I have a friend who is old enough to be considering retirement, yet young enough for me to feel free to offer her advice about buying long term care insurance. As she is a mother who’s raised children alone and taken care of an ailing parent, I shouldn’t be surprised to learn I was marshalling her in a direction she was planning to go. She has what scientists call high personal intelligence.
Personal Intelligence, (PI) as opposed to I. Q., is a new way researchers are studying human behavior. PI is defined as the capacity to draw out, and reason about, information about personality. We use it to… better understand our needs and to map out our future plans. (“Thinking about Tomorrow,” by John D. Mayer, Scientific American Mind, March/April 2014 pg. 36)
People with high personal intelligence are those who are good stewards of their lives, particularly in making decisions about the future, matching their values to their goals. (Ibid pg. 35.) Matching goals with values may sound easy but it’s harder than it looks — which is why people who want to quit smoking still light up, and why so many New Year’s resolutions fizzle. To know yourself isn’t as easy as knowing how other people view you. Self knowledge involves introspection and quiet time We need to separate what makes us feel important in the eyes of others from what we truly want. That alignment of self with goals is the basis of personal intelligence. (Ibid pg. 38)
When my friend looks ahead to envision herself as an old woman and makes plans to prolong her independence, which she values, she is displaying personal intelligence. Below, is one question from the PI test. You may find your answer revealing.
Which goal do you think would be problematic to meet for most people?
1. To become educated in an area that would satisfy one’s curiosity.
2. To be adequate in all areas of one’s life.
3. To make new friends.
4. To work hard at one’s job.
The best answer is #2 . Being adequate in all aspects of life is unachievable. To know this is to be self aware.
Those of us who chose a different answer, might want to schedule a little time for quiet contemplation.
(Courtesy of owenbarrow.org)