In my last three blog posts, I introduced you to the concept of Positive Intelligence™ and how it can help you overcome self-sabotage, how it might be the answer to a major flaw in coaching, and how it can help you develop the Mental Fitness you need to exercise more choice over you life and feel more in control.

Today, we’re exploring another element of Positive Intelligence that’s critical for the development of that Mental Fitness: Factor Analysis.

Qualtrics describes Factor Analysis as “the practice of condensing many variables into just a few, so that your research data is easier to work with.” According to UCLA, at its core,”the goal of a Factor Analysis is to reduce the number of variables to explain and to interpret the results.”  

Factor Analysis, for example, shows us that at the root of thousands of different colors are three prime factors: Red, Blue, Yellow.  

Applied to Positive Intelligence, a Factor Analysis of Mental Fitness boils countless pieces of data down to three Core Muscles you need to know about:

  1. The Saboteur Interceptor muscle,
  2. The Sage muscle, and
  3. The Self-Command muscle.

In this blog post, we’ll look at just the first muscle (because it’s a beast), and we’ll dig into the other two in a later post.

When it comes to Mental Fitness, it’s essential to understand and be able to counter your Saboteur Interceptor muscle. As Positive Intelligence teaches, “If you’re in negative emotion for more than a second, you’re in Saboteur mode. Label your thoughts and emotions in that moment as Saboteur and let them go. To be able to do that, you need to have studied your Saboteurs and discredited their lies and limiting beliefs.”

When we build our Mental Fitness and get into the practice of identifying and rejecting our Saboteurs, we weaken the Saboteur Interceptor muscle’s power over us.

Developing this sort of Mental Fitness against the Saboteur exemplifies the war within, between the dark side and the light side. Shirzad Chamine’s Stanford University students call all this “Jedi Mind Training,” that battle between good and evil (or Jedis and The Force vs. Darth Vader). 

In Star Wars, Luke Skywalker was able to blow up the Death Star because he used The Force and trusted himself to destroy the computers. With enough training, we can tap into the stuff that gives us control over ourselves — our own sort of Force, so to say — rather than fall victim to the things that want to control us (our Saboteurs).

We’ll explore the 10 Saboteurs in a later post, but for now, it’s important to note that the Judge is the Universal Saboteur. It’s our inner critic, always judging others and judging situations or circumstances. The Judge is sophisticated and manipulative, and it’s important to develop strong defenses against it, first and foremost. Our best defenses are our 5 Sage Powers (more on those soon).

Let’s take a quick detour and revisit the Core Values Index™. The objective of the CVI™ is not to know what people are, it’s to understand what people value, and within which value they are showing up

If someone in your office is performing in a way that is insecure, aggressive, or intimidating, we’d say their core values are likely those of a Builder. They pride themselves on being in-the-know and the person with the answers. They want to be the person someone can lean on. They want to be the decider. If they think they’re letting someone down or worse, they can’t be the presence of that confidence and knowing, those defensive, off-putting coping strategies come rushing in. And here’s the correlation with PQ™ (Positivity Quotient™): their Saboteurs are getting the best of them. 

Similarly, you might recognize when someone is behaving in an excessively pleasing manner. They want acceptance and feel they can’t get it. We’d say they’re probably displaying the coping strategies of a Merchant and, again, struggling to counteract their Saboteur Interceptor muscle.

If it’s starting to seem like we all have something of a Dr. Jekyll/Mr. Hyde problem, it’s because we do.

There’s a TED Talk that I absolutely love from neuroscientist Jill Taylor that correlates so well to this idea of the Sage vs. the Saboteur. It proves just how much we truly are of two minds:  left vs. right, good vs. bad, that which serves us vs. that which harms us.

See, Jill Taylor had a stroke, and incredibly, she was able to be a neuroscientist in midst of her stroke. And she was able to study what happened. 

Her insights are incredible, and I highly recommend you make time to watch her 20-minute talk.

Now, it’s important to note that there are some common objections to this whole idea of defeating our Saboteurs.

Many believe we are motivated by negative stressors (our Saboteurs) like fear, stress, anger, guilt, and shame. We think we need these. We think they serve us. And that’s true — but only in the way the pain of setting our hand on a hot stove serves us. 

Negative stressors might generate success — perhaps a family member dies of cancer, so you become an oncologist — but NOT happiness or positive emotions.

We get far more from the experience of positive emotions in our life: empathy, curiosity, creativity, compassion, purpose, etc.

Consider the wisdom of Monsters, Inc. As it turns out Laughter Energy is exponentially more powerful than Scream Energy.  

Or how about Star Trek? Spock’s mother (a human) dies giving birth to him. He takes after his father, a Vulcan, and is overwhelmingly logical. His brother, Sybok, on the other hand, takes after their human mother and possesses all the human emotion Spock lacks. Sybok is an intergalactic guru with the ability to heal humans’ pain and suffering. So he kidnaps the Starship Enterprise. .

Sybok’s superpower is the ability to heal people’s pain. In fact, he even heals Spock’s pain over the guilt he feels for his mother’s death. 

Seeing Sybok relieve Spock of his burden, Captain Kirk bristles, “I don’t want my pain taken away! I need my pain!” His identity is so tied up in his pain that he thinks it’s what makes him great.

That’s the lie we tell ourselves: that we need our pain in order to be great — that it’s somehow our inspiration, motivation, and power. 

That’s what Kirk did. It’s 1,000% bullshit, but we think it’s true.

Do you need to hold your hand endlessly on a hot stove to know that it burns? Of course not. You only need that pain for a moment. Suffering and stress do have power and motivation, but you don’t need to live in that. Pull your hand away. 

And what do you do next? You never touch it again. Because you don’t have to keep touching the hot stove to remind yourself not to do it again. We can’t handle the lesson if we’re staying in the stress.

Now that you know the power that the Saboteur Interceptor muscle can have over your Mental Fitness, the next step is to acquaint yourself with the Sage Muscle and Self-Command Muscles that can counter it. More on those in my next post!

Positive Intelligence is an extensively-researched, scientific approach to understanding the mind and developing mental fitness. And it has the power to help us definitively understand where we get things backwards and how we can move forward.

I’m fortunate to be a trained Positive Intelligence workshop facilitator. And I’m thrilled by the opportunity to bring this to life in the lives of others. If you would like to explore Positive Intelligence further, let me know; I’d love to connect.


Positive Intelligence™ is trademarked by Shirzad Chamine

Taylor Protocols, Inc. and Lynn E. Taylor own the copyrights and trademarks for the Core Values Index™ (CVI™)

Photo by Nick Fewings on Unsplash