Any idea what the Chinese character is for ‘to listen’? It’s a combination of no less than 5 elements. On the left you have the symbol for the ear, below that the symbol for the emperor/king. The right side consists of three symbols, one above the other. At the top you have the symbol for the eyes, so that the eyes look downwards slightly (indicating respect). Underneath that are the symbols for undivided attention and the symbol for the heart. Putting all these together, you get: You listen as you would listen to an emperor or a king. You listen not just with your ears but with your eyes, based on respect for the other person. And while you are completely focused on the other person, you listen with an open heart.
This is just one of the many examples of wisdom that can be derived from Chinese characters. Besides the language, Chinese culture and everyday life contains much wisdom that we in ‘the West’ are learning more about. Whereas we tend to keep our reasoning separate from our emotions, and our thinking is me-oriented, in the Far East these elements are integrated and actions are predominantly we-oriented. Additionally, subjects like spirituality, chakras and other ‘mystical’ disciplines are still somewhat ‘fuzzy’ and secretive. People tend not to talk openly about them in society and in the business world. On the other hand… what I am increasingly observing is that educational courses, training courses and workshops are devoting more attention to elements from Eastern wisdom, but using terminology that we have invented in our ‘own language’. For example, people are talking about and experiencing such areas as mindfulness, emotional intelligence and bodywork. And subjects like energy channels and applying ‘ancient’ knowledge such as acupuncture are becoming increasingly commonplace. Additionally, the fact that what we eat has a significant effect on our health and fitness is now generally accepted. Putting it another way, in the West we are gradually realising that our bodies contain a lot of wisdom and that listening to it isn’t such a strange thing to do.
In the world of coaching too, much attention is being paid to all these developments. The coaching field is increasingly breaking free of standard questions like ‘what are you feeling at this moment?’ or ‘what do you think yourself?’. In addition to the practical skills of coaching, the coaching courses also focus attention on elements like intuition and the ‘being side’ of the coach. These are somewhat intangible factors that are related to letting go of reason, and which can be developed through personal reflection, mentoring, supervision or through being coached.
Consider too the use of tools and instruments. Here again we are seeing a shift from basic straightforward tools that produce a picture of, for example, the type of team member or person you are, towards instruments that provide increasingly detailed insights into people’s feelings and emotions, and what drives them fundamentally. This development is being continuously refined so that new holistic instruments are created.
I discovered one such new instrument myself recently. I ‘tested’ myself using the HAAPPi.ME™ model/instrument. This instrument is rooted firmly in, amongst other things, positive psychology, research into happiness, and philosophy, supplemented by knowledge from yoga, chakras and other Eastern philosophies. It’s an instrument that examines personal growth, based on this broad background. Additionally, HAAPPi.ME™ identifies 7 universal virtues (courage, creativity, willpower, compassion, truth, wisdom and connection) that can only further develop if the 35 underlying characteristics are developed. Furthermore, the link is made to 7 basic rights that are directly connected to the 7 different chakras and a number of nutritional tips are given, based on the results. This makes it a complete model/instrument for supporting both personal and collective growth, as well as transformation.
Studying my own HAAPPi.ME™ results, and reflecting on their analysis, I was impressed by how accurately my current personal situation was able to be visualised. And also by the clear picture it gave me about where the imbalances lay and what my personal themes are. A fantastic mirror! My conclusion is that this is an instrument that coaches should certainly consider looking into and using within a client trajectory where appropriate. And for everybody else who is looking for a method that can help them to develop themselves, it is definitely worth investigating.
The aim of HAAPPi.ME™ is also to contribute to the movement from me-oriented thinking to we-oriented thinking; to become detached from personal interests and to review how I/you can contribute to a greater whole. And this is also a topic I feel a great affinity with.
The challenge this time is linked to what I have just outlined. Take a look around in your own environment to see whether you can contribute to the development of a topic or a person, without expecting anything in return. And the challenge is to actually go out and do that. If you think that working on something without getting anything in return is a personal risk, then consider the Chinese symbol for risk. This consists of 2 elements, namely danger and opportunity. Where does your focus naturally lie? Are you more of a TIP person (Thinker In Problems) or are you a TIO person (Thinker In Opportunities)? The world needs people who have the courage to take risks to help others!
Don’t worry, be HAAPPi!