A Different Kind of Intelligence

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Note to friends on the website

The January 30th NY Times had an intriguing article by Thomas Freidman suggesting that something called PQ and CQ could be more important than IQ in a world in which increasing numbers of folks have open and low-cost access to information, education, and news via I-phones, IPads, and I-everythings.  (Not withstanding the observation you and I could make that people of struggle may not have the I-everythings to access all this abundant resource.) 

Coming To The Edge

Coming To The Edge

Of course, my curiosity got the better of me, and so I began to read the entire article, wanting to know what PQ and CQ were.  And whatever they were, did I have them.  I read to the very last paragraph before Friedman even mentioned PQ and CQ and finally explained what they were.  I knew he had hooked me.  I felt as if I had been reeled in like a trout fascinated by a particular lure.  Nothing more luring than undefined initials for a quality I might or might not have. Curiosity may have killed the cat, but it will keep me reading to the very end of an article to figure out what CQ and PQ are.  

CQ is “curiosity quotient.”  I certainly had proved I had that.  

My British husband would say that I have way too much Curiosity Quotient.  I used to walk through his Mum’s village, peering into the tiny beautiful gardens, in a manner that I considered “curious and appreciative,” and which seemed to him just plain nosey.  I however, in my American way, didn’t think it possible to be too curious.  (The story of the dead cat not withstanding.)

But then I have always considered curiosity a virtue, and one that can be developed and strengthened. Through practice. One can practice being curious.  By slowing down, focusing on one thing, and allowing oneself to simply be curious about every dimension of it.  Intrigued.  About what it is.  About how it works.  About what might happen next with it.  A wide sense of wonder. 

 A treasured colleague gave me a brass book mark once that I carry with me:  “Wisdom Begins in Wonder.  Socrates”  

Why practice curiosity?  Because it fosters in us the wisdom that comes from wonder.  

Now what about the PQ thing.  What is that?  

PQ is “passion quotient.”  

Otherwise known as knowing what “makes your heart sing.”  That too can be developed through practice.  But that too, like curiosity, requires slowing down, and paying attention.  In this case paying attention to ones self, to what sparks our interest, to what catches and holds our attention, to what we naturally are drawn to.  William Stafford in his poem entitled “The Way It Is” calls it the thread that we follow among things that change.  And as long as we hold it we can’t get lost. 

For many of us, there may be several such threads.  Mine are nature, water, good conversation, friends, family, writing—so for me the threads are a kind of tapestry. 

What are your passions, dimensions of your life that indicate a high passion quotient?  How do you want to strengthen your PQ?  A first step is an increased awareness of what brings us alive, what most fully engages us.  I’d have to agree with Friedman that it is a kind of intelligence worth having.

And then, I began to wonder, what do both CQ and PQ have in common?  It struck me that they are definers of our uniqueness.  No matter what my IQ untold numbers of people have it as well.  No matter what my expertise however honed it is, untold numbers of people share it.  But CQ and PQ perhaps like DNA define for each of us our unique qualities, our unique gifts to the world.  

And that notion, emerging out of my curiosity and my passion, is worth my reading to the end of the article.