Follow your passion, find your voice and achieve success.
Featured image by Kal Visuals.
The following is based on the lessons I learned from Stephen R. Covey’s the 8th Habit. This book is all about finding your voice, or basically finding your passion, and learning how to follow it towards living an ultimately success life.
The 8th Habit takes it all to the next level and is all about finding your voice, or basically finding your passion, and learning how to follow it towards living an ultimately success life.
Here is my contemplation of the 8th Habit. Read on to learn all about finding your voice and learning how to follow your passion to have a life that really matters.
(Below I have kept Covey’s headings and his structure for the most part. As they are very direct and effective.)
Image by Christian Erfurt.
The Pain of living without Passion and without Voice
This book is super valuable, mainly because it looks at what is wrong with the world and tries to formulate the solution to the problem.
And what is wrong with the world?
It’s the stress, dissatisfaction, powerlessness and purposeless feeling many people suffer through life with. According to the stat’s, and you can look them up in the original source, most people are not satisfied in their work. Most don’t work in a trusting environment, were their opinion is valued, or where they are encouraged to take any ownership. This organisation leads to most people feeling powerless and frustrated at work.
These problems then affect people’s personal and family lives.
Family and Social
The organisation of families and social institutions have changed and there is no longer certainty or real authority in our relationships. Children are growing up in a world apart from their parents. Parents no longer have authority; there is so many conflicting philosophies for every decision parents make. And for many, these many different voices all work to simply create uncertainty and pain.
Then there is the breakdown of religious authority in the world. Added to that, the questioning of all political authority. (Usually with good reason.) Moreover, the world seems divided a million times over.
Here I may be going a little beyond what Stephen Covey lays out in his book. Essentially, he describes the pain on life for many today.
Stress and anxiety seem to have become the norm for living life in the postmodern age.
And a lot, if not all, of this stress and anxiety comes from the fact that we are not dealing with a major paradigm shift. The world has changed and we are not prepared for the changes.
This ultimately leads to the stress and anxiety we know that many people live with on a regular basis.
What is worse is that most of the population is blind to the real causes of this pain.
This leads to a kind of hypnosis that many have associated with modern Western culture. This hypnosis is evident in a population that tunes out any idea of purpose, or of seeking a meaning of existence. Today, many have given up on being conscious about their lives. And most of those have no idea of what living for passion means. For many, in the extreme, they simply look for satisfaction or comfort in drugs, alcohol and entertainment, while their true talents and potential for life fulfilment is wasted.
I admit this is based on anecdotal evidence of the life I have lived and witnessed of others. However, even if I haven’t done the research, I have experienced it and I have seen it in others.
Very few people feel they are living life with very real purpose. Certainly, I believe, few are living with real passion. So many have been hypnotised to the point, where they don’t even know it. They simply accept that life is this way, they are the way they are, and they accept that stress and anxiety and boredom are all just normal states of living.
This is the pain.
I have experienced it personally.
A long time ago, I used to live like that; issues with family and with recognising the authority of religion and state. I had issues with the meaning of living a working life that seemed to have no point.
This led me to drinking, over eating, binge watching TV serials and worst.
This led to a hypnosis. I was living the life without purpose. It was painful. And I felt the pain of being purposeless. There was an emptiness of feeling directionless and having nothing to believe in.
I was not alone. Well, I was somewhat alone, in that I could perceive this as a problem. And I was lucky that I followed the tiny traces that led me towards finding greater meaning and finding my passion.
It is a problem
As Covey poses it:
“Can you imagine the personal and organisational cost of failing to fully engage the passion, talent and intelligence of the workforce? It is far greater than all taxes, interest charges and labor costs put together!” (Covey 2005, Pg. 3)
I’m not sure about that. By which I mean I’m not an expert on industrial analysis. He’s probably right.
However, personally I know it’s true.
I was born with many unbelievable advantages. However, because I had no passion, no belief in my calling or sense of personal voice, I threw away those advantages. At my worst, I was living in my mother’s basement, working minimum wage and abusing substances to try to numb the discomfort of being divided against myself.
A Great Change
Now, years later, I have reconciled my parts. I know what my passions are. I’ve overcome the voices from my childhood and from our culture that tell me to be normal. I allowed myself to follow the lessons and the calling I felt along the way. Now I’m living a life full of purpose, passion and voice.
I followed my talents to become a highly valued teacher, earning a good salary, doing rewarding work that I am proud of.
I followed my desires, ran from the boredom, and ran away from the things I no longer wanted to simply ‘tolerate’. In addition, that led me to living the lifestyle I always deeply wanted, but always thought was beyond me. One where I’m living happy in one of the world’s big, swiftly modernising megacities. I’m married to a wonderful woman and we just welcomed our perfect little son into the world.
Now, I’m a happy, proud father, and I’m confident and positive that my happy little family has a wonderful future ahead.
My wife and I are now also building an investment portfolio that is starting to grow and we are beginning to feel like wealthy people.
Image by Ian Schneider.
I’ve learned how to live happy and to find a life full of health, happiness and energy.
Moreover, as you can tell I’ve found my voice and I’m sharing my ideas with the world. I also have almost finished my first ever novel – a passion I’ve had for decades. One I always felt like was an impossible dream, a fantasy that was meant for people better than me. Now, whether it’s good or not, it’s a part of my new bright and positive reality.
However, I’m sorry to say, and I’m not bragging here, but I don’t see this as a reality shared by many. I see many living without passion. I see the evidence on the news all the time. To the point where I stopped watching because it was depressing. People living without purpose, without passion, and feeling powerless and becoming stressed and dissatisfied with life.
The youth suicide rates speak volumes to the problem. The youth – who should be in bloom discovering the wonders of life and being fearless and full of passion and furious veal to suck the joy out of life, are depressed and suicidal.
The Problem of Living without Passion and Voice
There is a huge problem.
Covey’s writing many focusses on the influence of work and work organisations. However, in his digressions we can see his thinking has a wider application.
The problem is that the world has changed. He calls this change, an evolution to the knowledge worker economy. We have evolved from the world of the Industrial Age, with its modern processes of production, coupled with its modern thinking about family and government and its conceptions about humanity. We are now in a new age, were everything has changed.
Moreover, people are not ready for it.
This new world needs a new mindset.
The old mindset of the industrial age, led people to accept work as a need and to departmentalise their time. This led to the accepted workday and the division of home/work life and so on. In this age, people were happy to do work that allowed them to ‘switch-off’. They knew work time was essential for society, and vital to maintain their lifestyle. They did their work and then they found satisfaction in family, leisure, hobbies, social clubs, and so on.
However, in the postmodern Knowledge Worker Age, the lines are blurring. To succeed in the current world, or the world of the very near future, it is no longer acceptable to be ‘switched-off’ or to be manageable labour.
Covey prompts the following ominous question:
“Do you believe the Knowledge Worker Age will eventually bring about the downsizing of up to 90 percent of the Industrial Age workforce? I believe it. Current outsourcing and unemployment trends are just the tip of the iceberg.” (Covey 2005, Pg. 14)
For one, the old industrial jobs are no longer there. We can already see this problem evident in the sad stories of many Western Industrial towns.
Secondly, the narratives of life have changed. Many people are living depressed because they see the images of what modern life and modern identity should be, but sadly, for most, this is an unattainable fantasy. They have followed the programming of the old paradigm. “Get a good job and don’t try to stand out, work your way up and find enjoyment where you can.” However, in the knowledge economy that doesn’t cut it. The new employment market needs creativity, dedication, inspiration, flexibility and adaptability. Workers need to be more dedicated and more invested to be available and flexible and to take responsibility.
However, “We live in a Knowledge Worker Age but operate our organisations in a controlling Industrial Age model that absolutely supresses the release of human potential.” (Covey 2005, Pg. 15)
This has also lead to a work force unable to adapt to work in the 21st century. And this has led to all the pain previously discussed.
Beyond work, people are confused. The old paradigm said fit in and don’t rock the boat. The new paradigm says if you’re not unique and creative, and willing to stand above the pack, then you’re not valuable. This confusion is difficult to overcome.
Stretch this problem out to family life. The older generation, with the best intentions, wants to guide and empower the younger generation. However, for many, they are out of touch with the world of technology, social media and youth culture hidden within the layers of tech media. Therefore, families divide, because the authorities of the past have eroded by the new knowledge generation, many of whom are completely aware that the older generation is clueless.
We could go on, but I think the point is made. The world has changed and we need to have a new way to approach it. At least, I believe, people need to relearn some things and unlearn some others, so that they can succeed in this new paradigm.
However, the worst thing is that organisations and people are almost blind to this problem. They have become hypnotised.
The Core of the Problem and the Solution
The whole person – Mind, Body, Heart, Spirit
As Covey puts it,
“The fundamental reality is, human beings are not things needed to be motivated and controlled; they are four dimensional – body, mind, heart and spirit.” (Covey 2005, Pg. 21)
We as human beings have needs. When these needs are not met, we are not able to achieve our potential. Worse than that, these needs are unrequited and we are not growing the way we are supposed to grow. What we give up is a life of passion. As a result, we will inevitably feel blocked. That is what leads to the problems outlined above.
As humans, as whole humans, we have a mind, body, heart and soul. To satisfy all these things and to live with passion, we need to learn, by developing our mind; we need to live physically and use our body. Love is another key element, which we strengthen by employing our heart and opening up to the life around us. Finally, leave a legacy, so our life has meaning in the whole continuum of history.
Image by Aziz Acharki.
This is the problem in Covey’s eyes:
“The point is, if you neglect any one of the four parts of human nature, you turn a person into a thing, and what do you do with things? You have to control, manage and carrot-and-stick them in order to motivate them.” (Covey 2005, Pg. 23)
Humans today, with the rich opportunities of modern life, are more educated, advanced and sophisticated than ever. And we are well aware that we should be more satisfied and capable that ever before. However, we lack the training to experience life in its whole and to become whole beings. We shut off parts of ourselves to fulfil the roles that the industrial world needs us to play. By doing that, we shut off our life to passion.
While in the past, we had a greater link to spiritual authority and meaning through religion, we no longer believe. We are no longer as close to family, as previous civilizations, especially when we see the distance rising within families due to technology. We have also lost much of our knowledge of tribe and shared culture, in the homogenisation of Western culture. (It is from this Western perspective that I speak, but it may well be a trend of Eastern culture as well.)
This is the problem. We are whole beings shaped by the knowledge of the Industrial Age that needs us to be things.
Now we need to extend the problem. We are training to be Industrial things, in a world where those roles are rapidly diminishing.
This is scary! It means more problems for the economy, with workers not ready or capable of adapting to the new paradigm. As a result, it means more displacement, disillusion, depression, stress, fear, lack of passion and all the problems we know we live with.
The Solution: Live with Passion and find Your Voice
The solution Covey puts forward is that we find our voice. We need to become more than our job, or more than the definition of the roles we play. It should be our vocation to actively become beings in search of our passion. We must become empowered to take control of our destiny. And find what our mission in this world is.
Now that’s easy to say.
How does someone find their voice and follow their passion?
What about the need to fit in? How about gainful employment? What if I don’t have a skill that anyone will pay for in the future economy?
All of these are serious and important questions.
Covey offers the following solution for people:
“They learn of their true nature and gifts. They use them to develop a vision of great things they want to accomplish. With wisdom, they take initiative and cultivate great understanding of the needs and opportunities around them. They meet those needs that match their unique talents, that tap their highest motivations and that makes a difference. In short, they find and use their voice.” (Covey 2005, Pg. 26)
Therefore, it’s more than just opening up your four capabilities and feeding your four needs. This is important, because this is the solution to living satisfied in this crazy world.
This step has been crucial in my own successful steps towards living happy.
First, I got a vision of the life I wanted. I got healthy and felt better. I began to study and enrich my mind, I began to feel empowered and positive, and I could see so many opportunities. Then I opened my heart and found new friends, threw myself into marriage, became a father. All this love further fuelled my sense of wellbeing. The more I gave the more I got in return. Obviously, it felt great.
Furthermore, the feeling of having family and a child, lead to a feeling of the need to leave a legacy. This feeling of legacy couples into our mission of investing and even in this mission of writing. It’s about doing something meaningful and building for the future.
These are all key to living a successful life. They’re not easy, but once you embrace your voice and live for these things, you will feel so much more empowered, enlightened, inspired and positive. Well at least I do.
However, for Covey, and for our problem of work and the economy, Voice is more than just our needs. And while it is involved with passion, it is not simply your passions. Voice, is about finding your skills, talents, passions and using them to fulfil a great need in the world. It’s about looking for the opportunity where you can fill a hole and use your unique skills to contribute to the world and humanity. It’s in that space you will be the most productive and valuable employee you could ever be. And in that state of value, you will find the thing that will give you value in return.
Find your voice and you find the person you need to be to overcome the challenges of the world and you fulfil the needs you have to become a truly happy, healthy, wealthy and successful human being.
How to find your voice?
Here we come to the important question. It’s all well and good to preach, ‘find your voice and everything will be amazing’. How do we find that voice, that passion, the thing that will unlock our life of fulfilment and satisfaction?
Covey begins at the beginning, very positively stating:
“We all have an inner longing to live a life of greatness and contribution – to really matter…” (Covey 2005, Pg. 28)
This very positively proclaims that we all have that sense of greatness within. All that we need to do is follow that calling, to find the path that unlocks that greatness.
However, we tend not to want to listen. We choose to be normal. Generally, we automatically follow the crowd. Most of the time, we decide not to follow our unique callings because we are afraid, or we have been socialised not to stand out.
However, in order to find our voice, we need to listen to that voice inside. We need to encourage that voice to follow the feelings of passion and fulfilment until we arrive at the place we should be.
We need to acknowledge that we are born with greatness inside of us.
That greatness he goes on to outline as our birth gifts.
Find your voice by discovering your birth gifts:
Image by Jason Rosewell.
1) The freedom to choose
Quite often, we know what our passion is. This feeling of passion is what will lead us towards our voice and towards true fulfilment and success. However, how often do we follow it?
I know I for one am guilty of turning away from my passions. My first great passion, was music. I loved music. I started playing in a band, but then I ‘knew’ I would never be a star, so I gave up. Next, I was super passionate about studying literature. I thought about following it on and dreamt of getting a PHD and working as an inspired professor. I knew that would lead to a life of passion. But I said, I’m tired of being broke, it’ll be too competitive to get a job, just become a teacher.
Now don’t get me wrong. Teaching is a great and rewarding job. Moreover, I was able to become very inspired by it. I was even able to think about it with passion. However, I learned pretty quick there’s many challenges to being a passionate teacher. Often the job is dealing with limitations. Again, I felt the limitations and I let that passionate side subside, and teaching became a job.
It’s much better now, but there was a phase when my passion for teaching had become a dread of teaching.
My True Passion
Again, I knew I had a passion for writing. I loved it. I planned the storied I would write, the novels I wanted to publish, even the academic papers with bold new theories about literary criticisms. This was a true passion. I stayed up all night reading, like the night I fell into the Great Gatsby and looked up at the end, at 4 am, my mind spinning with how amazing the text was. What’s more, I did the same with my own writing, only more cursing the fact that I wasn’t as good as Joyce, Bronte and Fitzgerald and so on. Even still, I loved.
But I said, ‘you’re not good enough to be a great author’. Therefore, I never took it seriously.
I’m sure many of you would have some similar story to this.
We throw away our gift:
The truth is we are free to choose. We can choose to chase our greatness. I never did. I figured greatness was for others. And I cursed my stars for not being one of the lucky few.
But we are not victims.
Beyond this ability to choose, we have the power to choose what things mean. I had the choice to react to my criticism. When they said my writing needed improving, I could have chosen to say, ‘great, if I can improve I can be a writer’. However, I chose to say, ‘Oh, well how many people are actually great at writing. It’s fine for me to give up.’
Now I don’t think like that. Now I know I’m free to choose how I react to everything.
And I’m not here to say I’ve turned everything around and now I think I’m awesome. But I no longer think give up. Now, I think, have a go, what’s the worst that can happen? Who knows? If you keep trying then one day, you will be good enough. And if they can do it, then so can.
My gift at birth, as a valuable human being, is the right to choose.
I choose passion, voice, and courage.
I choose life!
2) Natural Laws and Principles – natural and moral authority
One of the greatest gifts we have when we come into this life is a map. We have a guidance system that tells us what is right and what is wrong.
We call it conscience.
Unfortunately, for many of us, we have a mixed response to this conscience. On the one hand, we all want to believe we are good. On the other hand, we do not want to be too good. Therefore, we are often programmed with this idea that the rules, which are generally in alignment with our understanding of right and wrong, are limiting to us. Therefore, we resist being held down by the rules. On the other hand, we completely and slavishly follow other rules; the rules that make us feel normal and allow us to fit in.
The path to success is clear, step one was to follow your passion. Step 2 is to follow the natural laws that conform to your conscience.
As Covey puts it, wisdom comes from following principles. Principles are the natural laws and principles are universal and timeless: “principles such as fairness, kindness, respect, honesty, integrity, service, contribution.” (Covey 2005, Pg. 47)
Now this may sound a bit preachy for you. I know I for one am a little weary when I hear, ‘you get success by following the rules’. However, Covey makes a very good argument. And that argument is ‘Moral authority’. People who live by principles gain moral authority. Which is like a brand.
People who follow the principles, always, end up developing a flawless brand of their character.
Now I don’t want to talk myself up here. And for a long time, I would have told you that following the rules was far from my secret weapon. However, I have come to realise that by following the rules, following my conscience, and looking out for what other people need is totally the key to finding success.
To start with the last point. Our conscience, for most of us, draws on empathy. We understand how we feel and we understand how our actions affect others. Well, when we start to follow our conscience, and we stop thinking about ‘me, me, me’, we start to see how successful we really are. At least I did. I’m not living hand to mouth scrapping to get enough together to save my starving children. There are people out there living like that. When I realise that, I remember to feel grateful for all the things I have. That leads to me feeling successful, and having those feelings of success that I’m striving to achieve.
Lead with Empathy
Beyond that, when I engage my empathy, I think about all those who I’m better off than. Then I think that really I should use my skills and talents to help them. It’s from that perspective that I find the thing I need to do.
Now there are many problems that I can solve in the world. However, when it comes to global hunger, I know that is beyond me. I can/should contribute, but I don’t have the skills to really fix that. It’s beyond my ability to believe anyway. In addition, I know pollution is a huge problem, but again it feels beyond me.
However, when it comes to issues like those problems stated above, with the disempowerment of people, I do feel like I can use my ability to write and to teach, to strive to ‘do the right thing’. It is that passion, or that internal drive that tells us what is right that guides us towards success.
On the other side, if we chose not to follow the right path and our conscience, then we lose moral authority.
As Covey puts it:
“The key task, then, is to determine where “true north” is and then to align everything toward that. Otherwise, you’ll live with the inevitable consequences that follow.” (Covey 2005, Pg. 49)
The consequences are that we know deep down that what we are doing is wrong. We must live with that knowledge. In addition, the rest of the world knows what we are doing is wrong. The very real consequences of prison, loss of job, loss of friendship, loyalty, trust, all those things and more come when you break the moral code of right and wrong.
Now I am well away many people have achieved great success by doing the wrong thing. However, at the end of the day, following the right path has the greater power and it’s easier to live with.
Just to offer one quick comparison as evidence. Adolph Hitler vs Mahatma Gandhi.
Both these men where extremely successful. Both had great vision and passion. However, one was driven by selfishness and ego, while the other was driven by a great sense of love and humility.
One died a miserable, despised figure and will go down in history as the face of evil, while the other is almost universally loved, and considered the father of a nation.
Follow the voice that tells you to do good. It is the voice that leads you to give value to others and to see that value returned. It is the path to moral authority. And it is key to building your personal brand.
It is a great power and it will guide you to your great success – whatever that is.
3) The Four Intelligences/Capacities
Mental Intelligence (IQ), Physical (PQ), Emotional (EQ), Spiritual (SQ)
The third great gift we are born with, which will guide us to our passion and our calling, is our intelligences.
I think the first two are obvious. In this day and age, we all know that an education is key to success. However, I would caution that the wrong kind of education leads to nothing. But that’s a discussion for another time. Another thing I would add is that even when we know it, many still don’t follow this knowledge. I was definitely guilty. Up until two years ago, I felt like I was a professional, I’d made it, I didn’t need to study anymore. Well, now I study every day. It’s obvious which habit leads to success.
If you want to be successful, you need to continue to feed your mind!
This is the same for the body. Every successful person has a workout routine. It’s so true, ‘healthy body, healthy mind’. Knowing your body, using it well, and keeping it healthy, fit, and clean, is step one in feeling confident and empowered. You must embrace your physical intelligence.
However, the need for EQ and SQ are less obvious, well less accepted or acknowledged.
However as Covey points out, emotional intelligence is “… a more accurate determinant of successful communications, relationships and leadership than is mental intelligence.” (Covey 2005, Pg. 52)
Without looking at the stat’s or doing the research, I think it’s obvious that if we are looking at success, we are dealing with success in terms of human metrics and within social parameters. If we are dealing with how successful we are as humans, or how successful we are in dealing with people, our intelligence in understanding our emotions and those of others is critical.
However, no one ever really teaches or considers it consciously. We just act and then react to emotional stimuli – many of us anyway. If we were to train this intelligence, even teach it wholescale, what might be the benefits to how society operates?
Another intelligence that is somewhat overlooked, in school anyway, is spiritual intelligence. Which is our understanding of our spiritual side and our connection with a greater purpose. In secular society, it is perhaps important to have a division between religion and society. However, this division has led many people to have a reduced interaction with their spiritual intelligence.
On the other hand, there are many, for who this is actually something they do put a lot of time and effort into. Though I feel for many, there may not be such a divine search for a spiritual understanding, as a blind obedience to the will of others. Though criticising beliefs is not my game and this is not the place.
Either way, it is important that we recognise this gift.
It “… becomes the source of guidance of the other three. Spiritual intelligence represents our drive for meaning and connection with the infinite.” (Covey 2005, Pg. 53)
It gives meaning to our life. Without meaning, we are left thrashing against the bars of our meaningless and often uncharmed existence.
Meaning is essential for success. We can only be successful in life if we have given some meaning to it. Moreover, that meaning should be something that is worthwhile.
Image by Jeremy Bishop.
For me, I’ve searched many years to come to a place of spiritual understanding. I used to simply accept the teaching of my Catholic upbringing. Then I rejected all that and found the goddess of reason. That lead to a time of angst where there was no greater meaning. Now I have found peace with my conceptualisation of being at one with the energy of the universe. That energy can be both positive and negative. And I have found meaning in living happy in the positive energy of the universe, in leaving a legacy of inspiring others to live positively (at least trying) and enjoying all the good things in life, and feeling good about it by helping as many people as I can, in my own special way.
Whatever your spiritual code, you must have something that gives meaning to existence. If you don’t, how can this life ever be successful? If life means nothing, then you cannot succeed.
Well, that’s the way I feel. However, maybe I’m wrong. Maybe life is truly meaningless. Then even so, I feel it’s much more fun and way more rewarding to give it a positive meaning and live with purpose in search of your success.
Express your voice
Now we know how to find our true passion, our voice, that thing that we need to do. The thing that inspires us into action, gives us satisfaction and fulfils a need in the world.
We need to take back our power to choose, and follow our conscience to find what is good and right for us, and then we need to build on our natural intelligences.
The Power to Choose
The first step is to take back the power and realise we can choose. We can choose to follow our passions. We have the power to do what we want and resist the things we know are not ‘us’. Finally, we do have the ability to choose what things mean.
When you achieve this gift, you go searching for what you want. In addition, you have the power to respond to challenges, and you even seek out challenge as a source of growth. You are no longer a victim. You have the power to choose. And we are all born with it. Take it back.
The Natural Laws
Once you have taken back the power and started to choose the life you want, then you must follow the directions. The universe will show you many hints at which direction you might take. The path to true success comes from following your conscience. You know what is right and you know what is wrong. If you follow the feeling of good and right, even when it’s difficult, I believe, you will find the path to your success.
For myself, the best example of this was with my relationships. I knew I had the chance to have more experiences in life. However, my conscience always seemed to stop me from doing things that I thought would be fake, false, or misleading. Therefore, I passed up on many possibly amazing experiences, especially with women, because I knew I was being fake. I played nice, but I was not really in it for the right reasons. Had I followed the wrong path, I believe I would have ended up somewhere completely different to where I am now.
When I finally met my wife, I knew I was in. It was right. And it felt good in every sense. It wasn’t easy. I even needed to move countries to see if it would possibly work out. But I knew it was right, and so I went for love.
Now I know, by always doing the right thing, even suffering for it, I ended up on the path I should follow. I live with no regrets.
I am happy and every day we make each other stronger.
In addition, we just welcomed my perfect little boy into the world.
And we both feel so amazingly blest.
The Four intelligences:
Now that we’ve taken the power to choose and we have decided to follow the path of good, fair, just, and right. We can proudly go after what we want. How we do that is by feeding our intelligences.
As Covey states:
“The highest manifestations of these four intelligences are: for the mental: vision; for the physical, discipline; for the emotional, passion; for the spiritual, conscience.” (Covey 2005, Pg.65)
Vision, Discipline, Passion, Conscience
Effective people have a vision. Effective people look at the world of the future. They see how they want their lives to be. They see how they would like the world to be. Then they see how they can contribute to their families, their communities and to the whole human community we are all a part of. And they decide to chase that vision, one-step after another, every day.
You have the vision but you need the discipline to make it happen. Willpower, discipline, doing what needs to be done, it all seems limiting. However, quite to the contrary, discipline is actually freedom. Discipline is the thing that gives you the freedom to have what you want. It is the thing that lets you truly relax when everything is accomplished. Moreover, it leads you to feel better when you do the things you know will help, such as the daily workout, even when you don’t want to.
Discipline is the common trait of all successful people.
If you want to be successful, be disciplined to chase success, and do the successful habits and build your mind, heart body and soul every day.
Passion is the optimism, excitement, and the determination. It’s that magic juice that can keep you powering through everything.
Before I found this passion to write, I used to go home at the end of the day and tell myself I was exhausted. I’d force myself to go to the gym, then I’d flop out on the couch, and say, ‘god I’m working hard’.
Now, I work the same job, and I do the daily exercise, but I also add at least 30 minutes, almost every night, to type out something for my novel or my blog. Added to that I’m learning about blogging. Moreover, I’m studying and reading. Now I’m a father and I’m helping to raise a child. (Thank God my wife is a superstar!)
Passion is essential to success:
“The key to creating passion in your life is to find your unique talents and your special role and purpose in the world.” (Covey 2005, Pg. 76)
It appears that my passion is writing and this mission to success. It feels like what I am made to do. I mean it used to feel like a crazy thing. As if it was weird to put myself out there and say, ‘I wanted this’. Now, I just do it. I curse not having more time. I strive to learn new things every day.
And I work on in the belief that:
“When you can give yourself to work that brings together a need, your talent, and your passion, power will be unlocked.” (Covey 2005, Pg. 77)
I believe I’m doing a good thing for me and for others and I’m getting stronger every day. And from there I feel great things will come. Somehow and someday, all this effort will bring a great reward. Now that reward may be a fortune and it may not. However, at the very worst, I’m becoming a more effective person everyday. I live each day with passion and purpose. And I leave a mountain of knowledge and lessons to help me teach my son, and guide him to finding great success in his life.
The final cog is conscience.
We’ve already covered it well enough.
I feel I’m living a great life. And I’m asking for a lot from the universe. If I was just doing this out of selfish, ego driven reasons, I don’t think I’d have the same conviction.
I drive on because I want to have the power to do great things for my family, for my friends and to help inspire others and to one day help those who need it.
While I feel I’m doing the right thing, I feel I need to keep going. And I feel I will be, or at least I will deserve to have a reward.
Putting it all Together
Voice lies in the middle of talent, need, conscience and passion.
“… when you engage in work (professional, community, family) that taps your talent and fuels your passion – that rises out of a great need in the world that you feel drawn by conscience to meet – therein lies your voice, your calling, your soul’s code.” (Covey 2005, Pg. 85)
This is what we should all strive for: to find what we can do that taps our talents, fuels our passion and that rises out of a great need that we are drawn by conscience to fulfill.
These are the latest lessons I’ve learnt.
And I feel I am on that path. I’m not quite celebrating a huge successful career of writing. In fact, I’ve made nothing from it yet. But I feel so much more empowered and driven and passionate about everything in my life. I feel I am on the path and one day the rewards will come.
For me, these have been truly powerful thoughts. Thanks to Stephen R. Covey for his tireless effort and his meticulous research. I would encourage you to all go out and get a copy of his book. (See the link above.)
He covers so much more than I could cover here.
I truly believe if we all follow his lessons on being effective and finding our voice, the world will be a better place.
Image by Randalyn Hill.
Call to Action
If you enjoyed these lessons, please check out: Unshakeable Part 4: Real Wealth.
Or if you prefer reading about financial wealth, please take a look at: Unshakeable 2: The Rules of Successful Investing.
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Thank you so much for allowing me to share my thoughts. I really do hope they help to inspire at least someone into seeking a life of happiness, passion and success.
Now go out and follow your passion, find your voice, your calling and strive everyday to get one step closer to achieving your ultimate success.