In my last blog post, I talked about a major flaw in coaching and how Positive Intelligence™ can help solve it. And I walked you through the first of Shirzad Chamine’s four foundations to Positive Intelligence: Neuroplasticity (the three other foundations are Positive Psychology, Cognitive Behavior Psychology, and Performance Science — more on those soon).

We learned that the mind is malleable and that we can influence our mindset to be more growth-oriented. All we need is to:

  1. Be aware that there’s something we want to be different and 
  2. Have the resources and tools to create what we want to create.

Enter Positive Psychology.

Most people think happiness is a byproduct. If I get X, achieve X, buy X, find X… I’ll be happy. 

Martin Seligman, called “the father of Positive Psychology,” flipped that idea on its head. Contrary to popular belief, happiness is not the byproduct but the cause. It’s what allows us to do/be/achieve the different things we want out of life. Positive Psychology means the difference between one person having a bad experience and still walking away feeling good versus another person having a bad experience and walking away feeling bad. 

With Positive Psychology in mind, Chamine asks an important question: Do circumstances determine a person’s emotional state? Or does their emotional state determine their outcome or experience?

Positive Intelligence asserts that when you’re operating under Sage power, you don’t look at success or outcome as the determinant. That’s what’s important in all of this. What screws us up is that we can look at success and achievement and think that because we’ve achieved things, we are successful. That’s a facade. 

The vast majority of people who are “successful” by that definition are unhappy. Consider how many CEOs of “successful” companies are completely miserable. They might be estranged from their kids or divorced for the fifth time… 

We conflate achievement with success. But according to Positive Psychology, happiness cannot be separated from achievement. Achievement without happiness is not success. By the same token, happiness without achievement is not success. 

Positive Psychology is about turning on those positive emotions first, rather than allowing our circumstances, situations, and experiences in our lives to determine whether we are happy.

The next foundational element of Positive Intelligence is Cognitive Behavior Psychology.

Cognitive Behavior Psychology explores the automatic patterns in our brain — and the behaviors those inspire — to move us toward a more conscious, choice-driven headspace where we can say, “okay, if I’m cognizant and aware and thinking clearly and rationally, then I can choose my psychology, behavior, thoughts, actions, etc.” 

The final piece of the puzzle is Performance Science. This considers concepts like emotional intelligence and asks questions like:

  • What allows people to perform? 
  • What are the concepts and competencies that allow people to be world-class athletes or musicians? 
  • What differentiates the high achievers from the average Joes?

These four foundational concepts inform all of Chamine’s research into Positive Psychology. And the result is impressive. When we marry our understanding of Performance Science with Cognitive Behavior Psychology and Positive Psychology — and allow the fundamentals of neuroplasticity to illuminate all of it — we start to move into a real understanding of the concrete science of choice. It’s not pseudo-science or purely touchy-feely stuff. 

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

Photo by Radu Florin on Unsplash