Triangle of Well Being

In Henry Cloud’s book The Power of the Other, he writes about the work of Daniel Siegel from UCLA.

Siegel puts forth the idea of a “Triangle of Well Being.” He says that there are three elements that work together that help each person create a better quality of life.

The three things are:

  1. Our physical brain/body
  2. Our minds
  3. Our relationships

Cloud takes this idea and uses it to explain how people become the best they can be. The first, keeping our body healthy makes sense.  That’s why so much attention is placed on our lifestyles and health patterns.  We need a strong body and fully functioning brain to get the most out of life.

Our mind makes sense as well. Our mind has a great capacity to imagine, learn, remember , invent, love, care, pray-you get it.  The quality of our thought life originates in our mind.  It directs our body.  It determines our course.

Cloud says that most people tend to try to get better by combining our body/brain with our minds and making improvements.

He notes that Siegel’s third element of relationships is often little regarded. That relationships exist for all of us but that we tend to underestimate how important they are to our well-being.

I’ve been traveling around sharing the results of our employee engagement survey and talking about their implications. As I read about the “Triangle of Well Being” and the importance of “others” in maximizing our well-being, I realized why some of the questions we ask can contribute to the success of our enterprise.

Consider them:

Is there someone concerned with your development?

Do you have a best friend at work?

Did you get feedback in the last seven days?

Do your opinions count? Are they heard? Are they respected?

Are your teammates committed to high quality work?

All of these questions are related to our relationships. We count on the others around us to inspire us, to stimulate us, to guide us toward a better path.  We have a higher quality of experience when we care about those we work alongside and our confident that care is returned.

We want to be heard.   We commit to hearing as well.  No one gets better without feedback.

I’d like to tell you that we thought all of this through before creating the survey but, candidly, we aren’t that smart.

But, the logic of the “Triangle of Well Being” is rock solid. You can have a solid mind and body. Your brain can be alert.  But, nothing really good will come of it if we aren’t surrounded by good folks at work, at home and in our community.