Quotient Types: The AQ, EQ, IQ, OQ, UQ (and Sometimes YQ)

CNN ran a story honoring the anniversary of Notorious B.I.G.’s death. Of course, the comment-section quickly shot off on several tangents.

One comment mentioned an interesting term I’d never heard before — The AQ, or Adversity Quotient.

Biggie Small’s sizable AQ was being compared to the classic determinants of successful and superior accomplishment that everyone is familiar with — The IQ, Intelligence Quotient, and The EQ, Emotional Quotient.

The generally agreed-upon theory, as summarized by the commenter, is that a high IQ is worthless if you have a low EQ. In other words, a genius who can’t relate well to others can’t make the most of his intelligence.

On the other hand AQ, the “Adversity Quotient,” predicts “how well one withstands adversity and his ability to triumph over it.”

Dr. Paul Stoltz’ writes, “In fact, AQ is a better index in achieving success than IQ, education or even social skills (EQ).”

According to Stoltz, “AQ is the most scientifically robust and widely used method in the world for measuring and strengthening human resilience. Top leaders, industry-leading companies, and governments worldwide use AQ to enhance or transform characteristics such as performance, productivity, and innovation.”

Further, like IQ, AQ can be tested, with scores falling among three broad categories:

  • Low AQ (0–59): Low levels of motivation, energy, performance, and persistence. Tendency to catastrophize events.
  • Moderate AQ (95–134): Under-utilization of potential. Problems take a significant and unnecessary toll, making climbing difficult.
  • High AQ (166–200): Maintains appropriate perspective on events and responses to them. Able to continue forward with upward progress despite significant adversity.

One estimate suggests that “worldwide IQ’s are improving on average by 3 points every decade.”

But with the milieu of challenges facing us in the 21st century, is AQ trending in the same direction?

The struggle is part of life. Like Biggie said, “I’m living everyday like a hustle, another drug to juggle. Another day, another struggle.”

If you haven’t been touched by struggle and tragedy, you will eventually. Thus, every single one of us can benefit from improved AQ and heightened resilience.

Fortunately, there are mountains of literature dedicated to improving AQ.

The list of things you can do to improve AQ is vast and includes:

  • exercising, physical exertion
  • practicing Stoic philosophy
  • building a religious faith
  • practicing delayed gratification
  • practicing Wim Hof
  • making cold sales calls
  • doing one thing everyday that scares you

The common theme is to get outside your comfort zone — literally practice discomfort. It’s like the old runners mantra, “Embrace the suck.” Get comfortable with being uncomfortable.

Over time, you can strengthen the link between physical and mental resilience.

A mindset shift can occur inside you when you look at difficulties or hard work almost like a game. A game that’s building your AQ and preparing you for bigger things.

This got me thinking. We have AQ, EQ, and IQ. What other quotient types are there out there waiting to be defined?

Of course, it helps to have the Self-Knowledge to accurately recognize when you’ve gotten content, stagnate, or need a new approach.

Thus I propose the UQ — the “You Quotient” — as a measure of self-knowledge and personal intelligence.

Like Socrates’ famous phrase “Know Thyself,” and Carl Jung’s quest for a fully integrated Self, the UQ reflects our ability to understand ourselves. How well do you know your strengths, acknowledge your limitations, and accurately evaluate yourself and your situation?

Those with high UQ’s have the ability to turn this inward gaze outward and use it to accurately read people, situations, and wield the principles of influence and persuasion.

“Kinesthetic Intelligence” also falls under the UQ. The physical side of self-awareness involves the building of proprioception and the bodily-awareness that’s attributed to peak-performance in all levels of physical endeavor.

Of course… everyone’s favorite physical endeavor is sex. And your inner awkward teenager can confirm that the sexual arts have a certain learning curve all their own.

Thus, that leads us to what we’ll call the “Orgasm Quotient”, or the “OQ” — and your mind can fill in all the cheeky NSFW bits.

That said, one can argue that the hottest sex organ is in fact the one between our ears. Which is fitting since this is a mental game we’re playing. Ultimately, I believe all our quotients overlap and inform each other holistically.

As such, we have the AQ, EQ, IQ, OQ, and UQ.

But let’s not forget that sometimes… sometimes there’s the YQ. The “Why Quotient.

Because as Nietzsche said, and Victor Frankl refined “He who has a ‘why’ to live, can bear any how.”

Thus the YQ is the measure of our ability to define and pursue meaning in our Life. Note, I didn’t say happiness. No, the YQ wrestles with the big existential questions.

Is there a God? What happens when we die? Am I wasting my time doing what I’m doing (or not doing)?

Do I sit comfortably with the knowledge that the Universe is 13.75 Billion years old? And the fact that all that time has lead to you and me and this exact moment…

So who are you? What’s your why?

To wrestle with the big questions is to be humbled by the bigness of life; to answer your why, to honor the gift.

“You know very well who you are. Don’t let em hold you down. Reach for the stars.” — Biggie Smalls

So let’s cherish the small things, but attack life. Let’s work to engage all of our quotients, and do BIG Things.

Pattern recognition is the task of the Artist. This is the pattern recognition you’re looking for.

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