One Way to Self Management

Copyright © 2007 All Rights Reserved

by Réjean Déziel and Benedict Elie

Nowadays, life is quite demanding and complicated. One must get down to essentials, but not lose sight of the bigger picture when focusing on details.

It is always wise to consult someone whom we love and trust and who inspires us, especially when seeking advice, experiencing certain difficulties or wondering what to do or how to react in particular situations.

Famous French philosopher Jean-Paul Sartre already initiated discussions on this topic in his book entitled Existentialism is a Humanism, first published in French by Éditions Nagel in 1967 under the title L'existentialisme est un humanisme.

Below is a short excerpt from his work:
"You may say that the youth did, at least, go to a professor to ask for advice. But if you seek counsel--from a priest, for example--you have selected that priest; and at bottom you already knew, more or less, what he would advise."

In the past, Jean-Marie Mousseau suggested to one of us that each person should create a governing council to help manage his/her own life.

Basically, we have invented nothing of what is being conveyed here. We simply read an interesting book by Jean-Paul Sartre, and then gave the topic some thought and pondered the subject on the basis of Mousseau's suggestion.

Quite modestly, we believe that every individual on earth experiences difficulties from time to time. In order to know what to do when unlucky or in trouble, or in other words, how to manage properly one's own life and oneself, it is advantageous to create a personal governing council.

In practical terms, all it takes is choosing individuals who, in our opinion, show good judgment, or at least a good attitude towards life. One of us personally chose Jesus as chairman of his virtual governing council. His picture may be hung in bedrooms, He may be confided in and He is always happy to provide guidance to those who seek counsel from Him. Having said this in all modesty, anyone may choose Jesus or any other reliable, intimately known individual to serve as main adviser or chairman of a personal governing council.

The deputy chairman of Benedict's governing council is his father-in-law Hugues Massue, or more precisely, his second father. In fact, Benedict experienced adjustment difficulties with his father-in-law during adolescence, but once he left the family home to work full time in administration and computer science, he actually had an excellent relationship with Hugues who came to visit him every weekend with his mother, particularly to see his two daughters. Hugues Massue had been a lieutenant-colonel in the army and was an extremely positive and warm man at work and in day-to-day life. Hugues' fellow workers quite fondly nicknamed him "Mister Positive".

There are the other members of Benedict's governing council, including his life partner, Réjean Déziel and Suzanne Fiset at the École de croissance personnelle Réjean Déziel. Also included are philosopher Epicurus (Epicurean philosophy) and the Dalai Lama (for his profound knowledge of Buddhism), along with scores of other valued individuals who sit on his virtual governing council.

More precisely, when Benedict has a problem (especially an ethical problem), he first asks himself what Jesus would reply to him or advise him to do. At other times, he automatically thinks about his father-in-law Hugues Massue by asking himself what he would advise in order to get out of a tight spot or to become successful in particular endeavours.

As you can see, having a personal governing council is quite simple and works very well. Naturally, the members of a personal governing council have to be intimately known. As regards Benedict, he enjoys listening to passages from the Gospel and having them explained to him; he enjoys understanding Jesus' philosophy and attitude towards life. The same thing goes for the other members of his governing council.

Note that Jean-Paul Sartre gave the example of an individual who consulted a priest, an actual living being. People we knew closely and who have passed away may also be consulted. Some people even say that we can communicate with the souls of the deceased. It is a point of view, but in fact awareness of the attitudes, ways of doing things, views, tips and the know-how of people we knew and who have passed away is sufficient. However, it must be emphasized that a person must know each of the individuals on his/her virtual governing council quite well, and be acquainted with their lives and views. In a way, the person must be familiar with the "quintessence of their souls".

As set out in the chart above, we may also draw inspiration from the management policies of successful major firms or organizations. These are referred to namely as "artificial persons" from a legal point of view. The result is just as appropriate. In fact, a private business or public organization making the effort to explain to employees its main ethical concerns is certainly worth mentioning, especially if these values inspire you and help you to manage your life better.

If you are interested in biblical references, here are the two New Testament passages in which the teachings of Jesus set out in the chart above are the focus: Matthew 11:28-30 and Matthew 22:34-40.

The graphic that follows is slightly different. Réjean suggests instead that we be our own governing council chairman and fill the positions of the members of our governing council with people with diversified knowledge who may guide us in our actions. The following graphic is used by Réjean. You only need to print out this chart and write the name of each member of your governing council in an ellipse. Like Benedict's governing council, you choose these individuals yourself.

The way in which Réjean's personal governing council works is very simple. When you have a problem to resolve, you ask the members of your governing council to get together and provide you with an answer. In fact, the following formula may be used: asking your psyche to convene a meeting of your governing council to provide the best or ideal answer to a particular situation. In fact, it is a cosmic pattern!

In short, we suggest that you take a sheet of paper, outline the chart that best suits you, fill in the positions of the members of your governing council and keep this sheet carefully, because it might be very useful to imprint in your mind this excellent tool for managing your personal affairs.

It should be noted that you may either call upon all the members of your governing council for advice or consult a single member. This depends on the situation to resolve. The help or answer required always comes automatically, effortlessly and freely; you need only let your psyche work. In this regard, every human being has his/her very own psyche and needs only to use it and make it work. No special talent is needed by anyone to use his/her psyche.

Give this governing council some thought. Experience it and outline your chart; it is worth your while. Instead of struggling to find the solution to all your problems on your own, leave them up to your personal governing council. It is a way to call upon the Creator and the Universe to help you. And it really works!

Some psychologists and neurologists think that the human brain uses only ten percent of its faculties. By using one's intuition, psyche and governing council, the proportion of brain faculties being used can be increased significantly.

Naturally, a governing council should be put together with the greatest care, because the members selected will be those contacted for help when needed. In conclusion, one should ponder this topic, choose a suitable chart and fill in the positions of governing council members one at a time, if need be. Above all, take the time you need and proceed at your own pace. Putting together your governing council is no pressing matter.

If you often give lectures or if one of your priorities is to make friends, you might consider having a talented individual like Dale Carnegie sit on your governing council. Or if you work with people from various circles and countries, you might consider having a great humanist like Martin Luther King sit on your governing council. It all depends on your needs. Besides, if you were to compare the governing council of people in your entourage, you would see that they are most certainly quite different.

To sum up, we are not always responsible for the problems we have to face. We quite often have to say to ourselves that we did not create the world surrounding us. No human being created the Universe and Cosmos in which we are immersed. Therefore, why take upon ourselves all the problems that fall upon us, including those of our spouses, friends, parents and everyone else? Instead, let us allow our psyche and personal governing council to take care of all this for us. How well it works is simply amazing. You need only try it!

We wish you a wonderful life filled with happiness, especially with the help of your governing council.

Permission is granted by the authors to reproduce this article by any means.


Benedict Elie AUTHOR: Benedict Elie