Holistic Intelligence (why following your heart isn’t enough)

Posted June 19, 2013 by Rebecca Niziol in On the Ladder

There’s a lot of talk out there about following your heart. When you do it leads you to your passion, to your deepest desires. It takes you away from doing what other people want you to do, or what you think you should be doing. You tap into your emotions, and make decisions from a much deeper place.

I can tell you that following your heart alone isn’t enough. For instance, if you move across the country to be with the man you love, but forget to think logically about how you are going to make money when you get out there, and where you’re going to live, you could be getting yourself into quite the mess. Your heart is an important place to tap into if you have to make a decision that requires using your emotional intelligence. But it’s only part of the whole picture.

When you follow your heart, you are only using about 33% of your intelligence.

We are at our best when we are operating holistically; that is using all our analytical, emotional, and intuitive intelligence. The combination of all three is where our true wisdom resides. The good news is you are already really good at one (maybe two) of these. If you can learn to hone your skills within the other(s), you will start making better decisions and thriving using holistic intelligence.

First, you need to be aware or and understand your dominant intelligence. Based on your unique make up, skill set, and experience you are already very comfortable using one of these:

Analytical Intelligence uses practical information, logic, and scientific proof to make decisions. This form of mental power uses critical skills like problem solving, and is considered a more traditional way of processing information. Math and science types resonate mostly here. If you love facts, hard evidence, and proof on paper you probably have a very high analytical intelligence.

Emotional Intelligence uses feeling and senses to gather information and make decisions. It is the ability to understand, manage, and control emotions. This type of intelligence is particularly important in creating meaningful connections and relationships between things, people, and experiences. If you excel at tuning into your own and others emotions, you probably have a high emotional intelligence.

 Intuitive Intelligence is the ability to tap into your best (highest) self and operate from that place. This inner wisdom relies on a guidance system built into who we are or tapped into through spiritual practices. If you often “just know” or can’t explain why you need to do things you likely are operating with high levels of intuitive intelligence.

You’ve likely gotten really good at making use of your dominant intelligence. Your career probably relies on it, or you use it to get ahead in life. When you make decisions from this place you feel confident, comfortable, and powerful. Imagine if you were using the other 66%…

Want to be a real intelligence power house? Use holistic intelligence.

Continue relying on your dominant intelligence as you start to integrate the other two into your processing system. Start by challenging yourself to consider more than just one way of thinking about things. This is the equivalent of taking a step back and looking at the big picture. Most people only use one, and live from that somewhat limited viewpoint. When you use all three forms of intelligence you are using all the information available to you, not just parts of it. You’ll start to notice you are making decisions quicker and easier, and seeing more positive results.

Not sure what working intuitively is like? The next time you need to make a decision go with your first choice (instinct), trust it and stick with it.

Struggling with the analytical side? Notice how you feel having some solid evidence behind you.

Not emotionally inclined? Consider your own and others feelings before making a decision and see what the results are.

Holistic intelligence captures this powerful trifecta, and puts you ahead of the curve. The great news: it is completely up to you to start using it! The next time someone tells you to “follow your heart”, ensure them you are, and you are also using your practical mind and intuition.

About the Author

Rebecca Niziol

Rebecca Niziol, ELI-MP, is many things: a life coach, yoga teacher, dancer, event planner, connection catalyst, and your new best friend. Her mission is to empower others to live the authentic life of their dreams. After years of traveling North America and Europe, she is happy to have found a home and community in Chicago.