How is childhood the base for positive intelligence & how can we be better in adulthood?

Positive Intelligence by Shirzad Chamine


Childhood, how many words would you use to describe it? 

Was it good, bad or ugly? Even if you say you had the most wonderful childhood we all still have obstacles that we need to overcome. Have we all not failed at something publically, been betrayed or rejected, felt that someone did not like us, or were jealous of those that were smarter, prettier, funnier, talker, faster, thinner than us?  

According to Shirzad Chamine in Positive Intelligence childhood is all about surviving childhood because we need to pass our genes to the next generation. Yet childhood is not just about physical survival but also surviving emotionally. Our brains have been wired to pay close attention to our environment and learn to deal with the emotional strains that we encounter. So this is where our Saboteurs come in and why we need to work on increasing our Positive Intelligence Quotient; our positive self-talk versus our negative self-talk. 

So how do we do that? We weaken our Saboteurs. Remember our Saboteurs could be the Judge, the Avoider, the Controller, Hyper-Achievers, Hyper-Rational, Hyper-Vigilent, the Pleaser, Restless, the Stickler and the Victim and they came to be because they protected us in childhood, but they are no longer useful in our adulthood. For example, maybe the only way we received attention from our parents was to be High-Achievers, which was great at the time, but as we get older we no longer need to engage in that behavior.

According to Shirzad Chamine, we all have the master Saboteur the Judge, which is part of our survival. Picture this, we are in the jungle and we see the nearby trees begin to shake. Is that a lion?  To survive we need to think worst case scenario. In the book, Positive Intelligence Shirzad Chamine provided an example of feeling that his parents did not give him much attention and caring and explained “I could have thought about it two ways. I  either look at it that I was being raised by flawed parents", which would produce even more anxiety because Shirzad Chamine needed them for survival. Or that he was deeply flawed and undeserving of his parent’s love, which is what happened. 

So how do we weaken our Saboteurs?

Believe it or not, the first step is to simply observe and label your Saboteurs. How can we even start to weaken them if we do not realize that they are playing a major part in our lives? According to Shirzad Chamine, "the simple act of observing and labeling them can do greater damage to your Saboteurs because when they are under the radar you are not noticing how they are affecting your everyday life". For example, the Judge says “you are not good enough to do this job”. Instead, you could say “the Judge does not think I am good enough for this job”. 

Another suggestion in the book is to name your Sabtoteurs. The judge could be called the execution, sourpuss, a know-it-all. My question to you this week is to think about what would change at work or in your personal life if your Judge’s voice were to be significantly weakened.