“My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth.” – Psalm 121:2

What is the purpose of life? How often do we pause to consider this question? I believe that at many different points in life, we find ourselves reflecting on an answer. Then we drift along and, depending on what course life takes, we may pause to consider it again. Certainly, that has been the case in my life.

I spent the first, say, 15 years accepting what I was told. Life was like a dream. Then in the formative years especially while experiencing the rigours of tertiary education, one engaged in philosophical discussion on the subject.

Then I drifted along until the mid 1980s and worked with a very simple answer: “the creation of happiness and the avoidance of pain” and adopted the four positive belief systems ambition, self-confidence, good relationships and security as a force to propel me as a human being into high gear as I faced the changing scenes of life.

Of course, as we experience life we recognize that there are negative emotional countervailing forces, e.g. anger, fear, worry and guilt, which retard our speed of progress.

While focusing on the positives and repelling the negatives (the Law of Attraction) I began to see the light. This simple formula worked for me and hence I now share it with others in my shepherding sessions (life coaching for the entrepreneur and business mentoring for the enterprise) with start-up, spin-off and scale-up enterprises.

More recently, as I pursue my shepherding activities, I have found that there is a major deficit in the awareness of entrepreneurs to get their mind-set right before they attempt to engage their talents towards sustainable business success. At least, the mind-set and the action should pursue parallel paths in time. The current West Indies cricket management and team are prime candidates for a shepherding process.

It is this continual interaction with entrepreneurs on the importance of mind-set change that led to a philosophical discussion and some research last week on the relationships between the composite components with which the human body is blessed, the spirit, soul, mind and body.

Even though one may intrinsically think that the delineation of these relationships should be a “no brainer”, when I engage my clients, it is not that simple after all.

I think this is because the client is driven by visions of abundance but does not fully realize that this can only be successfully realized by efficiently and effectively mobilizing the resources (the spirit, soul, mind and body) which are given to us by God.

A simple and consistent interpretation of my findings (I leave more sophisticated analyses to those more qualified to do so) has led to the following guidelines which I find useful.

The spirit is the element in humanity which gives us the ability to have an intimate relationship with God, the Spirit; We humans are all spiritual beings mastering the human experience. We expect that our spiritual awareness, while we are enjoying this earthly experience, will continually expand, leading to greater abundance.

The soul is the spiritual life of the human being and has the opportunity to grow spiritually when mastering the human experience.

Our mind consists of the set of cognitive faculties that enables consciousness, perception, thinking, judgment and memory. One aspect of life which is often ignored is the fact that God has given us each 24 hours a day as an asset. The mind is in charge of minimizing the wastage of this asset.

The body is the physical manifestation of humanity and has the following 12 systems:

(1) Integumentary (Protects body through skin, hair, nails, sweat and other exocrine glands); (2) Skeletal (Bones supporting the body and its organs); (3) Nervous (Collects and processes information from the senses via nerves and the brain and tells the muscles to contract to cause physical actions); (4) Cardiovascular (Circulates blood around the body via the heart arteries and veins, delivering oxygen and nutrients to organs and cells and carrying their waste products away); (5) Endocrine (Provides chemical communications within the body using hormones); and (6) Muscular (Enables the body to move using muscles).

The other six are: (7) Lymphatic (Supplies and drains lymph fluid in support of the cardiovascular and immune systems); (8) Respiratory (The lungs and the trachea that bring air into the body); (9) Excretory and Urinary (Eliminates waste from the body); (10) Reproductive (The sex organs required for the production of offspring); (11) Digestive (Mechanical and chemical processes that provide nutrients via the mouth, esophagus, stomach and intestines); and (12) Immune (Defends the body against disease-causing agents).

There is a close analogy between humanity and business. The 12 systems of the human body are God-made and hence are very robust. If we shepherd these components of humanity well, we shall enjoy good spiritual, physical, and intellectual health.

Whereas there are 12 human systems, there are only five business systems: Corporate Governance, Marketing, Operations, Human Resource Development and Investment Finance. Even though God-inspired, these systems are man-made and hence intrinsically frail. Globally, 90 percent of start-up businesses fail in the first four years. Imagine how alarmed we would be if the mortality rate of human beings was 90 percent in the first four years of life. My hypothesis is that if we shepherd the business systems well our businesses will survive and thrive and our economies will grow commensurately.

Let each and every one of us maintain an intimate relationship with God, who made heaven and earth, so that we can stay tuned with the purpose of life.

(Dr. Basil Springer GCM is Change-Engine Consultant, Caribbean Business Enterprise Trust Inc. – CBET. His columns may be found at www.cbetmodel.org and www.nothingbeatsbusiness.com.)