Developing a Balanced You Using Covey’s 4 Intelligences

I’m interested to Stephen Covey’s concept of 4 intelligences in his book The 8th Habit. While there are other concepts on multiple intelligence such as Howard Gardner’s, Covey’s concept is interesting for me because it deals with all four parts of human nature: body, mind, heart, and spirit.

Here are the 4 intelligences:

  • Physical intelligence (PQ)
    Our ability to maintain and develop our physical fitness. It corresponds to body.
  • Mental intelligence (IQ)
    Our ability to analyze, reason, think abstractly, use language, visualize, and comprehend. It corresponds to mind.
  • Emotional intelligence (EQ)
    Our self-knowledge, self-awareness, social sensitivity, empathy and ability to communicate successfully with others. It corresponds to heart.
  • Spiritual intelligence (SQ)
    Our drive for meaning and connection with the infinite. It corresponds to spirit.

I like this concept of intelligence because it clearly shows that we need to develop and balance all parts of our life, something I firmly believe.

Do you know which of the 4 intelligences is considered the most important by Covey? The answer is spiritual intelligence. Why? Because spiritual intelligence “becomes the source of guidance of the other three”.

I completely agree with him. It is our life purpose and meaning that inspire our other areas of life. Ironically, it may also be the least talked about among the four.

Appendix 1 of The 8th Habit outlines an action plan for developing the 4 intelligences. I can’t get into the details, but here is the summary of how to develop the 4 intelligences:

  • Physical intelligence (PQ)
    • Wise nutrition
    • Consistent balanced exercise
    • Proper rest, relaxation, and stress management, and prevention thinking
  • Mental intelligence (IQ)
    • Continuous, systematic, disciplined study and education
    • Cultivation of self-awareness (by making assumptions explicit)
    • Learning by teaching and doing
  • Emotional intelligence (EQ)
    Applying the 7 Habits of Highly Effective People which consists of: be proactive, begin with the end in mind, put first things first, think win-win, seek first to understand then to be understood, synergize, and sharpen the saw.
  • Spiritual intelligence (SQ)
    • Making and keeping promises
    • Educating and obeying your conscience
    • Asking questions to yourself and living the answers

As Covey said in the book, “Though you may find some of it to be simple common sense, remember, common sense is not common practice, and I guarantee that if you will focus your efforts in these areas, you will find that great peace and power will come into your life.”

I always believe that balance between all aspects of our life is crucial if we are to live our life to the fullest. As such, I urge you to start working on these 4 intelligences. It’s a good framework to ensure that your personal growth is balanced. Furthermore, I urge you to give special attention to spiritual intelligence. Though it is the most important of the four, I’m afraid that it is also the one we least develop.


  1. […] Further Reading: Develop Covey’s 4 intelligences […]

  2. […] Develop a balanced you at […]

  3. […] Fill your mind with the purest possible information It’s not enough just to limit your information intake. Doing so will create a vacuum which will later be filled with another kind of noise. You should fill that vacuum to prevent that other kind of noise from taking over your mind. How should you fill it? You should fill it with the purest possible information you can get. This is the only kind of information you can safely consume. Like it or not, this step deals with your spiritual intelligence (SQ). As Covey said, SQ is the most important of all intelligences because it gives you guidance. Consequently, the kind of purest information you should fill your mind with is spiritual texts. In my experience, this is the purest information you can possibly get. […]

  4. […] So to accurately sense the wind you need to sharpen your intuition. You sharpen your intuition by increasing your spiritual intelligence (one of the four intelligences in Stephen Covey’s The 8th Habit). Spiritual intelligence (SQ) – I believe – has strong influence on intuition. It makes your intuition more sensitive. It makes you capable to accurately sense where the wind is blowing. […]

  5. […] developing a balanced you using covey’s 4 intelligences – i’m interested to stephen covey’s concept of 4 intelligences in his book the 8th habit. while there are other concepts on multiple intelligence such as the howard gardner’s, covey’s concept is interesting for me because it deals with … […]

Comments are closed.