What's Your Kindness Quotient (KQ)? 

David Shulkin, MD, Override Cofounder

The Importance of kindness quotient (KQ) in challenging times

We’ve had a very tough last few years. COVID-19 has claimed over 6 million lives worldwide. Hamas attacks on Israel have horrified the world. Mass shootings have turned schools into war zones. Climate change has exposed itself to be even more worrisome than we feared. The list continues. 

The challenge to develop a COVID-19 vaccine tested our scientific community’s intellectual intelligence (IQ), and many have adapted to new ways of living and working during the pandemic in part due to their emotional intelligence (EQ).  But what about a person's kindness quotient (KQ)?  

A KQ is how a person responds to others experiencing difficulty and suffering. We believe that this is the time that our KQ matters most.   

How do you measure your KQ? 

There is a quick five question test or a longer more detailed test here.  Here are the five questions:

1.  If you saw a person at work dealing with a personal illness or a family situation, would you offer to help?  

2.  If someone was on the street and needed food or shelter, would you offer to help? 

3.  If you know of someone who is socially isolated, would you reach out to them?

4.  Do you spend any time volunteering or helping others in your community? 

5.  Do you perform random acts of kindness?

If you answered “yes” more than 4 or 5 times, you have a high KQ. If you answered “yes” 2 or less times, you have a low KQ.

When I think of KQ, I also think about all of the medical providers and behavioral health specialists whose kindness and empathy towards their patients vary significantly. Every person with chronic pain has one or maybe several stories of leaving an appointment in tears – dejected and beaten down – after being told something thoughtless and fear-inducing. Examples include providers saying things like, “The pain is all in your head,” “You’ve already tried everything,” “You’re out of options,” “You’re just going to have to live like this,” and “I don’t have anything that can help you.”

Override's approach to patient care

This is why Override is picking our interdisciplinary team members (physicians, psychologists, physical therapists, coaches, and more) so carefully. We are not only looking for practitioners with excellent training, experience, and skills, but we are also looking for practitioners that understand human suffering and the all-encompassing impact of living with persistent pain. In other words, we’re exclusively recruiting people with high KQs. Because we know from experience – both our own and our patients’ – that kindness matters.

Posted on 
October 27, 2023

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