“It is the very pursuit of happiness that thwarts happiness. Happiness cannot be pursued. It must ensure. Happiness is available only as a by-produce, as the side-effect of living out the self-transcendence of existence.” Viktor Frankl


The greatest need for this generation is life intelligence (LQ). My talk will address the three great essentials of LQ – Awakening, Faith, and Passion.

We are going through a very turbulent period of history with global disruptions and devastation of the COVID-19 pandemic and the Russian invasion of Ukraine. The whole world is watching to see whether the 2022 graduates will become the brave new generation of overcomers to claim the Promised land or the lost generation wandering in wilderness.

My message to the new graduates is that your future or destiny depends on how you respond to suffering and adversity. I will share with you the wisdom that I have learned from my long life of learning from research and the school of hard knocks.

According to conventional wisdom, I am supposed to be a dismal failure because of my circumstances and unconventional choices.  But I have succeeded beyond my wildest expectations.  My biggest discovery is that although IQ and EQ are important for worldly success, what really matters in the darkest hour is life intelligence (LQ).

Here are 3 thought experiments. Each experiment confronts you with a stark choice and demands from you the reasons for your decision:

(1) Suppose you experience some discomfort in your life and you don’t know why. Now the specialist offers you a choice between a blue sugar pill which will make you happy, but does not have any real curative effect, or a red truth pill, which tells you the bitter truth about the horrible disease and the painful surgery you need.

(2) You can either choose to stay in the shallow end of the pool, or take a deep dive on the deep end from the highest diving board so that you are away from all the shallow, selfish people.

(3)  You can either choose a proven path for success or blaze a new trail to achieve your ideal which seems to be impossible dream. 

My own choices are considered by many people as “foolish” and “a waste of time,” but my choices have resulted in unexpected success. My choices were based on my experience of awakening from my illusion, faith in co-creating a better world, and the passionate pursuit of an impossible dream because my soul was on fire.

My choices are also contrary to the current teachings of positive psychology, but may be needed to maintain our positive mental health in an insane society. The wisdom of these choices is supported by research findings (Wong, 2019; Wong & Worth, 2017; Wong et al., 2021).


  1. Wong, P. T. P. (2019). Second wave positive psychology’s (PP 2.0) contribution to counselling psychology. Counselling Psychology Quarterly [Special Issue]. Retrieved from https://doi.org/10.1080/09515070.2019.1671320
  2. Wong, P. T. P., & Worth, P. (2017). The deep-and-wide hypothesis in giftedness and creativity [Special issue]. Psychology and Education, 54(3/4).
  3. Wong, P. T. P., Mayer, C.-H., & Arslan, G. (Eds.). (2021). COVID-19 and Existential Positive Psychology (PP 2.0): The new science of self-transcendence [Special Issue]. Frontiers. https://www.frontiersin.org/research-topics/14988/covid-19-and-existential-positive-psychology-pp20-the-new-science-of-self-transcendence


Wong, P. T. P. (2022, April 19). What really matters in the darkest hour: The 3 essentials of life intelligence (LQ) for career success [Keynote]. University of New Brunswick. http://www.drpaulwong.com/what-really-matters-in-the-darkest-hour/