One of the most obvious signs of life is growth. Living things grow and mature and bear fruit. Today, I'd like to focus on the maturity aspect.
(As a quick reminder the seven signs are: movement, nutrition, reproduction, excretion, growth, respiration, and sensitivity. ALL 7 have to be present and developed for someone to be enjoying a life to the full.)
I've had my fair share of getting to know a few gurus over the years. The closer I got to them, the more unattractive I found them. I believe this is largely because their 'success' had given them a distance from 'real' people in the 'real' world, they had got so used to sycophantic fawning toadies that they began to believe their own PR, and worst of all, they got their own way all the time. In short, they had stopped listening, learning and growing. Many appeared to be emotional toddlers – sulking or showing off when they didn't get their way!
As an antidote I offer Howard Gardner's original model of multiple-intelligence. He changed the way we look at intelligence to say that we should ask, "In what way am I intelligent?" rather than "Am I intelligent?" His seven aspects of intelligence (he's added more now, but I like the elegance of the original) are:
Intrapersonal Intelligence – the ability to 'go inside' and make meanings from your experiences; to know thyself. Maturity manifested by a deep serene inner peace.
Interpersonal Intelligence – also called Social Intelligence – the ability to empathise with others and 'read' them – to inspire and bring out the best in others. Maturity is shown through Servant Leadership behaviour such as engaged listening.
Physical Intelligence – the dexterity to use our musculature to achieve a goal. Maturity is seen in grace and elegant balanced movement with a purpose such as in careers like being a plumber, builder, tailor, surgeon, musician...
Linguistic Intelligence – skill in using language. Maturity is shown not just in using a large vocabulary but also in matching the vocabulary of one's audience.
Mathematical/Logical Intelligence – reasoning and analysis. Philosophy fits in here when we mature to the point that we can use reason to improve our mental state.
Visual/Spatial Intelligence – the power to relate concepts together visually – such as Mind Mapping, Flow-Charting, Design, Blueprinting, Drawing, Painting, Sketching – all with a purpose.
Musical Intelligence – the insight to use music on purpose – to harness the power of music to bring meaning and enrichment.
If we are to keep listening, learning and growing, Howard Gardner's model offers us seven areas in which to set growth goals for maturity. Like the colours of the rainbow, each aspect brings something fresh and different to our enjoyment of a life to the full. Would you care to share your specific goals in any of these areas? I believe a goal shared is a goal 'squared' – its effectiveness multiplied exponentially...
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