What Is Existential Intelligence and 10 Signs Yours Is Above Average.

By Kirstie Pursey

May 9th, 2019. 

Existential intelligence is the ability to think philosophically and use your intuition. The following signs indicate that yours might be above average.
If you have high existential intelligence, you probably don’t spend much time thinking about shopping or celebrities. Instead, you think about the big questions of life – a lot!
Many people are happy getting on with their lives without thinking very deeply about the big questions of life. A lot of people are content to spend all their time talking about what’s on TV or discuss shopping or celebrity gossip.
These people rarely think about questions such as why we are here, what the purpose of life might be or what happens after we die. There is not necessarily anything wrong with this, but some people find this isn’t enough to satisfy them.

What Is Existential Intelligence?

While lots of people avoid talking about the nature of existence, life and death, and religion and spirituality, those with high existential intelligence love talking about these subjects.
Howard Gardner, who developed the Theory of Multiple Intelligences, gave the label existential intelligence to people who think philosophically. According to Gardener, existential intelligence involves being able to use collective values and intuition to understand others and the world around them.
In addition, while many people spend a lot of time thinking about the details of life, those with existential intelligence prefer to spend a lot of their time thinking about the bigger picture.
Philosophers, theologians, life coaches and those who work in psychology or spirituality are among those that often show high existential intelligence.
If you are this kind of person, you probably know it. However, you might not understand all that it means to be this kind of thinker. In case you are not sure, here are a few signs that you have above average existential intelligence:

10 signs your existential intelligence is above average:

  1. You spend hours lost in thought, contemplating various aspects of human existence.
  2. When asked a question, you always look at the bigger picture and not just the details.
  3. If you need to make a decision, you like to take every eventuality into account to see how the decision will affect you and others.
  4. You are very interested in philosophical and religious debates.
  5. You are interested in the morals and values of society and politics.
  6. When you meet someone, it is important that they share the same values as you if you are to be friends.
  7. You often consider the nature of consciousness.
  8. You regularly wonder what happens to us after death as well as where we were before we were born.
  9. Others find you quite intense at times.
  10. You find it hard to switch off and enjoy frivolous activities.

What’s good about having this kind of intelligence?

Improving your existential intelligence can help you see the bigger picture as well as allowing you to understand other people better. This can be helpful in work situations and in relationships.
People with high existential intelligence are intuitive, empathetic and considerate. They are also full of love and compassion for those around them from people, to animals, to plants and even the whole planet.
You can put these skills to great use in helping others, perhaps by nursing, counselling, coaching or for environmental causes.
Understanding your existential thoughts can also help you to live a rewarding and meaningful life.
If you have ever felt that something is missing in your life, it could be that you need to work on your existential intelligence to find out what has meaning to you. This way, you can achieve goals and dreams that will fulfil you and make you happier with life.

How to improve your existential intelligence?

If you would like to improve your existential intelligence, there are several things you can do.

Spend time exploring a philosophical or spiritual path you are drawn to.

If you have always had a hankering to know more about Buddha, Jesus or Socrates, get a book and delve deeper into their lives and philosophy to see what you can learn.
Alternatively, if you are not sure what aspect of philosophy or spirituality to pursue, take a look at several, both Eastern and Western, to see where it leads you.


Whenever you need to make a decision, take the time to consider all the possible outcomes and their effects. Try not to rush into decision making.
You want to make the decision that is right for you as well as for your company or family, so try to look at the decision from different points of view.

Start a journal to record your thoughts.

This can really help to develop your existential thinking. You could also join a philosophical, spiritual or environmental group.

Take a break from constant busyness and screen time so you can really think.

You might like to take a walk in nature or try a short meditation. This can really help you get in touch with yourself rather than drowning out your existential intelligence with distractions.

Volunteer to help those less fortunate than yourself.

Nothing gets you out of your own head and puts things in perspective more than helping those in need. As an added bonus, volunteering is proven to improve your happiness, too.
I hope this article has inspired you to use your existential intelligence to make your life happier and more meaningful. We’d love to hear how having high existential intelligence affects you. Please share with us in the comments below.






About the Author: Kirstie Pursey

Kirstie works as a writer, blogger and storyteller and lives in London with her family of people, dogs and cats. She is a lover of reading, writing, being in nature, fairy lights, candles, firesides and afternoon tea. Kirstie has trouble sitting still which is why she created www.notmeditating.com to share techniques and practices for tuning out the busy mind. She is also the author of Not Meditating: Finding Peace, Love and Happiness Without Sitting Still.


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