What is Adversity Quotient or “AQ”? It’s a measurement of a person’s resilience, such as IQ is one way to measure a person’s intelligence: Intelligence Quotient.
While “AQ” is IQ’s lesser known cousin, it’s not necessarily any less important.
Understanding your Adversity Quotient is quite important. It tells a lot about you, your drive against obstacles obstructing your endeavors, and how resilient you’ll be during trying circumstances.
Resilience-Why growing your Adversity Quotient is critical
Adversity Quotient is how you respond to life–especially the hard stuff. It’s a gauge and a measure of how you deal with everything from stress at home, to work, the small hassles and the “big deals” that come your way on a daily and also rare basis.
The more resilient you are, the more constructively and effectively you can respond to and work through life difficulties. Having this resilience, this ability to handle adversity, also makes life more fulfilling. You aren’t so easily dragged down by tough situations.
The Science of Adversity Quotient
I can’t get too in depth about it here, but there are direct links between your “neurophysiology” and “cognitive phycology”. Meaning there is a direct link between how you respond to adversity and your mental and physical health. The more poorly your respond to it, the less mentally, and even physically healthy you will be. The opposite is also true. This is called “phychoneuroimmunology”.
Control is essential to longevity, health and fulfillment. Out of control people are unhappy, make others unhappy, and usually lead a shorter life.
Growing and Improving Your AQ
The brain is ideally formed to create habits. The habits you have don’t have to be the same. You can start to change them immediately.
A person’s response to adversity doesn’t have to stay the same. It can be changed, and gradually and immediately improve.
Think of it as “interrupting” your old habits. Interrupt your old response to adversity.
We respond to adversity in constant, subconscious patterns. We have to receive feedback from others and give ourselves transparent feedback to become more self-aware about our lacking adversity quotient. Once you realize and identify how you respond to adversity, and what types of adversity you respond poorly too, you can “interrupt” your pattern of response.
What’s the number one thing you can do to improve your Adversity Quotient?
Get feedback from people. Pray and process about what adverse circumstances drag you down. Think through how you can interrupt your fixed response patterns. Left unchecked, these patterns will remain with you for a lifetime.
Take an Adversity Quotient test. These are real tests that give you a number score just like the IQ test. Taking will tell you a lot about yourself you may have not known!
READERS: After we published this the author who spent decades devoting his life to researching, studying, and publishing about Adversity Quotient commented below. Please visit Dr. Paul Stoltz’s website www.peaklearning.com. If you are interested in taking the AQ test, he suggests you email them directly at firstname.lastname@example.org to get set up!
A Picture of Resilience–Beck Weathers
Beck Weathers made a trip to ascend Mount Everest in May of 1996. As you can tell by the photo below, he is the epitomy of a man with a high Adversity Quotient. Everything went wrong on his trip.
Beck Weathers had corrective eye surgery years before. His eyes response to the extremely thin oxygen levels near the highest summit on Earth was “snow blindness.” Beck couldn’t see more than 3 feet in front of him. His guide, Rob Hall, made him agree to not ascend to the summit and wait for him till he got back.
Another group of climbers returning down from a whiteout storm came upon Weathers. They decided to help him down, but a storm with 70 mph winds forced them to merely huddle together for warmth. During a lull of the storm one man went back to camp for assistance. Hours later help returned, but decided Beck and one other were too unresponsive (comatose) and they were left for dead.
Weathers slept through the night, and was found in the morning by two sherpas who chipped pieces of ice off his face. They were shocked to find him still breathing. He was eventually air-lifted in the highest-altitude helicopter rescue up to that time.
He survived with blindness to one eye and severe frostbite to his face and both hands.
Here’s the most vivid, and extreme, picture of a person’s Adversity Quotient that I can quote:
[quote]I was lying on my back in the ice. It was colder than anything you can believe. I figured I had three or four hours left to live, so I started walking. All I knew was, as long as my legs would run, and I could stand up, I was going to move toward that camp, and if I fell down, I was going to get up. And if I fell down again, I was going to get up, and I was going to keep moving until I either hit that camp, I couldn’t get up at all, or I walked off the face of that mountain.
“Overcome” photo courtesy of http://dribbble.com/joehoracek
“Beck Weathers” photo credit Ed Visteurs