How to Benefit the Life of Others and Yourself

How to Benefit the Life of Others and Yourself

In a recent article written by Debra J. VanderVoort, of the University of Hawaii, she states that research has demonstrated that an increase of intrapersonal intelligence impacts every aspect of your life and well as that of our society.  She defines intrapersonal intelligence as “Awareness of feelings, psychological insight, ability to manage emotions, and behave in ways that meet ones needs and goals”.  At Consentia Group and Corestrengths we call this Relational Intelligence®.  There is a significant body of research that verifies that when Relational Intelligence is increased, there is a benefit to both the individual and society as a result (Debra J. VanderVoort, Current Psychology / Spring 2006, University of Hawaii, Hilo).

Her article is fascinating because she is arguing for intrapersonal intelligence training to be incorporated early and often in the curriculum of high education because the data clearly indicates that it is the one thing that impacts the entirety of one’s life.  Additionally, research has demonstrated that intrapersonal intelligence is highly moldable, which means that people can make changes in their life when they have self-awareness and skills to implement their insights into their relationships.  ((Cohen, 1999; Goleman, 1995; Topping, Holmes, & Bremmer, 2000).

Every area of life is impacted positively when someone develops self-awareness about what is motivating them, why they make some decisions over others, when they are aware of how they change in conflict and are selective on what behaviors to exhibit while interacting with others.  If people understand the impact they have on others and how they are perceived, they can modify their behavior and be more successful in working with others.  The one skill that is tied to success in all aspects of life is the ability to work with others well.

We know that when curriculum for intrapersonal intelligence is employed in primary and secondary education, behavior issues that interfere with learning decreases measurably. (Caplan et al., 1992; Cohen, 1999).  Students learn more effectively in this environment where mutual understanding and self-understanding is increased.  As young people grow in intrapersonal intelligence, they are more likely to choose a marriage partner that will result in a happier home.  By having self-awareness of their motivations and what strengths they natural gravitate and use effectively, they choose careers that create greater satisfaction and happiness.  When people enjoy their work, they accomplish more.

These aren’t the only benefits of an increase of Relational Intelligence from an early age.  Studies show that people with Relational Intelligence have better mental health.  They have less anxiety, deal less with depression, and report a general sense of wellbeing.  Crime and violence have a link to people who struggle in self-awareness and intrapersonal skills.  Society as a whole, would benefit if more attention to be focused on Relational Intelligence early on in a life.

People deficient in intrapersonal awareness raise children who exhibit the same limitations.  We reproduce people like us.  Parents with intrapersonal awareness reproduce children that are healthier and more likely to succeed in life.  Relationships predict results.  The earlier on we can build Relational Intelligence, the greater success our children will have in life.

Corestrengths is the preferred tool from my perspective as it is easily understood and implemented into one’s life.  It is both simple and profound.  It is not simplistic – grouping people into a number of boxes and descriptions.  It offers a simple and understandable foundation of motivations that drive behaviors, which are numerous.  By knowing one’s motivation and other’s motivation, one can chose the behavior (strength) that will get the best results and enhance relationships.  When one communicates in the right style, significantly better results are likely.  Understanding that conflict is related to motivations and motivations change in conflict enables a person to navigate the complexity of relationships.  These are concepts that can easily mastered and taught to others.

Schools that are aware of the benefits of relational self-awareness will want to begin investing in Relational Awareness.  This should begin with the instructors.  Teaching is a highly relational occupation.  Connecting with students and understanding how to motivate them is required for success.  Informed schools will integrate Relational Intelligence training by high school.  We are already seeing colleges integrating Relational Intelligence into their core curriculum.  By doing this, they will give students and head start in better results through relationships.

But schools are not the only place that Relational Intelligence training should be taking place.  The workplace is already heavily investing in training their workers.  But churches, civic organizations, and non-profits should be investing as well.  The mission of these organizations requires strong relational skills to succeed.  The research is undisputable.  Those who have been equipped in intrapersonal awareness have a leg up on others.  The cost is low when you consider the life-long impact of the investment.  You can learn more about becoming a facilitator of Corestrengths at  Perhaps God will use you in the life of others to make a difference that will impact not only individuals, but the world.


Caplan, M., Weissberg, R.P., Grober, J.S., Sivo, J., Grady, K., & Jacoby, C. (1992). Social competence program with inner-city and suburban young adolescents: Effects of social adjustment and alcohol use. Debra J. VanderVoort, Current Psychology / Spring 2006, University of Hawaii, Hilo Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 60, 56453.

Cohen, J. (ed.) (1999). Educating minds and hearts: Social emotional learning and the passage into adolescence. New York: Teachers College Press.

Gardner, H. (1983). Frames of mind: The theory of multiple intelligences. New York: Basic Books

Topping, K., Holmes, E.A., & Bremmer, W. (2000). The effectiveness of school-based programs for the promotion of social competence. In R. Bar-On & J.D. Parker (Eds.), The handbook of emotional intelligence: Theory, development, assessment.

Bruce Terpstra

Our President, Dr. Bruce Terpstra, has 36 years of pastoral ministry experience. He is a veteran of 17 years in denominational leadership and developed more than 70 new churches in the New York metro area and has given oversight to almost 400 pastors. He holds a doctorate in Leadership Development and is also the founder of 3KeyCoaching and the author of Three Passions of the Soul.