I read a few interesting facts about Michael Phelps, the American swimmer who won 8 Gold medals at the Beijing Olympics. This is a world record. In his short career, he already has 16 Olympic medals (14 Gold and 2 Bronze). Here is the interesting part. He comes from a broken home. As a young boy he was diagnosed with Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) which is a neurobehavioral developmental disorder. This condition manifests as distractibility, difficulty with concentration and focus, short term memory loss, procrastination, problems organising ideas and belongings, tardiness, impulsivity, and weak planning and execution. His teacher told him he would amount to nothing because he had no focus. She was wrong. The guy is already worth USD9 million (potentially going to USD100 million), broken and made world records. I am reminded of Virgin founder and billionaire Richard Branson who was dyslexic (learning disability). The point is that there are other intelligences which contribute to success other than the traditional IQ. Using thoughts from Stephen Covey I would like to look at the 4 types of intelligences and which ones you ought to develop.
Physical Intelligence – (Body)
Phelps might not have been endowed with a great IQ, but his Physical Intelligence (PQ) tips any scale. Physical intelligence is the ability to discipline our appetites and passions so that the body can blossom. The spirit and mind can only thrive when our body is in great health. You need to consider what you eat, get lots of rest and manage your energy as much as you manage your time. Your cognitive abilities and thinking process is compromised when the body is overworked. The best example is to look at nature – the Creator has created cycles for animals and trees to renew themselves. In order to operate at optimal levels of success in life, we need to govern our bodies and take captive of appetites and passions which bring sickness to us. My Dad passed on from cardio vascular complications at the not so old age of 54 because he was always working. It is important to always find time to relax and rest. If we don’t manage our bodies we block our access to innate intelligences, prematurely age, limit mental clarity and diminish our creativity.
Mental Intelligence – (Mind)
Mental intelligence refers to your capacity to look at issues, think, analyse, connect the dots and solve problems. This is also known as mental capacity in basic terms the “brain”. This kind of capacity is given by measure by our Creator. However, each one of us has a responsibility to multiply that measure. We can improve it by exercising it. As you exercise your brains, you develop “muscle” to tackle bigger challenges as well as the staying power to think through issues until you find a breakthrough. Continual use of the brain, leads to wisdom and understanding. Secondly, you can improve mental intelligence by learning. Learning opens you to new information (knowledge and awareness) and creates a multi trajectory of new possibilities and opportunities. The more knowledge you have the less chaos in your life – “in knowledge and wisdom shall be the stability of your times”. Empires of the future are empires of the mind. Your future is as big as your mind…but how big is your mind?
Emotional Intelligence – (Heart)
Emotional intelligence is about our little private victories that lead to public victories. It consists of five elements:
- Self awareness– the ability to recognise and understand your moods, emotions, and drives and their effect on others.
- Self regulationis the ability to control or redirect disruptive impulses and moods or the propensity to suspend judgement (to think before acting).
- Motivationis a passion to work for reasons that go beyond money or status and strong drive to achieve even in the face of failure.
- Empathyis the ability to understand the emotional make up of other people and skill of treating people according to their emotional reactions
- Social Skillis proficiency in managing relationships, building networks and an ability to find common ground and build rapport.
For me Nelson Mandela gets a tick on all the five. Greatness in life is attained when your heart is not driven by selfishness and greed but by the common good. Emotional intelligence is about our ability to control ourselves for the sake of achievement that transcends personal interest. All of us need to develop this kind of intelligence because it kills jealous, envy, greed, malice, frustration, anxiety etc. These emotional states interfere with our intelligence capacity. This is why a professor can do a stupid thing (high in IQ but low in emotional intelligence).
Spiritual Intelligence – (Spirit)
Above all this get spiritual intelligence. This kind transcends human understanding. I would like to define this as the divine cognitive ability and thinking process in the human spirit. It is the mind of your Creator in your spirit. It is the highest level of intelligence where you operate in divine knowledge, wisdom and understanding. It only comes from one way – being in complete fellowship with your Creator. You understand His ways and His thoughts concerning your life. One Daniel of ancient Israel had spiritual intelligence. He could solve riddles, answer hard questions, uncommon understanding and interpret complex dreams. Spiritual intelligence activates the key of faith and operates by grace (charis in Greek). Faith makes you live in a world of possibility and grace makes you charismatic (gain favour). It optimises the other 3 intelligences BUT the good news is even without the other 3 with this one your life can be a success!