How to Harvest Your Hidden Intelligence

4 min read

Education & Career Trends: October 19, 2022
Curated by the Knowledge Team of  ICS Career GPS

In many ways, XQ offers us a new lens through which to unpack our history in a way that sets us up for success in the future.

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Reflecting on our psychological resources, there is one garden in our lives we often neglect to fully harvest during the year: our experiences. Our myriad of past experiences, however, provides each of us with a cornucopia of wisdom to be leveraged into future successes if we take the time to harvest it.

Soren Kaplan, in his book, Experiential Intelligence: Harness the Power of Experience for Personal and Business Breakthroughs, defines experiential intelligence (XQ) as “the combination of mindsets, abilities, and know-how gained from your experiences.” More specifically, the three elements are:

  • Mindsets: Attitudes and beliefs about yourself, other people, and the world.
  • Abilities: Competencies that help you integrate your knowledge, skills, and experiences so you can respond to situations in the most effective way possible.
  • Know-How: Knowledge and skills.

For more than a century since German psychologist William Stern coined the term intelligence quotient (IQ), we have explored the notion of general intelligence as a gauge of future success. Nearly 50 years ago, we added emotional intelligence (EQ) as a complementary piece to the success puzzle of life. What we have yet to fully harvest and recognise as an important element for cultivating success is the latent intelligence that comes from our lived experiences.

Adding XQ to EQ & IQ:

While the notion of multiple forms of intelligence endures within our zeitgeist, we have primarily focused on IQ and EQ as the core pillars for understanding our personal and professional achievements. Yet, perhaps we have been missing an important piece of the puzzle in our neglect to explore the wisdom gained through our array of past experiences.

Experiential intelligence offers a complement to IQ and EQ by providing a framework for harvesting the accumulated wisdom and talents we have grown over time through our personal and professional experiences.

In many ways, XQ offers us a new lens through which to unpack our history in a way that sets us up for success in the future. Just as many have written about ways to increase our EQ, and even possibly expand our IQ so too can we enhance our XQ.

Ways we can enhance our XQ:

1. Get Curious About Successes
  • Our XQ can be deepened by unpacking our past wins.
  • Too often we treat our successes as accidents, or not worthy of deeper inquiry, when in fact just the opposite is true.
  • Much had to go right in order for our successes to have occurred, and reflecting upon how we were able to exercise our unique mindsets, abilities, and know-how to create those successes is key to developing our XQ.
  • The next time something goes right at work or home, ask yourself, “What were the mindsets, abilities, and know-how that led me to be successful and how can I leverage them further in the future?”
  • Success can beget success if we harvest our learnings from our experiences.
2. Reframe Failures
  • If we begin to see all experiences as an opportunity for expanding our XQ, we begin to recognise that even when things didn’t turn out as we hoped, there is rich learning to be gained from reflecting on our experience.
  • Instead of kicking ourselves for not succeeding, we can instead ask ourselves, “What are the mindsets, abilities, and know-how I will need in the future to be successful?”
  • This simple shift can increase our XQ and help turn breakdowns into breakthroughs.
3. Cultivate New and Diverse Experiences
  • We can also bolster our XQ through the intentional pursuit of new and diverse experiences.
  • Seeking out and creating diverse experiences offers an opportunity to add new chapters to our life’s book.
  • The more diverse experiential text we have to draw upon, the more opportunities we have to deepen our XQ.
  • Ask yourself, “What new experiences might help me expand my mindsets, abilities, and know-how?”

Inside every experience is the potential for an incredible harvest of learning to expand our mindsets, abilities, and know-how. XQ invites us to become perpetual harvesters of our past to create better futures.

Have you checked out yesterday’s blog yet?

This is the Most Important Decision of Your Life

(Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in the article mentioned above are those of the author(s). They do not purport to reflect the opinions or views of ICS Career GPS or its staff.)

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