Path to Positivity
The Evolutionary Path to a Positivity Intelligence
I connected the dots to identify a new concept of Positivity Intelligence.
Perhaps the most defining popular characteristic about success or achievement is how "smart" that person or organization has been.
We humans always look for a way to measure and categorize everything, and the level of smarts, or intelligence, is one of the most popular topics. But for positive thinking, we think we know it when we see it, but we can't define it or measure it, and that led to the development of my Positivity I.Q. concept. I had my starting questions:
Are some people naturally smarter about how to be more positive and know how to use positive thinking to achieve their goals?
Is it possible to learn to be a more intelligent manager of positive thinking?
There are hundreds of years of philosophy and thousands of books about the power of positive thinking and advice for being more positive.
But I never found a simple, practical technique to know if the practices I was using were actually helping me to be more positive and helping me towards my goals.
So, I built on what is already known about general intelligence measurement to identify a way to measure a practical Positivity I.Q. My goal was not new, but traditional study had not made the final leap to what turned out to be pretty much common-sense observation.
From the beginning of recorded history, the interest in human intelligence has been a defining concept for studying humankind.
The evolution of human intelligence is closely tied to the evolution of the human brain and to the origin of language. The timeline of human evolution spans approximately seven million years. Wikipedia
Our human ability to think, and think about what we think, has been the most persistent of human interests. And the quality and expression of a person's thinking have been connected to their perceived intelligence and abilities.
The current concept of general intelligence was formalized in 1883 by English statistician Francis Galton. The standard I.Q. has been in use, with modifications, as a benchmark for identifying the distribution of how people score on standard tests attributed to intelligence.
The standard distribution, the bell-shaped curve, is the statistical presentation of a range of how all people would measure on the I.Q. tests. (The standard data distribution used in everything from manufacturing quality control to intelligence estimates).
Side note: The "normal" I.Q. is the score of 100, the absolute average of all possible scores, and most people are in the middle range, representing 68% of all scores. You've seen this described in other contexts, e.g. public and political polls.
The key concept to remember: "most" people are in the middle range, which is 68% of all measurable scores.
The conventional wisdom about intelligence expanded in 1983 when Harvard psychologist Howard Gardner published his book Frames of Mind: The Theory of Multiple Intelligences.
Gardner proposed that people may have several kinds of "intelligence," and one is likely to be the dominant type of intelligence. Gardner stated that people can succeed in many aspects of life with different types of natural capabilities or intelligence.
Gardner's nine multiple intelligences have been modified by some users. Here is the basic list. ( Alphabetic order, not the order of importance)
In 1998 Martin Seligman at the University of Pennsylvania introduced the concepts of positive psychology.
Positive psychology is the scientific study of what makes life most worth living, focusing on both individual and societal well-being. It studies "positive subjective experience, positive individual traits, and positive institutions...it aims to improve quality of life. It is a field of study that has been growing steadily throughout the years as individuals and researchers look for common ground on better well-being Wikipedia
The academic and medical acceptance of positive psychology is a great leap forward in recognizing that humans have natural characteristics of positive thinking, emotions and behavior. However, it's still in its infancy compared with the history of research on the negative aspects of human psychological behavior. There are established therapies, such as CBT (cognitive behavioral therapy) that try to moderate the conflict between positive and negative thoughts and behaviors to achieve a more productive level of positive thinking.
I've read the literature, talked to the experts, and had personal therapy myself.
But I still found no practical, useful way to truly understand what it means to be "more positive" nor how to measure it and manage it to serve my goals.
I connected the dots of historic and contemporary ideas to form a new theory of Positivity Intelligence.
What is the common denominator for achieving the potential of each intelligence?
Intelligence represents potential capabilities, not guaranteed accomplishments. And for every potential trait, we still need to learn to develop and use that skill effectively.
Our inevitable challenges are the familiar fear of failure, doubt, lack of confidence, and endless self-talk about what we would like to achieve, but don't think we can.
To transform aspirational goals into successful outcomes, we must have belief and confidence, motivation and discipline, deal with discouragement, find ways around obstacles and persevere to reach a satisfactory level of success.
Positivity becomes the driving force that enables a person to increase their probability of fulfilling their natural and learned capabilities.
Whatever the goal, we have to believe we can do it.
But how will you know if your beliefs, confidence, and the other elements of Positivity are strong enough to keep you motivated, disciplined, and resilient enough to persevere to reach your goal?
If you agree positive thinking is a necessary element in achieving success, you also need a way to understand, measure and manage your positive thoughts and self-talk that will support your plans.
You need to know and increase your Positivity I.Q.