We all know of intellectual intelligence (IQ) and more latterly, the importance of emotional intelligence (EQ) in health, happiness and work success but what about spiritual intelligence (SQ)? While interest in IQ is nearly a century old, EQ’s place in business has emerged only in the last decade. EQ or EI was first popularised by Daniel Goleman in the mid 90’s in the Time Magazine article titled, “Is EQ more important than IQ?” Since then much has been written and researched on this important subject, which includes the dimensions of self and other awareness as well as social awareness and relationship management.
So what about SQ and where does it fit into the hardheaded world of business, leadership, managing others and ourselves and our careers and working life?
In my book, “Get your groove back” – how Spiritual Intelligence (SQ) can give you the work and life you really want, I define SQ as that core part of us which is connected to everything else and is about the higher purpose and meaning of life. It embraces our sense of meaning and purpose, values and vision, our connectivity to everything around us, and the practices we engage in to sustain ourselves. It provides the basis for the choices we make in our lives including the values we live by, our sense of calling to what we call “our work”, our service and contribution to others. While EQ is about “how” you manage feelings and emotions – yours and others, SQ answers the bigger “why” questions of life – why it is that you choose to do what you do. Some examples of SQ competencies include: wisdom, integrity, trust, courage, humility, strong sense of purpose, authenticity, making a difference and unity. SQ is what builds our character.
Spiritual intelligence is the fundamental bedrock of our humanness; not an add-on. It has been part and parcel of our lives for as long as humanity has existed. Dana Zohar and Ian Marshall in their book SQ regard it as the ultimate intelligence. In terms of our neural functioning, they describe SQ as the unifying part that links our IQ and EQ. It facilitates a dialogue between reason and emotion, mind and body. It provides a fulcrum for growth and transformation. It provides the self with an active, unifying, meaning-giving centre. Of course, how we express our SQ is based on our cultural, familial and learned background and hence the many different spiritual practices.
To live with greater attunement to your SQ, here are a few suggestions:
• Connect with nature regularly
• Take time out for reflection
• Live from your values base
• Know and use your signature strengths for good
• Have a superordinate goal which is about service
• Honour the intuitive as well as the analytical
• Be open to learning, growing and developing
• Understand the unity in diversity
Tapping into our SQ and using the best of our IQ and EQ then enables us to access our creativity, do more of what we love, be more in flow, to be open to unexpected insights and harness the best of who we are.
Ultimately, SQ is the path of wisdom as it deals directly with our consciousness. To learn, grow and develop as human beings, we need to cultivate and nurture all of our intelligence so we can live a fulfilled life of meaning, contentment and joy. And it is hard then not to give to those around us – be it love, service, contribution, kindness, tolerance and other similar qualities – all of which are catalytic SQ virtues. And a bonus – as we give, so we receive and much more!
When we align our thoughts, emotions and actions with the highest part of ourselves, we are filled with enthusiasm, purpose and meaning.
– Gary Zukav