The Sensory Quotient – Intro and The Idealist
Introduction to the SQ
The Sensory Quotient is a personality tool that helps you see how your Learned Distress is generating the negative situations in your life. The SQ can help you see that the negative stuff happening for you isn’t just “the way it is to be me,” but rather just the result of the Learned Distress (which you can unlearn).
It gives you an objective picture of how your brain stores the sense that “there’s something wrong with me.” It also shows you the survival mechanism your brain developed to cope with or control your Learned Distress.
Quanta Change founder Mimi Herrmann identified 6 basic SQ patterns. I’ll describe each of them over my next few posts. You can find out your own pattern for free by taking this Sensory Quotient test and I will graph it.
The Idealist Pattern
Idealists are those people who, from the outside, seem to have it all together. To survive, they bury or deny everything that doesn’t feel good (their Learned Distress), and create a fantasy that “everything’s great.” An Idealist once said to me, “I understand what Learned Distress is. I just don’t have any.”
To create their fantasy, they focus on some ideal way of being. This can be fairly general, or it can be a specific ideal, like being the entertainer, or a successful business person, or having the perfect marriage and family. They work very hard to maintain this ideal way of being. Life seems good, but it takes a lot of work.
Idealists live in the world of “should.” “It ‘should’ be this way, so I’ll work hard to make it that way.” They tend to be disconnected from how they really feel, and just try to live in that way it “should be.”
I sometimes describe Idealists trying to live at Disneyland – it’s always fun and there’s a parade every day! They don’t like being reminded that “back home,” there are bills due or a broken furnace. “Don’t rock my boat” is the reaction you’ll usually get from an Idealist when you remind them that Learned Distress even exists.
That’s because it reminds them of those feelings they work so hard to keep buried, and they feel that survival depends on keeping them buried. They’ll often react this way even if you tell them about your own problems. And people often bring problems to Idealists because they seem to have it all together, so others feel the Idealist will be able to tell them how to get it all together, too!
As Idealists progress through their lives, this pattern will eventually begin to break down… Mimi called this “the façade cracking.” As this occurs, the Idealist’s ability to “make it all happen” begins to fail, or at the very least, they feel that it gets much harder to keep everything together.
Quanta Change for Idealists
The general direction for Idealists is that things get easier and more aligned to what actually matters to the Idealist, instead of just what “should” matter. Survival has meant disconnecting from how they feel, so they often have little idea of what actually matters to them at the beginning – they just can’t feel that.
For any of the 6 patterns, the direction of change is always towards uniqueness—that we each have a unique place in the world and a way of being human that is generated from our well-being. And that uniqueness is effortless and joyful. So, the Idealist moves from working hard to create the fantasy that everything is OK to a feeling that everything is good and flows easily for them.
Want to know your SQ pattern? Take this free SQ test and we can find out.