SQ, spiritual intelligence

SQ Spiritual Intelligence is a concept that is on the rise, in addition to IQ (Intelligence), a concept that has been known for some time and the more recent EQ (Emotional Intelligence). Spiritual intelligence is a form of intelligence regarding approaching and solving questions of meaning. It is about connecting thinking: creativity, insight and intuitive ability. SQ is seen as the basis or essence of our intelligence and an indispensable foundation for the functioning of IQ and EQ.

Spiritual intelligence

Before proceeding to discuss the meaning of spiritual intelligence, a brief outline is given of the long-standing IQ and EQ concept.

IQ – Intelligence (Quotient)

IQ has been a well-known concept for a long time. Many people have taken an IQ test (whether seriously or officially) (possibly also participated in the national IQ test on TV). The IQ is a measure of analytical and rational intelligence: the ability to solve logical or strategic tasks. It’s about serial, linear and objective thinking. IQ stands for Intelligence Quotient and refers to a number (quotient), which indicates the score or level of the IQ (cognitive ability). An average IQ is between 90 and 110.
For a long time it was thought that the IQ was a good predictor for success in life (education, profession, career, etc.). Yet the concept of an intelligence test and the term IQ have been under discussion for a long time, with the question of what exactly it measures. It was also increasingly pointed out that the concept of IQ/intelligence as it was used covered too limited an area. That there are also multiple forms of intelligence. Someone can be smart, but also very musical, creative or inventive, which can also have a major influence on the course of development in life.

EQ – Emotional intelligence

With the relatively recent introduction of the term Emotional Intelligence or EQ, the monopoly position of IQ was broken. The term emotional intelligence was introduced by Goleman around 1995. Although Goleman did not intend to introduce it as an ‘official concept’, this term has nevertheless been adopted by many and has stuck. Nowadays the concept has become commonplace. Emotional intelligence involves feeling, sensitivity to, awareness of and empathic ability regarding one’s own feelings and those of others. EQ is the ability to think associatively and also influences the acquisition of skills.
EQ is a more subjective concept than IQ, not only in terms of content (because who determines the degree of empathy?), but also because it is not easy to measure objectively. Also, one cannot actually speak of EQ, as Q stands for Quotient and emotional intelligence does not involve statistical calculation and a quotient, as with IQ. So it cannot be expressed in a quotient. Emotional intelligence is seen as an important condition for the effective use of IQ.

SQ – Spiritual intelligence

After IQ and EQ, there is increasing interest in a new form of ‘intelligence’, namely spiritual intelligence or SQ . A term you hear more and more often; which is on the rise and has growing interest. Spiritual intelligence – elaborated by Zohar, among others – is seen as a form of intelligence regarding tackling and solving life’s questions and meaning . It is about connecting thinking, namely: inspiration, creativity, insight and intuitive ability. The American psychologist Maslow described this (long ago in his hierarchy of needs) as a spiritual state of mind in which a person is creative, playful, cheerful and tolerant and enjoys helping others to achieve the same.

SQ – Engine of personal growth

SQ is seen as the engine, the force that drives our personal growth . The development of the SQ not only affects the individual himself, but also influences the way in which people engage in hobbies, work and the people and the world around them. Spiritual intelligence is seen as the ability to place our actions and our presence on earth in a broader context (e.g. vision formation), in order to give meaning to our existence. It is the intelligence with which we determine what really suits us. Whether one course of action or life path is more meaningful than another. SQ enables us to make a personal assessment and individual choices (e.g. when do we choose an education, a job, a partner, etc.).
Spiritual intelligence is seen as the basis or essence of our intelligence and an indispensable basis for the functioning of the IQ and EQ. Spiritual intelligence is not a static concept, but is subject to development and growth. We are always developing, individually in different phases of life, but also in interaction with others (relationships, work, social life, etc.).
Life experience (life wisdom) is a factor in acquiring spiritual intelligence. But life questions also arise – in different forms – at a young age. One way to develop SQ is to develop intuition . This involves learning to listen to your own (inner) voice. Learning to look at and investigate limiting beliefs, to reflect on things and a stronger awareness of one’s own strength .
Spiritual intelligence allows you to ask yourself questions such as: Do I actually want this situation I am in, wouldn’t I rather change it, wouldn’t I rather create a better situation . With the SQ you look at the boundaries of your situation and manage the situation. Are you looking for the meaning of your life? Facets such as dreams, aspirations and visions are guided by your spiritual intelligence .
It is a dynamic whole that will look different from time to time. Man is inclined to move towards a goal and once it has been achieved, to set a new goal. It is human nature to strive for growth and development. Spiritual intelligence is an engine that drives growth. SQ can also be further developed in an active way through self-reflection, self-examination, training and exercise.
Note: just like EQ, SQ cannot actually be spoken of as Quotient


Every person has all forms of intelligence, but the ratio, extent, manner, etc. varies. Someone with a high IQ can have a low EQ and SQ and vice versa. Spiritual intelligence is not necessarily higher in, for example, religious, idealistic or spiritually oriented people.

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  • Test your IQ – Intelligence test
  • EQ – Emotional intelligence
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