Spiritual Intelligence

Spiritual Intelligence is to use what you know, your knowledge, in the right way, at the right time, in the right place, with the right intention to get the desired results.

The 1st level intelligence – Intellectual Intelligence is the Rational and Logical Intelligence. It is data driven and mainly concerned with collection of data.  It is how we perceive situations and mainly concerned with  left-brain thinking.  It improves our technical know-how. It only acknowledges that which can be scientifically measured. It is number-driven and is measured by Intellectual Quotient (IQ).

However here we are taught only to believe what we can see but there is much more to the world than that can be measured and that meets the eye.

 According to Goleman (1998)  more shocking than everything is the research data from   Harvard University which says ‘Success and IQ has zero or negative correlation’. IQ has very little to do with achievement at work or in life. You work hard to get into one of the finest institutes like  the Ivy Leagues with ahigh IQ score  but when you are getting placed then those who have similar IQs get selected. Then who decides who will emerge as a star performer amongst all. There is something more than IQ that is required that will decide your success.

We should not get mistaken by thinking that  IQ gets Redundant. In order to excel in any field you need to have domain knowledge; without the technical know-how you just can’t perform. So a high IQ is a must but then it is just a threshold competence ; an entry-level requirement. You need to have it in order to perform in a particular field but having just that does not ensure success in that field. IQ makes you a performer but not a star performer – you need to have something more in order to excel .

To answer this gap we need to tap into our 2nd level intelligence – Emotional Intelligence. The ability to Recognize, Understand and Respond to Emotions of the Self as well as Others is Emotional Intelligence.  Emotional Intelligence is focused on Feeling rather than Thinking. It activates the Right Brain which deals with emotions, feelings, creativity and intuition. Through years of intensive research it was found that the secret of success is not what they taught you in school. What matters most is not just the IQ, or a business school degree, or even technical know-how or years of expertise alone. These need a very strong backing in the form of emotional intelligence. For leaders, emotional intelligence is almost 90 percent of what sets stars apart from the mediocre. As Goleman documents, it’s the essential ingredient for reaching and staying at the top in any field, even in high-tech careers. And organizations that learn to operate in emotionally intelligent ways are the companies that will remain vital and dynamic in the competitive marketplace of today and the future.

Research proved that in the field of computer programming (a highly technical job) with almost same IQ programmers, the top 10% performers are 320%  more effective than the average and top 1% performers are 1272% more effective . Again in a study of salespeople in 44 Fortune 500 firms including IBM, Pepsico, AT&T etc   the top performers are drawing salary& perks almost 88 times more than average ones. 

So the aptitude you need to succeed start with intellectual horsepower but people need emotional competence to get full potential of their talents. This is because when we are working  then along with the core work that you are at, you are subjected to varied environment which involves mastery at lot of intrapersonal (stress management, time, management, work -life balance, self motivation etc ) and interpersonal (conflict handling, team building, leadership skills etc) Now, all the others competing with you are at the similar or almost similar IQ level of technical competence. So who would emerge as a Star Performer amongst all – one who is better at handing intrapersonal and interpersonal issues better than others. In short, at similar IQ levels one who has a better Emotional Quotient performs far better than the one with  low EQ.

However there is a concern again. Many times we see that lot of successful people reach the peak in their career – they are at very high positions and drawing huge salaries but suddenly they lose all the excitement of Life; they either suffer from mental stress or trauma or physical ailments or broken relationships and so on and so forth. They might have achieved success on some parameters but this success is lop-sided. They miserably fail on the other aspects of life which ultimately start affecting their career as well. They enjoy success but that is quite short lived – it either plateaus or starts dropping. In short Emotional Intelligence is not able to ensure Long-term  Holistic Success.

The reason is Emotional Intelligence is all about Responding to the emotions of the self and others but it is not about Resolving. The focus is totally on ‘how’ but not ‘why’ of emotions. An Emotionally Intelligent person does not pay any attention to the reason that led to those emotions, his focus is only limited to appropriate response. And in order to respond appropriately he might manipulate his external behavior.

Thereal  issues actually remain unresolved and we are just trying to do window dressing at the surface level – this is just a superficial short term solution.

As we can see in the figure below  at the core is the Real Self which is pure and divine but in course of life we tend to attract lot of negative emotions like stress, anxiety, poor relationship etc which makes our negative self. Now in order to provide appropriate quick response we try to fake it which does not last long. We pretend to be something which is deviating from our true self and such a condition is quite short-lived. We are responding not to match our own expectations but to meet the expectations of the world. We are having external locus of control and our whole purpose is to please others at the cost of our own emotions. We show a response that is desired of us – which the world wants us to do.


We are like a diamond – shining brilliantly but get covered with dust and in order to hide the dust we put a coat of varnish upon it which takes away our natural beauty and makes us fake. The reason that we are not delving deep into the reasons of finding the root cause of these emotions and resolving it by changing the emotions at its core; we thus fail miserably in the long term .

According to Zohar and Marshall (2000) Spiritual intelligence is one with which we address and solve problems of meaning and value, the intelligence with which we place our actions and lives in a wider, richer, meaning-giving context, the intelligence with which we can assess that one course of action or one life-path is more meaningful than another. Spiritual Intelligence is actually the intelligence of the Soul, a very heightened form of awareness – theone with which we make ourselves whole.

The dust of negativity is not covered by varnish but is wiped off so that we align ourselves with our true self. It is all about knowing ‘Who you are’ at the root level and aligning yourself with that.

Spiritual Intelligence allows you to understand the ‘true cause’ of any emotions without judgement and helps change it accordingly. And also helps us to serve the ‘true needs’ of others until they themselves learn to meet their own needs. Most of the time we tend to believe that the cause of our feelings and emotions are external events and resulting from other people’s action. Spiritual Intelligence gives us the wisdom to understand that the real cause of any emotion is internal – linked to the self. It expands your capacity to understand others at the deepest level.

Responding to the original cause of emotion and resolving it (if required) by focusing on the self is what is meant by Spiritual Intelligence.

ThusSQ is the necessary foundation for both IQ and EQ; it is our ultimate intelligence. It allows us to be creative, change the rules, alter situations; to dream, aspire, see the uses and limits of both understanding and compassion. EQ allows me to judge a situation and behave appropriately within it; SQ allows me to ask if I want to be in it at all, or would I rather change it, create a new one?

Intellectual and Emotional  Intelligence are about thoughts and feelings while Spiritual Intelligence is about values and meaning. Intellectual Intelligence and Emotional Intelligence are tactical intelligence – the intelligence of the ‘How’. But Spiritual Intelligence is the Strategic Intelligence – the intelligence of ‘Why’. It answers the question of why to do anything. Without Spiritual Intelligence nothing has any meaning, and in its absence the motivation fails no matter how much tactical intelligence we may have.

It is important to note that Spiritual Intelligence cannot function in isolation. Both Intellectual and Emotional Intelligence are the building blocks of Spiritual Intelligence. Intellectual Intelligence is how we perceive situations. Emotional deals with how we feel about them and Spiritual Intelligence is what we want to do about those thoughts and feelings and puts the situation in a meaningful whole.

However Most of the people get confused between Religion and Spirituality. Spirituality is the awareness of the Self while Religion is a code a conduct – Do’s and Don’ts – set of Rules to be followed to achieve it which varies from individual to individual..Spirituality focusses on ‘Why while Religion focusses on ‘How’.

A person may not have religious faith or belief of any kind can have a high sense of Spiritual Intelligence and similarly a person with low  Spiritualintelligence can be very Religious. It is important to note that Spiritual Intelligence is beyond caste, creed, religion, gender, race, nationality – it is a function of one’s individual consciousness.

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