Whole Person Paradigm
In a previous post, I mentioned the book The 8th Habit: From Effectivness to Greatness by Stephen Covey (who also authored of The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People – both of which are on my recommended reading list), and I stated the following:
The Knowledge Worker Age is based on another assumption or perspective called the Whole Person Paradigm, wherein each human is seen as having 4 dimensions: body, mind, heart, & spirit.
To quote Stephen Covey, directly from The 8th Habit: From Effectivness to Greatness:
“I commend to you again this simple way of thinking about life: a whole person (body, mind, heart, & spirit) with four basic needs (to live, to learn, to love, & to leave a legacy), and four intelligences (physical, mental, emotional, & spiritual) and their highest manifestations (discipline, vision, passion, conscience), all of which represent the four dimensions of voice (need, talent, passion, & conscience).”
The table accessible at the following link demonstrates this statement concisely: Whole Person Paradigm table
The reason I’m bringing these ideas back up is that I want to talk about how we can effectively manage all 4 dimensions in away that creates our optimal living experience, or “flow”, so that we can contribute to our communities in the most meaningful & difference-making ways.
Managing Energy is the Key
In another book on my recommended reading list, The Power of Full Engagement: Managing Energy, Not Time, is the Key to High Performance & Personal Renewal by Jim Loehr and Tony Schwartz (published by Free Press; 1st edition – February 4, 2003) the authors suggest that the top performers in any field are those that are “fully engaged”.
- physically energized
- emotionally connected
- mentally focused, &
- spiritually aligned
As the picture to the right suggests, it’s almost as if we have 4 distinct aspects of our person that each has needs which are interdependent on the others. Only when one has balanced out the needs of all 4 aspects will one achieve the greatest success in life.
The authors make the following assumptions (words quoted directly from The Power of Full Engagement, mentioned above)
- Managing energy, not time, is the key to high performance.
- Full engagement requires drawing on four separate but related dimensions of energy: physical, emotional, mental, & spiritual.
- Because energy capacity diminishes with both overuse & underuse, we must learn to balance energy expenditure with intermittent energy renewal.
- To build capacity, we must push beyond our normal limits, training in the same systematic way that elite athletes do.
- Positive energy rituals – highly specific routines for managing energy – are the key to full engagement and sustained high performance.
Balance: A Pillar of Achievement
In the book How to Get an “A” in Life (published by TDG Publishing, Los Altos, CA, 2005) by Brother John Dudeck (Indiana ’75 Initiate), he focuses on the idea of 7 Pillars of Achievement that ultimately lead to Wisdom. Those pillars are: Faith, Integrity Attitude, Discipline, Relationships, Growth & Balance
Balance is the final pillar in Brother Dudeck’s symbology. In the book, he states “By keeping our body, mind, spirit, & emotional reservoirs healthy, we create inner balance. And by staying grounded and in touch with reality, we can more consistently make wise choices and decisions that lead to achievement over the long term.”
- Nourish Your Body
- Stimulate Your Mind
- Nurture Your Spirit
- Use a Journal to Keep Negative Emotions in Check
- Choose to be Around Healthy People
- Be Flexible
- Never Give Up
Nothing could wrap up this topic better than the following quote from How to Get an “A” in Life, which describes how the idea of balance works as related to our own development / growth:
“GROWTH stands to the left of BALANCE (in the diagram) because these two pillars are especially interdependent. Keeping mind, body, spirit, & emotions in shape requires a rock-solid commitment to continual self-improvement. Furthermore, the creative thinking and eye-opening experiences that naturally stem from a willingness to grow tend to positively influence all dimensions of health & well-being.”