Positive Intelligence

How often does your mind act as your enemy more than your friend? You know what I mean, when the voice inside your head says that won’t work, that’s too expensive, too hard, too scary, and so on.

In Positive Intelligence by Shirzad Chamine, he addresses the issue of the percentage of time our brain is working positively (serving us) versus negatively (sabotaging us.)

If you've worked with a coach you’re already very familiar with whom your saboteur is. Chamine states that we actually have more than one saboteur, he believes there to be 10. There is however a leader, the strongest of the group, the one we all suffer from... THE JUDGE. The other 9 are accomplice saboteurs and each of us will recognize a different one in ourselves. He lists the others as the Stickler, Pleaser, Hyper-Vigilant, Restless, Controller and the Avoider. Any of those look familiar to you?

Chamine’s theory is that once we are able to recognize which saboteurs are the strongest for us that recognition of their presence will help us begin to tackle and weaken these internal enemies.  If we ignore them you already know that they never go away.

Consider taking the assessment on line at PositiveIntelligence.com in order to learn who your accomplice saboteurs are along with more information on the Judge.  You may be surprised at what you learn about yourself. (Tip: do it quickly, your first impression is likely the most accurate.)

What I truly love about this book is that the author doesn't just give us concepts to ruminate on, as so many self help books do.  Too often once you’re done the book the idea is gone, soon forgotten. But Shirzad doesn't just leave us with the knowledge of who our saboteurs are; he takes it to the next level by giving us tangible skills with which to counteract these negative beasts. He teaches us how to manifest changes in our lives, take the 3 Gifts Technique as an example.

The purpose of this exercise is to help you consider your Sage’s perspective rather than you’re Saboteurs. The Sage is the voice that is the opposite of the saboteur, the deeper and wiser part of you. Someone I’m guessing you've not seen too often in your life. The Sage has 5 powers: 1. Explore 2. Empathize 3. Innovate 4. Navigate 5. Activate. Let’s say you have a big situation come up in your life, it’s uncomfortable and you just know it’s a bad thing, oh this is not going to be good your thinking, I don’t see how this is going to go well.  You begin to stress and worry about it. Sit down with a notebook in a quiet place and prepare yourself to shift out of your judgement perspective. Now come up with at least three scenarios where your supposedly bad situation could turn into a gift and an opportunity. The time frame doesn't matter. It could be days, weeks even years, but come up with the scenarios. The end result is that you have begun to shift your own perspective, all by yourself! “You choose to initiate either the snowballing, self-reinforcing, self-fulfilling perspective of the Sage or the snowballing, self-reinforcing and self-fulfilling perspective of the Judge and the other Saboteurs. Which do you want to guide you through life? “, says the author.

So why am I writing this review, because this book changed my life. It changed how I look at myself and how I look at others, i.e.: judgement. It, along with my coach training, is what helped me to become less judgmental in my life and what a change that has brought about in me. Once you read this book your eyes become much more open as to how much we judge people in our daily lives and in our North American culture.  How much deeper of a connection could we make with others if we were not judging them as much?

I believe this book has some excellent concepts and skills to put into practice if you are ready to work on reducing your judgement and turning down the volume on those voices that prevent you from moving forward in your life.  I highly recommend it to my clients because I have read it and know that it can work if applied. Be sure to check it out at PositiveIntelligence.com or on Amazon. I’d love to hear your feedback once you've read it.  


Shirzad Chamine is Chairman of CTI, the largest coach-training organization in the world. CTI has trained coaches and managers in most of the Fortune 500 companies as well as faculty at Stanford and Yale business schools. Prior to running CTI, he was the CEO of an enterprise software company. His background includes PhD studies in neuroscience in addition to a BA in psychology, and MS in electrical engineering and an MBA from Stanford, where he lectures.

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