I sat chatting with a city businessman. We talked about his life. He’d enjoyed the privilege of being educated at one of Britain’s most prestigious schools and then one of its finest universities. Now he’d come to see me about the new initiative, for which he’d been made responsible – developing a national scheme for mentoring young people into excellence.
He lamented the number of highly paid, ‘professionally successful’ people he meets who, he told me, it was clear are simply drifting – sleepwalking – through life. His new job was to stop this happening.
In response, I told him about the meeting I’d recently been in, in a smart hotel, where I watched a well-known, well-educated public figure slumped, all evening, in a corner by the bar, drowning in one gin after another. With a reputation for being socially difficult, this man sat alone, with no one, and nowhere to go to. His struggle, however, wasn’t that he didn’t have the right educational qualifications. He had the lot. His problem was that his IQ (his Intelligence Quotation) was not matched by his EQ or SQ – his emotional and spiritual intelligence, or rather lack of it.
As the Bible says; “Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit.” Stephen Covey, author of the famous ‘The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People’ described SQ as ‘the most fundamental of all the intelligences’. Only it, he claimed, allows us to explore life’s biggest questions: ‘Who am I?’ and ‘Who am I becoming?’
And I have learnt that when I neglect to “keep in step with the Spirit”, I am always left with that slightly unsettling sense of what that businessman called “drifting” or “sleepwalking” through life.