4 min read

Attitudes of substance are essential to maximise our skills

Last time I posted here I asked: What are your top five skills?

This time I explore the other part of the equation: attitude, will or commitment. When both are working in harmony we bring substance to our artisan life. This means we can be at the top of our game consistently.

Attitude and skill, willing and able, or competency and commitment are a very special combination, Take your pick of language that suits you best.

In his post about substance Richard Merrick says:

“Substance is what's left in the aftermath of a collision between rhetoric, reality, and responsibility. It's a signal of character, and evidence of a commitment to a set of guiding principles that stand firm in the face of pressure. It is perhaps what some call "essence" manifest and is a precious thing.”

For me there are eight attitudes of substance. I call them the eight heart qualities. They are from my book Heart-Leadership Become the wise leader you want to be.’ To explore Heart-Leadership I recommend visiting this page where there are 28 complimentary videos (24 are under 5 minutes) as well as short and sharp podcasts.

Below are the eight heart qualities:

Here is the 1 minute and 9 seconds video version.


The Ancient Greeks had four words for love. Two are well known - eros (romantic love) and agape (love in a spiritual sense).

The other two are not generally as well known. There's storge, meaning natural affection like parents feel for their children.

And then there's philia. This is the one I find the most insightful for workplaces, community groups, sporting clubs, in our teams/chorts, wherever we gather.

Philia is often translated as affectionate regard or friendship. We need more philia in our organisations. It will lead to more philia in the world. And we need it right?

I find it simple (not always easy) to have affectionate regard for people because I know everyone of us is a one-of-a-kind human being. Only the hardest of heart cannot love a one-off.

Philia love is a foundation stone of Heart-Leadership.


My wife Carol and I walk with our dog Molly every day, rain, hail or shine.

A ritual we have adopted is to express out loud what we're grateful for. It really sets up the remainder of the day for us.

We're well practiced in gratitude. We know that being truly grateful for what we have leads to more of what we need.

Being grateful is something I have practiced daily now for 45 years. As a twenty-three year old when I faced a life-threatening operation with a one in five survival rate. I became the one largely because my surgeon taught me gratitude. In preparing for the operation that saved my life I followed his instructions to stand in front of the mirror and say out loud "I have an attitude of gratitude." I have been carrying out this ritual every day since!

In the best and worst of times I have learned that being grateful and having "an attitude of gratitude" is the key to living a happy and contented life.

Having "an attitude of gratitude" is a foundation stone of Heart-Leadership.


I have been researching what employees really want from employers and fellow employees for more than two decades. Appreciation tops the list.

The eminent psychologist William James observed: “The deepest craving of human nature is the need to be appreciated.”

Feeling appreciated and being willing and able to show appreciation to others are foundation stones of Heart-Leadership.


“People don't care how much you know until they know how much you care.” said Theodore Roosevelt, the youngest person to ever be President of the United States and generally regarded in the top five Presidents, not least for is work in ensuring fairness for all people.

Care begins with self-care. As a boy my father taught me that the keys to living a good life were to be spiritually alive, mentally alert and physically active. Over time I added emotionally healthy and universally aware. I called these the face fives of a human being fully alive. Heart-leaders are fully alive.

Caring for others is to support them in being fully alive human beings.

In many of the best workplaces today and also some countries well-being is measured and seen as more valuable than the traditional economic measures of success.

Caring for self and other people are foundation stones of Heart-Leadership.


The Rabbi Hyman Judah Schachtel in an excellent book ‘The Real Enjoyment of Living’ said:

“Happiness is not having what you want, but wanting what you have.”

I contemplate this often.

Such happiness is a foundation stone of Heart-Leadership.


There's a lot of truth for me in the following attributed to Fred Kofman, a leader in the conscious business movement:

"Wisdom without compassion is ruthlessness,
and compassion without wisdom is folly."

One of the Apostles of the Christian Church is reported to have said, “Faith without works is dead.”

A lot of faiths are dead, dying, or in trouble today because the actions of a few of the faithful betray their stated beliefs.  I meet a lot of people more interested in being right than being compassionate for example. Compassion for me is at the truthful heart of all the world’s religions. Compassion is not a belief, it's a behaviour.

If we are not living and breathing a compassionate life we render whatever we believe as null and void, regardless of what we say.

A new world is being born.  Compassion is a key component. There is a place for faith in this new world. For me belief is personal and therefore deserving of respect. What really matters in this new world though is behaviour.

Some people have asked me what has compassion go to do with the future success of my business? My answer is - Everything! particularly in a world where being purpose driven and people focused, and seeing technology as an enabler and enhancer of the human experience, is the leading edge.

Being compassionate is a foundation stone of Heart-Leadership.


Harmony matters, perhaps above all else. Living a life at the intersection of yin and yang is the daily quest of the Heart-Leader.

Living in harmony with self, other people and our planet is a foundation stone of Heart-Leadership.


There’s a a 1 minute and 47 seconds video at this blog post.

Please take time to watch it. I have never seen before or since a better demonstration of kindness.

Such kindness is a foundation stone of Heart-Leadership.

Which of these heart qualities make your heart sing?
Such resonance are key to your essence (unique personal significance or character)?

How can you become more of whom you are capable of becoming?

What will you do next?

Become the wise leader you want to be.