Appreciative Intelligence and Mindfulness

Appreciative intelligence, or the ability to see the inherent positivity of the present moment, can bring a new light to our lives and mindfulness practice – Jayita Bhattacharjee explains how.

by Jayita Bhattacharjee

Appreciative intelligence reveals the way to see the giant tree in a seed. It can be defined as a mindset that enables us to enter a situation, no matter what its circumstances are, allowing us to assess a situation or a person by appreciating their positive aspects. By stepping forward with a new perspective, we find out how the future will unfurl. Situations may defy us as far as they may dare, but they don’t stand a chance to impede us. 

If we can concentrate on positivity, then we give a seemingly difficult situation the chance to disentangle itself. Solutions unroll right in front of our eyes. We must ask ourselves a question: what feedback holds essential goodness and delights, and what feedback holds darkness and woes? By deciding on what to gravitate our minds towards, we make a conscious choice and effort to either build, or to break. Appreciative intelligence can unfold unseen feats and write mighty conquests, so as to pave the unpaved path of the future in the most gorgeous way possible. We do not get stuck in the present, but rather build a future: a significant thing to achieve. 

People who are empowered with significant appreciative intelligence can envision the future in the present, as if placing the anticipated experience of the future in the domain of the present. They have enhanced visualisation skills and are privileged with creativity. They can foresee the subsequent small steps that build on one another, and can further create momentum for desired transformation in individuals and their surroundings.

In this context, appreciative intelligence, appreciative inquiry and emotional intelligence all play a key role. We are enabled to be appreciatively intelligent. There are diverse types of intelligence, but we alone appear to single-mindedly focus on cognitive intelligence as opposed to the other forms of intelligence. Heavy concentration on cognitive intelligence does come at the expense of other forms of intelligence. When looked at through the eyes of appreciative inquiry and intelligence, it becomes a dynamic world.

Emotional intelligence also has a huge part to play in all this. It can be defined as the ability to have compassion for others, feeling for them while placing ourselves in their situation. While engaging our mind with appreciating situations, we engage ourselves in the process of creativity. Being consciously focused on appreciative intelligence, we become empowered to analyze and discover the environment, and hence stems the creation of a better future. We begin to examine a new idea/product and its efficacy by getting the community to read, judge and weigh its innovative values. This we do through a process of appreciative inquiry. 

For people who display appreciative intelligence, a core belief is that environments are consciously created. It is not something that just exists beyond our control. These individuals believe that they have a role to play in whatever environment they will live and thrive in. It is a matter of conscious creation. A person defines his or her own environment – we are an integral part of an environment, not outside of it.

Appreciative intelligence is truly the secret to success. It is the ability in an individual not to step back in dire times or to be pushed away by fear, but rather to offer a curious mind and eyes with the hope of a breakthrough in even the darkest times. As the future is seeded in the present, it eventually becomes visible to the individual. They become a visionary of sorts in their own world. It is this proclivity that makes an individual continually work harder and better, with a hope burning in the heart that calls for success to show up at the doorstep.

Material things can be snatched away from a man, but never the mindset, never the predilection. It’s the frame of mind that gives an individual his or her individuality, and that’s something which stays with someone – but while you are born with it, it is not unalterable. Your mindset can be enhanced by proper nurturing and by practicising emotional intelligence.

Try to move through questioning, while at the same time always looking through the lens of positivity. Live through difficulty with the hope that someday it will dissipate, and answers will break in through the questions themselves, just as dawn breaks through the night. At your core, it might be one of the most frightening experiences – they may seem to tear you up, leaving a profound wound inside – but conquer your fears before they conquer you.

One step at a time, raise your appreciative intelligence and know how your appreciation of others might bring an entire transformation in the environment. When all else fails, this unique form of intelligence becomes an innovative approach in riding the waves of defeat and fear.

Appreciative intelligence is a conscious, mindful choice. We are making a conscious effort to concentrate on positivity. It is an effort on our part, and we make that effort through and through. We can override the tendency to focus on the failures and simply see the good, better and best in all things. Appreciative intelligence becomes an essential tool to look past and reconcile with ‘faults’ and ‘failures’. 

Appreciative inquiry can be problem-solving, rather than problem-building. The moment an inquiry comes appreciatively, it evokes gratitude and recognition for the goodness leftover, even when the system has witnessed failures. A mindful pausinh can improve a person’s lens of vision, broadening it and enhancing the range of sight so we can focus on what was overlooked before. This way, things that were ignored come into focus and unattended aspects get taken care of. Instead of being critical and judgmental, appreciative inquiry gives people the sight of seeing unseen things. With time, we learn to see with profundity and clarity. We can mindfully decide to raise the questions that will bring out the best in us.

You can choose to be non-reactive, engaging in this appreciative inquiry. It transforms the art of living. To inquire about other’s actions appreciatively is born of wisdom of your soul. You know yourself first, and then you get to know others. Your wisdom guides you to the truth: that you do not have to master others, but master yourself. That is the light of mindfulness.

Rather than identifying and labeling the faults and weaknesses of others, identify the strengths in others so they in turn become the pillars of building productivity. Study and discover new wonders and possibilities, and value and honor the courage and fortitude in others, even when they may not have brought success at every trial. From that arises the best versions of themselves and yourself. By identifying on what is workable, we bring a transformation in the non-workable things.

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Jayita Bhattacharjee was born in Calcutta, India, later studied Economics at the University of Houston in Economics and had chosen her career as a trustee and teacher. Her Indian residence is in the vicinity of the famous Belur Math. Currently, she is settled in Tampa, Florida. The books The Ecstatic Dance of LifeSacred SanctuaryLight of Consciousness and Dewdrops of Compassion are among several that Jayita has authored.

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