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Mental Fitness - Your Ticket to a More Self-Determined Life

Updated: Jun 20, 2022

What if you could quickly shift from negative feelings to positive feelings? If you could thereby act in accordance with your values and thus enable the changes at work and in other areas of life that you ardently desire? This would make it possible to create your work-life balance in such a way that it meets your innermost needs and really fills you up from the inside. This joy then radiates and brings about completely new changes within yourself, which in turn lead to new gifts and opportunities. You start to use your potential to the fullest and also to promote it in others. And all this without any struggle, but with "ease and flow".

This is not crazy, but actually possible with Mental Fitness Training, also called PQ Training, and a little practice. According to Shirzad Chamine, best-selling author of "PQ - Positive Intelligence" and lecturer at Stanford University in California, only 20% of teams and individuals realize their potential. The majority of all people sabotage themselves and spend far too much time with negative feelings or make themselves and others feel small.

Why is this and how can you better use your own potential to achieve your personal and professional dreams and desires?

Learn in this article the basics of Mental Fitness according to Shirzad Chamine.

  1. There are certain inner voices, called saboteurs in PQ training, that constantly speak to you and keep you down. One of them is the "master saboteur", the inner judge, who constantly tells you that you are not good enough, that you can't do anything, that you will always fail...

  2. There are simple exercises, so called "PQ Reps", with which you can learn to catch your inner saboteurs, to look at them more closely and then to be able to decide more consciously how you best act in a certain situation. The point here is that you observe yourself better and consciously decide each time how you want to deal with a situation. This gives you more control over your actions. This is the "self-command muscle."

  3. The five "Sage Powers" give you ways of acting that open up completely new horizons. Instead of giving free rein to negative feelings such as anger, frustration, rage, disappointment, you see new perspectives, opportunities and possibilities, and act out of a positive mood.

Mental Fitness according to Shirzad Chamine

I first heard about "Positive Intelligence" through a LinkedIn post. A colleague had completed the "PQ Coach" certification and was raving about the impact the program had left on her. This piqued my curiosity. I listened to the introductory video for aspiring coaches by Shirzad Chamine. He talked about wanting to guide people to live better lives. Because time is of the essence. We don't have time to keep dwelling on our negative feelings and putting things off. To get angry at ourselves, at others or at situations. There are global crises that we as humanity must overcome. For this, we need leaders who are self-confident and self-determined, and who are courageous to take new constructive paths. With his "Mental Fitness" program, he wants to help people take their abilities to a higher level.

Negative emotions - important for survival

Our "survival brain" has stored some things that help us to survive. For example, we feel pain when we put our hand on a hot stove. This is a good thing because it warns us that it is hot and we could burn ourselves. We automatically pull our hand off the plate to avoid greater damage.

Figuratively speaking, however, in life it is often the case that we leave our hand on the hot plate. You take your anger about the HR boss, who has annoyed you again, home with you... Your whole evening is spoiled and the next day you don't feel like going to the company at all.

Or in a project meeting you are once again reproached for being too critical. You think about it and can't sleep. The next day, you hate yourself for it, and of course all your critics, and you're no longer sure if you want to work there...

We also burn our fingers in the private sphere. You yelled at your teenager, who is getting on your last nerve, and took away his Playstation... Now you despise not only your son, but also yourself for this harsh reaction and the situation as a whole, because why does the son always have to act so stupid when all hell is breaking loose in the company?

In Mental Fitness Training, you learn to take your hand off the stove much faster and thus regain your energy and a clear head more quickly. You learn to consciously decide how you want to deal with the situation and thus come closer and closer to your goals and your personal vision of how you want to live.

The Judge, your master saboteur

Shirzad Chamine defines in his book "Positive Intelligence" 10 saboteurs that can make your life difficult. The main saboteur, which every human being carries within himself, is the inner judge.

This saboteur always plays tricks on us when it comes to taking a step forward and standing by our true needs. Many people suffer from the "impostor syndrome" at some point in their lives. Although they have proven themselves professionally for a long time and have successfully completed various further training courses, they are convinced that they are not good enough and that everything will soon be exposed. The whole world will then realize that they can't do anything and don't deserve their success.

Such self-doubt is normal. I know it too. If you calmly make a list of everything you have already achieved in your life so far, which challenges you have mastered and how you have dealt with difficulties, a quite considerable list of achievements will emerge. No, you don't need ANOTHER diploma to show that you know your way around the field. No, what you have experienced and gone through is an accomplishment, you have learned an insane amount from it and now you can pass that on. So don't hold yourself down and don't beat yourself up either. Just try it out and enjoy what you will learn. In the worst case it has no effect, but if you don't try it, you never know…

"PQ Reps" help with self-control

In the Mental Fitness Program, you learn how to recognize and "catch" your own saboteurs. With short mindfulness exercises in everyday life, you learn to take a step back at any time and compose yourself. Of course, this doesn't work from the beginning. That's why we compare it to building muscle in the gym. You start with small weights, work out regularly, and then over the weeks you see how you get stronger. It's a process. No matter where you are in life, you are picked up right there and can start training according to your level.

The exercises and training content are very efficient. You will probably realize some things that have been bothering you for decades. It was like this for me. Through an empathy exercise, I was suddenly able to see things that were impossible before. I was able to reconcile with my childhood and with my mother, whom I had previously only seen negatively from the saboteur perspective. That alone was worth doing this program.

The five Sage Powers

The examination of the five Sage Powers is one of the most beautiful parts of the program. This is about the strengths that everyone has within themselves and how to use them positively in everyday life.

The five strengths of the Sage (Sage Powers) are:

1. Empathize

2. Explore

3. Innovate

4. Navigate

5. Activate

Depending on the situation, you can use one or more appropriate Sage Powers.

Let's take again the previous example of the HR boss who annoyed you. You can now get angry with her and let your judge-saboteur judge. Or, you can consciously decide to take a closer look. What do you think happened there? What annoys you about it? What does it have to do with you? What does it say about the other person? You might curiously embark on a journey of discovery, like a fascinated anthropologist or Sherlock Holmes with a magnifying glass. You begin to understand what's going on, understand yourself better, and see new possibilities. That is the "Explore" power.

But you could also ask yourself if the situation at work in general still matches your values and life direction. Maybe you've been thinking about what other career options might be available to you for a while now, and the incident has made you decide to finally take stock of where you are and actively move forward with your career planning. This would be the "Activate" power and leads you into laser-focused action.

There is also the possibility that you take this HR boss as your personal trainer for empathy and patience. That would then be the "Empathize" power. Every time she comes to you again and wants something from you that doesn't suit you, you see in her the real person who also just wants to be loved, and try to deal with her lovingly and patiently. Maybe this will also change her behavior. At least you can look forward to new training sessions and grow with it.

You could also bring up the matter again with her and then play a creativity game together with her and thus use the "Innovate" power. Here you assume that at least 10% of an idea she has is good. There are no bad ideas in this exercise. For each idea you answer, "What I like about this idea is.... (the 10%) AND ..." add something else. Conversely, the HR boss also has to think about what 10% she likes of your idea AND add something. You can play this for 10 - 20 minutes or even longer and surely you will find completely new solutions. The beauty of it is that both parties were involved in the solution.

Another possibility is to listen to your inner compass, the "Navigate" power. Ask yourself if this conflict will still be important in 10 years or if it will still be important in a year or a month. If not, then don't waste your energy on it. There are enough other things worth worrying about.

What do you take away for yourself from this article? Did you already know everything? What surprised you the most?

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