If one of your strengths is your brain power and using your noodle to think through tough problems, you may have excelled in school and in the workplace using tools like analysis, problem solving, and data-driven research. However, those tools may not serve you as well when it comes to resolving interpersonal conflict, getting your kids to listen to you, and figuring out what you want to do next in life.
Would you use a hammer to paint? No. You would use a hammer to pound a nail into the wall. You would use a paintbrush and paints to put a new color on the wall, and you would use even finer, higher quality brushes and paints to create a landscape or portrait type painting.
The point is: it’s important to know your strengths just as much as it is to know when to use those strengths – in what situations, with what people, and when. This week, I’m sharing more details about the Hyper-Rational saboteur and hope you’ll want to stay with me to learn more.
Each week I’ve been describing in more detail one of the 10 saboteurs in the model of Positive Intelligence. By learning more about them, you will be better able to catch each saboteur in the act (aka catch it when it is busy talking to you in your mind) and then practice PQ reps to switch to your Sage brain and use our Sage powers. If this is not familiar to you, please read more about the model here.
Alongside the Judge (the strongest saboteur for all of us), one of the 9 accomplice saboteurs is the Hyper-Rational. When this one is among your strongest saboteurs, and when it is in the driver’s seat, you have an “intense and exclusive focus on the rational processing of everything, including relationships.”* You can even “be perceived as cold, distant, and intellectually arrogant.”* Maybe this is you. Or maybe this brings someone to mind that you know from your personal life or work life. Heck, it may even bring to mind whole groups of people you’ve known in your life. I invite you to read on to learn more about the strengths that underlie the negative aspects of the Hyper-Rational saboteur, as well as more about its characteristics so you can catch it in the act.
Strength Sides of the Hyper-Rational
When you use the Sage parts of your brain which include parts of the right brain and your empathy circuitry, you can easily access and leverage the strength sides of the Hyper-Rational, which include being:
- Capable of deep insight and understanding through objective analysis
- Very observant and perceptive
- Powerful with mental concentration
- Able to drive towards great expertise in an area of knowledge
- A great explorer and inventor
But, what happens when you are feeling negative emotions like frustration, anxiety, shame, anger, sadness? That is when the saboteur or survivor parts of the brain are activated, and unfortunately the negative behavioral aspects of the saboteur influence your perceptions, your actions, and your inaction. Basically, you are not at your best – and you may be causing damage to yourself and others.
What are the typical negative emotions of the Hyper-Rational saboteur?*
- Being frustrated with others being emotional and not rational enough.
- Feeling anxious about needing to preserve your personal time, energy, and resources against intrusions.
- Feeling different, alone, and not understood.
- Often being skeptical or cynical.
When your Hyper-Rational saboteur is at the helm, you may be thinking thoughts such as:*
- The rational mind is where it is at.
- Feelings are distracting and irrelevant.
- Many people are so irrational and sloppy in their thinking.
- “Needs and emotions of others distract me from my projects.”
- “I need to shut out intrusions.”
- “What I value most is knowledge, understanding, and insight.”
- Self-worth is about mastering knowledge and competence.
Watch Out for These Characteristics of the Hyper-Rational Saboteur in Yourself and in Others:*
- Having an intense and active mind.
- Sometimes coming across as intellectually arrogant or secretive.
- Being overly Private and not letting others into your deeper feelings.
- Mostly showing feelings through passion in ideas.
- Preferring to just watch the craziness around you and analyze from a distance.
- Losing track of time due to your intense concentration.
- Having a high penchant for skepticism and debate.
Keep in mind there are incredibly valuable strengths underlying these characteristics. The key is when it is the right time to use these tools? Remember the contrast between the hammer and the paintbrush.
When you are not selective about when to bring forth those strengths, the impact on others can include unintentionally intimidating others – especially those who are not as analytical as you are. You may also be limiting the depth and flexibility of your relationships at work and in your broader life because you focus too much on analyzing rather than experiencing feelings.
So what can you do to leverage the Hyper Rational strengths and minimize the negative side?
- Build awareness of the saboteur characteristics so you can catch the negative and stop it in its tracks
- Practice PQ reps and the other practices from the Positive Intelligence mental fitness model
- Strengthen your Sage powers to more intentionally and thoughtfully use your rational mind
What’s the payoff for doing so?
When you use your Sage brain and the strength side of your saboteurs, you experience your highest level of performance, much greater creativity, and sustained happiness. I want this for you – and for all of us. Imagine a world where we could each be recognized for and best utilize our strengths while minimizing (if not eliminating) the negative side?
Am I saying the all negative emotions are bad all of the time? No. Absolutely not. What I am saying is that negative emotions are useful only for 1 second – just enough time to catch it, see that as a sign you need to switch to Sage brain, and reframe through the more positive, productive lens of the strength side of your saboteurs. To learn more about how to do this, and which of your saboteurs are strongest, I invite you to meet with me for a Saboteur Diagnosis session at no cost. SCHEDULE HERE
*Source: Shirzad Chamine and his Positive Intelligence mental fitness model. Erin completed her certification with Shirzad and Positive Intelligence, Inc. in the spring of 2021 and is now a Certified Positive Intelligence mental fitness coach (CPQC).