What is Existential Intelligence? 10 Signs You Have Above-Average Existential Intelligence

Zeynep İrem Çobanoğlu

Zeynep İrem Çobanoğlu

Yeditepe Üniversitesi Psikoloji

Many people go about their lives happily not having brooding about life’s big questions.
Most of them are quite content to spend their time on television shows, shopping or celebrity gossip. These people ask, “Why are we here? What is our purpose in life? What will happen to us after we die?” They rarely think about such questions.
While indifference to existential questions is not a problem for these people, such a simple intellectual life is not enough for some people.

What is Existential Intelligence?

While many people avoid talking about life and death, religion and spirituality, the nature of existence, those with high existential intelligence take great pleasure in talking about these topics.
Howard Gardner, who developed the Theory of Multiple Intelligences, dedicated the existential intelligence label to people who can think philosophically. According to Gardner, existential intelligence includes the ability to use collective values and instinct to understand others and the outside world.
Additionally, while most people spend time dealing with the details of life, people with existential intelligence spend most of their time trying to see the big picture.
Philosophers, theologians, psychologists, or spiritualists are often among those with high existential intelligence.


10 Signs That You Have Above-Average Existential Intelligence:

1) You get lost in thought for hours, discussing different aspects of human existence with deep internal discussions.
2) When asked a question, you always prefer to give your answer by seeing the big picture, not by obsessing over unnecessary details.
3) When you have to make a decision, you consider every possible outcome and how those outcomes will affect you and others.
4) You have a great interest in philosophical and religious discussions.
5) You are interested in social morals and values.
6) When you meet someone, it is very important for that person to have the same values and morals as you and to be friends with them.
7) You often think about the nature of consciousness.
8) You often wonder what happens to people after death and where we were before we were born.
9) Others think you are quiet and deep.
10) It is very difficult for you to detach from your thoughts and enjoy unimportant activities and pastimes.


What Are the Advantages of Having Existential Intelligence?

Increasing your existential intelligence allows you to see the big picture and better understand other people. This is especially important in business and relationships.
People with high existential intelligence are intuitive, insightful, and thoughtful. They are loving and caring towards other people, animals, plants and the whole world.
Being able to grasp existential thoughts can be the key to living a more meaningful life.

How Can You Develop Your Existential Intelligence?

Examine Philosophical or Religious Schools That Have Got Your Attention:
If Buddha, Socrates or Jesus are of interest to you and attract your curiosity, you can take the first step to improve yourself in an existential sense by reading their books and teachings, learning their life stories and advice.
If you can’t understand which aspects of philosophy or religion interest you, start by learning the most basic aspects of Western and Eastern philosophies and work your way into the details.


To decide:
Every time you have to make a decision, think it through, considering all the possible consequences and implications of that decision. Do not rush. Try to have different perspectives to make the best decision for yourself and your environment.

Don’t Be Too Busy To Think And Reduce Your Screen Time:
A short walk in the open air or a simple meditation exercise will get you into deep thought easily.
It also allows you to get in touch with yourself and shows you aspects of your inner world that you were not aware of before. It would be very difficult for you to reach this stage by constantly looking at the screen or not engaging in any creative activity outside of work.


Volunteer to Help Other People:
The best way to clear your head and thoughts, to have a clear perspective, is to help others. Volunteering has been scientifically proven to increase happiness.
The sense of meaning and compassion you will feel when you put the needs of others before your own will improve your existential thinking.

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