Find your own unique voice & help others find theirs

This article is in memory of Dr Stephen R Covey, who has carried out some of the most inspiring work within his teachings. Here follows part 1 of his book, ‘The 8th Habit’

The greatest gift you have received at birth was the ability to decide whether to develop your fullest capacities, finding your unique voice means fulfilling your innate potential. You have a choice in the space or time between every action and every reaction. During that moment, reflect on what has happened and your response to it. The ability to understand your free power of choice opens the door to four vital intelligences or capabilities:

1. Mind: IQ is mental intelligence – Many people stop here when evaluating intelligence,
but it is too restrictive. In industry today I often find myself falling into this trap, because we are so governed by an MI (management information) era within the business world which automatically makes us think in numbers (using only the ‘Mind IQ’ which I’ll go into in more detail below), although it is quite important to think of the numbers one must be very vigilant in where and when to apply various ‘Mind IQ’ methodologies. Reacting to MI methodology does have its advantages, i.e. the figures do not lie, there are obvious solutions to hand which makes one think logically and often for quick-fix short-term remedies such benefits visibly seen for an executive to gain his/her bonus for that year. I should know, I was one of them myself.

I remember at the time of our wedding, my wife placed much effort and energy into the guests seating arrangements, due to (as with all such factors) conflicts of interest. Me being naive (typical male I guess) at the time, remember thinking “there are ‘X’ amounts of seats and there are ‘Y’ amount of guests, lets seat them all down, they’ll make their own introductions” that did not go down too well!

You see I was thinking of people as a calculation or MI, the typical Mind IQ framework of efficiency.

2. Body: PQ is physical intelligence – This form of intelligence is often discounted,
because it takes place without conscious awareness. You do not have to think to
breathe or to make your heart beat. Yet this intelligence responds continuously to the
environment to maintain health, ward off infection and so forth. I often find when I am in a regular fitness regime, my mind works better, my immune system is much stronger and I still feel great, not to mention more positive and optimistic towards life in general. Our bodies do not like being beaten, and a the same time they are highly adaptable to change. What I mean is, when we push our bodies, it goes and moulds itself to take on that task, i.e. When we start training for a marathon, our bodies cannot run for even a mile, but with regular training and sleep our bodies adapt, at the same time, when we are a ‘couch potato’ where all we does lounge around on the couch, our bodies adapt to this therefore becomes the most inefficient piece of machinery within our household. The choice is yours!

3. Heart: EQ is emotional intelligence – to be an aware, sensitive and empathetic
person in order to communicate with others at a genuine level. This means to be where you are 100% of the time, when someone is talking to you, make sure your 100% there listening and evolved for your time to be spent correctly. In this day of multi-tasking, we have become too mind IQ orientated by thinking in numbers and ticking off to-do lists, that we have become impersonal in dealing with fellow humans and animals. In fact there are a few very rare souls I have been fortunate to meet whom are truly expert at both multi-tasking and being 100% present (my wife being one if them), but after various discussions with then, I realised they were not multi-tasking at all, they simply had an agenda prior to the meeting and amended this agenda after which, therefore always having a mental filing cabinet for each and every liaison, I do is by keeping a journal.

A person with a strong EQ knows what to say and when to say it, how to feel and how to express those feelings. Substantial evidence indicates that over the long run EQ is a stronger determinant of success than IQ i.e. Passion vs Mental stimulus

4. Spirit or soul: SQ is spiritual intelligence – This is the most central intelligence because it directs the activities of all the other three, (Mind, Body and Heart). Our drive for meaning and purpose leads us to develop our SQ. If your not following your inner purpose, then plan on getting into what gives your personal life true meaning, what makes you get out of the bed in the mornings and make you not want to sleep at night? This is what Steven calls, Find your voice.

He states, in order to find your voice you must be in touch with the four elements of a whole person: mind, body, heart and spirit. The consistent pattern in the lives of great achievers is that, through struggle and effort, they elevated the four intelligences to their highest manifestations: “vision, discipline, passion and conscience.” They used four powerful combinations:

1. Mind = Vision – When the mind is fully developed you gain vision, the ability to discern the highest potential in people, institutions, causes and enterprises. People who do not exercise the mind’s ability to create, or who discourage it in others, suffer from a failure of vision. They are unable to see the wonderful possibilities within circumstances of great need. Without vision, they slip into victimisation.

2. Body = Discipline – You need discipline to transform vision into reality. Discipline is the child born from the marriage of vision and commitment. You must have both! Can you see how both vision and commitment come from a healthy mind? Can you see the importance of harmonising everything within ourselves in order to produce out. I.e. one must first become from the inside before the inside world manifests on the outside, in order for a vision to manifest a commitment must be put in the mix, a commitment to be diligent, persistent and patiently keeping the vision in mind. I used to suffer from impatience and procrastination, as soon as I turned that around everything, and I mean everything became a reality.

3. Heart = Passion – Those who develop a wise heart will feel the passionate fire of conviction, the flame that sustains the discipline needed to achieve the vision. Passion flows from finding and using your unique voice to accomplish great things. Passion is the injection that drives our discipline forwards, by that I mean getting passionate about your dreams and goals, visions and commitments, even getting passionate about our failures because that means we are one step closer to our vision. Do what brings joy to your heart, something you truly feel passionate about, that’s why the most successful people refer to their work as fun or joy. As soon as I realised this fact, I quit my job and pursued in following m passion, since that day to today, I have never felt like I worked, it’s just been fun all the way.

4. Spirit = Conscience – Developing your mental identity will lead you toward knowing
the right fork in the road, toward an inward moral compass that will guide you. Having spiritual consciousness is the ultimate knowledge of following your inner soul, anyone whom has gained this type of awareness (self-realisation) is on the path to enlightenment, if not already there. Such persons inner guidance is so profoundly accurate that onlookers suspect the person working from the soul has gained knowledge of the future and can see past, present and future of all things/beings, but in actual fact they are simply following their boss without the influence of the false ego.

 

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