Tomorrow, we are celebrating a holiday in the U.S. that is uniquely anchored in gratitude and appreciation. When we express what we are thankful for, we typically refer to the wonderful things in our lives that we are enjoying right now.However, there is another form of appreciation, i.e., the appreciation of future potential reflected in current situations. For this type of gratitude, it doesn’t matter whether the current situation is good or bad or whether we are already fully able to see the outcomes amid uncertainty.
This type of gratitude is a unique ability called Appreciative Intelligence. It encompasses:
- The ability to reframe a given situation to recognize the positive possibilities embedded in it although they might not be initially apparent.
- The ability to act now so that the desired future can unfold from the present reality (a form of mindfulness).
The concept of Appreciative Intelligence was introduced by Tojo Thatchenkery and Carol Metzker in their book "Appreciative Intelligence: Seeing the Mighty Oak in the Acorn." They proposed that Appreciative Intelligence is a distinct form of intelligence that can be developed and applied in various domains.
Appreciative Intelligence is embedded in skills such as persistence, conviction, comfort with uncertainty, and resilience to overcome challenges. Evidently, these skills are not always easy to develop.
To flex your Appreciative Intelligence muscle, try the following more practical tools:
- Positive Inquiry: The ability to ask questions that focus on strengths, possibilities, and positive aspects of a situation or individual.
- Positive Framing: The skill of reframing challenges or problems in a positive light, seeking opportunities and potential solutions.
- Positive Reflection: The capacity to reflect on past experiences and extract lessons and insights from positive moments.
- Positive Imaging: The ability to envision and imagine positive outcomes and possibilities.
- Positive Dialogue: The skill of engaging in constructive and optimistic conversations that foster collaboration and creativity.
- Positive Action: Taking proactive steps and implementing strategies that leverage strengths and positive aspects to achieve desired outcomes.
The regular practice of Appreciative Intelligence will enable us to take positive action despite uncertainty. Additionally, it will give us a lot more to be thankful for – at any given moment.