Over the past couple of weeks, we have been learning three new strategies for increasing our positive intelligence quotient (PQ) which is the percentage of time our brain is our friend and the amount of time our brain becomes our enemy. The first strategy is to quieten down our Saboteurs, the next strategy is to increase our Sage and the final strategy is to build our PQ brain muscle.
According to Shirzad Chamine in the book Positive Intelligence, he explains that our Saboteurs and our Sage are controlled by two different areas of the brain. The Saboteurs are fueled by our emotional and physical survival; yes our fight, flight or freeze response or survivor brain. Whereas our Sage is controlled by our PQ brain which is where we are able to observe ourselves, pause before taking action, soothe any fear we may be experiencing, stay centered in the middle of challenging situations and use our gut wisdom. Essentially this is where we are using our thriving brain.
So how do we strengthen our PQ brain and get out of our survivor brain and into our thriving brain? The answer: to build up our PQ brain muscles. Experts have been saying for years that we need to walk at least 10,000 steps per day for our physical health. “The PQ equivalent is doing one hundred PQ reps every day” In other words, Shirzad Chamine suggests that we shift our focus onto our bodies and our five senses a hundred times per day for at least ten seconds, which is the equivalent of doing three deep breaths.
For example, you wake up in the morning and feel your head on the pillow, that is one rep. You clean your teeth and focus on the sensation in your mouth, two reps. Feeling the warmth of your cup of coffee and smelling the aroma could be two reps. Remember one rep equals being mindful for ten seconds.
Do not despair the book has come up with two ways of remembering. The first is to use the bathroom as a reminder. Every time you go to the bathroom feel the weight of your body as you stand up, notice the temperature in the bathroom, the feel of the toilet paper, the feel of the water on your hands.
The next is when those Saboteurs visit, you can take this opportunity to step into your Sage. For example, say you notice that you are getting upset and anxious about a team meeting and notice and label The Judge or Controller coming up, to reduce those feelings you can start breathing, or notice your weight in the chair, tap your feet on the ground and you have a couple of reps. You just stepped out of your Saboteurs and into your Sage.
Another way of getting those hundred reps a day in is to go to the PQ gym. This means that you can get a five to fifteen-minute brain workout by being in your own body, noticing what is going on and every time you wander, just bringing your brain back to your body.
Remember to break down any new practice into bite-sized parts, for example, one day you could work on weakening your Saboteurs, and another day activate the power of the Sage mind. On another day you can concentrate on being in your PQ brain and doing those hundred reps per day. Commit to doing this over say a minimum of six weeks. Remember it takes 21 days to build a habit and in the following weeks you will be securing the habit into your everyday life. Find someone to do this with, or even find a person who can hold you accountable and ask yourself “am I willing to commit to 15 minutes per day to weaken my Saboteurs, strengthen my Sage and build up my PQ muscle?”