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Helping you prosper: The Shalom principle

14 January 2019

We want to help you to Prosper.

“Prosper” is one of those words which is difficult to define but we know it when we see it or experience it….Prosperity is certainly not just about economics. Many wealthy people are not happy, well, thriving or prospering in life and similarly many people with modest economic resources are healthy, thriving and prospering.

So what does it mean to Prosper?

“Shalom” is a Hebrew word which translates as “Prosperity” in English. It provides a deeper meaning to the English word “Prosper”. Shalom means peace, harmony, wholeness, completeness, prosperity, welfare and tranquillity. The Arabic word “Salaam” is similar. Shalom and Salaam are ancient words with real depth of meaning.

I am currently working in Belfast with students from Calvin College Grand Rapids. Cornelius “Neal” Plantinga, a Senior Research Fellow and former Dean of the College, wrote a book entitled “Not the Way It’s Supposed to be”, which was acclaimed as the “Book of the Year” by a national magazine in the USA in 1996.   In the book Plantinga describes the concept of Shalom found in the Hebrew Old Testament/Tanakh:

The webbing together of God, humans, and all creation in justice, fulfilment, and delight is what the Hebrew prophets call shalom. We call it peace but it means far more than mere peace of mind or a cease-fire between enemies. In the Bible, shalom means universal flourishing, wholeness and delight – a rich state of affairs in which natural needs are satisfied and natural gifts fruitfully employed, a state of affairs that inspires joyful wonder as its Creator and Saviour opens doors and welcomes the creatures in whom he delights. Shalom, in other words, is the way things ought to be.

According to Pantinga, prosperity/Shalom is “the way things ought to be”

A number of years ago I was introduced to the work of the 20th Century Dutch legal philosopher Herman Dooyeweerd. Dooyeweerd is most famous for his suite of fifteen Aspects which are distinct ways in which reality exists, has meaning, is experienced, and occurs. Using these Aspects, The Dooyeweerd Pages, developed The Shalom (Prosperity) Principle.

The Shalom (Prosperity) Principle goes like this….It expresses the idea of goodness in multiple Aspects (Belief, Ethics, Juridical, Economic, Aesthetic, Social and nine other Aspects). Good in all Aspects, leads, to the way things ought to be for human and other life. Our human living is multi-Aspectual in nature (it is not just economic); ie, we function in most of the Aspects….we have beliefs and dreams, we are ethical, we are economic, we are social, we have legal status and an aesthetic aspect etc. Living according to the laws of each Aspect is good and brings prosperity.  For optimum prosperity in the broadest sense, it is therefore necessary to function well in every Aspect.

Imagine life characterised by the following (11 Aspects):

Aspect Good and towards prosperity
Biotic Health
Sensitive Mental and sensory health and alertness
Analytical Clear thinking
Formative Creativity, good planning and achieving
Lingual Articulateness
Social Friendliness and respect
Economic Being frugal and never wasteful nor squandering
Aesthetic Enjoyment, rest, leisure, fun, harmony, find everything interesting and beautiful
Juridical Justice
Ethical Self-giving and generosity
Pistic (Belief) Commitment and loyalty, courage, high morale, vision and faith

Such life would exhibit Shalom. Such life would exhibit Prosperity.

By identifying and understanding these Aspects of Prosperity, business owners can begin to work on the building blocks of prosperity within their organisations. We work with business owners developing strategies and tactics around these Aspects: helping to build prosperous businesses and helping our clients prosper.

Finally, in this brief blog, it is worth mentioning The Legatum Institute who publish their Prosperity Index each year. The Prosperity Index emphasises that prosperity is not simply economic. Indeed in 2018, their report noted that “rising wealth does not necessarily translate into greater happiness”. Their key prosperity “Pillars” are Economic Environment, Business Environment, Governance, Personal Freedom, Social Capital, Safety and security Education, Health and Natural Environment. 2018 was the 12th consecutive year of the Prosperity Index and the very good news was that prosperity continues to rise in the world!

In the next blog I will develop ideas around the Belief Aspect: What do you really believe about your business? What is your vision for the future?

Shalom

Michael Fitch

For further advice on helping you prosper, please contact Michael Fitch, Managing Partner at UHY Hacker Young Fitch.