steps:
- When you recognize a negative emotion in yourself, stop; you’re in the grip of a saboteur
- Do some PQ reps to quieten the Saboteur brain and activate the Sage brain.
- Assume the Sage perspective that any circumstance can be turned into a gift or opportunity.
- Use the five Sage powers to generate the gift and take calm clearheaded action.
Let’s look at some examples. Let’s say that you’re at work and things are getting a little out of control. Your controller saboteur is telling you that if you can’t control the situation the outcome will be terrible, and in order to be happy or safe you must have a different outcome. It is this tension between the controller saboteur lie and the reality that you may not have complete control of the outcome that causes the negative emotion of stress or anxiety and all of the harmful physiologic effects that go with that. If you act out of that fear-based anxiety you won’t see all the possibilities and are less likely to choose a course of action that gets you the outcome that you want. On the other hand, if you take the Sage perspective that regardless of the outcome you will be able to use your Sage powers to convert that into a gift or opportunity, the stress and anxiety are reduced and you activate the part of the brain that is creative and produces a calming physiologic response.
In the area of relationship or conflict management, the voice of your Judge may be telling you that your position is completely right and the other person’s position is wrong, or even that you are “good” and the other person is “bad.” If you communicate from that perspective, your Judge is likely to activate their Judge resulting an escalating “saboteur contagion.” If on the other hand you use the Sage power of Innovate and the Power Game of “Yes…. And” you assume that the other person is at least 10% right. Then the conversation can go like this: “What I like about your idea is….. and”; then you add your own idea. When two or more people play at the “Yes… And” game it fuels the innovation cycle and generates new ideas that both people can agree on. Or, you can use the Empathize power and allow yourself to see the innocent, lovable five-year-old child inside the other person so you can begin to understand them better and may be able to put yourself in their shoes to appreciate their perspective. I personally know of long-standing family conflicts that have resolved in a day using these techniques.
Positive Intelligence has many applications in health and fitness. In the case of overeating or overdrinking, the cause of the self-destructive behavior is often stress generated by believing the lies of the saboteurs. For example, we may look in the mirror and the judge says “You’re too fat. That is bad.” If we believe those lies it generates negative emotions like stress or self-pity or even self-loathing. One of the ways we cope with these negative emotions is to crave a sweet or alcoholic indulgence which stimulates our dopamine reward system and makes us feel good temporarily. Of course, that again elicits the Judge and the self-destructive cycle continues. The way to break the cycle is to notice the negative emotions or the cravings and do some PQ reps while just allowing those feelings to be there. If we commit ourselves to doing even 15 seconds of PQ reps every time we have cravings, we find that after a short time those cravings dissipate and we can make better choices.
To summarize, the PQ Operating System has applications in every area of life. The more you apply it the more you become aware of new opportunities to use it and the less stressful your life becomes. As Shirzad puts it, “The way of the Sage is the path of ease and flow.”