Listening to Our Inner Voices

Identifying o­ne’s own dreams is an intuitive process. The brain uses a system of notifications (pleasant and unpleasant emotions) to warn us whether the profile of events currently unfolding is following a desirable pattern (satisfaction) or a dangerous o­ne (dissatisfaction). To some extent, these emotions are signals to act.

According to IESE Professor Luis Huete, author of the book “Construye tu sueño” (“Build Your Dream”), we have six inner voices, which make certain reasonable demands. Those voices are a guide to our dreams, but they need to be interpreted correctly:

  1. Security. The desire to avoid what makes us suffer, to avoid complications. Listening to this voice means developing a healthy confidence in our personal capabilities and accepting that facing up to difficulties is a necessary part of life. Contrary to what o­ne might think, this voice is not asking for money. If money is your measure of security, people will think you work exclusively for your own benefit and will be suspicious.
  2. Variety. The need for change, surprise, challenge or fun. Interpreting this voice correctly means setting o­neself challenges, not being frightened, and making o­ne’s professional and personal tasks more interesting every day.

    Although security and variety may seem to be in conflict, in fact they need o­ne another. Nor should we interpret this second voice as demanding career success and power. People who try to take other people’s jobs just to feed their ego usually forfeit their credibility and moral authority in the process.

  3. Singularity. The desire to excel, to be better than the rest. The best way for me to interpret this voice is by valuing myself for what I am, not for what I have. It does not necessarily mean public image or outward appearance, which can lead to grandstanding and stealing other people’s glory.
  4. Connection. The desire to share, to be accepted. A good interpretation of this voice is being open to others, fostering a sense of belonging. However, the attention I receive from others should not be the measure of my worth. If it were, our relationship would lose its naturalness, my behavior would become very obviously “interested”, and my personal weakness would be in the spotlight.
  5. Personal growth. The desire to achieve more, to progress. The best interpretation is gaining in wisdom and in knowledge of the world around us.
  6. Contribution and social progress. The desire to do something useful and worthwhile for others. People who listen to this voice end up getting more than they give, and establish a virtuous circle of growth, giving and receiving.

This game of inner voices lasts a lifetime, so the sooner we learn to play, the more satisfaction we will obtain. “Learning is evidenced by the priority we give to the different voices,” says Huete, adding that, “paying progressively less attention to the four basic voices and listening more to the last two is a sign of learning”.

Respect for the internal logic of emotions and the emotional needs of those close to us is an important part of building dreams.

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