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Mastering the Five Sage Powers for Mental Fitness


Shirzad Chamine introduces the concept of sage and its five powers in his book “Positive Intelligence: Why Only 20% of Teams and Individuals Achieve Their True Potential and How You Can Achieve Yours.”

The overarching sage viewpoint is that every outcome or circumstance can be turned into a gift or opportunity. This involves looking at how every experience can help you grow and be a source of inspiration.

The sage outlook is about how every experience that you have has a miracle embedded in it. This allows you to work with and through any pain and transmute it to positive outcomes. There are five sage powers or perspectives that can become your focus. They are Empathize, Explore, Innovate, Navigate, and Activate.

Mental fitness requires two things. One is witnessing your stream of consciousness and the second is being able to divert that stream at will. The idea is to keep the stream in sage as much as possible. Sage is love-based as opposed to the saboteurs which are fear-based. Activating these sage skills allows you to access your natural authentic essence and live in alignment with who you were born to be: Your true self.

The five sage powers support us in staying in this place of love and appreciation.

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Empathize – deep compassion

You access this sage power through the love you feel for your kids or your pets. Apply this compassionate response objectively to any challenging experience. In this expression, you are applying unconditional love towards yourself, or another, or a particular situation.

The gift is coming to a greater level of understanding, acceptance, and forgiveness. This skill is evident in the victim or avoider saboteur. However, when it comes from a place of fear or conflict it is disempowering.

When you switch to coming from love you are empowered to be unconditionally accepting of all that you are, all that others are, or all that the situation is even when taking a stand is required.

Explore – beginners mindset and deep curiosity

You access this power by activating your curiosity to look at all the possibilities available. Here you are coming from a place of love for the abundance available to you. The discovery is a reward by itself. It is the joy of engagement. It is pursuing adventure without any fear or agenda.

The gift is where you give yourself permission to find out, make mistakes, and be in ‘beginner’s mind’. Being open-minded provides for greater mastery, shared co-active experience, and more opportunities. Hypervigilant or restless saboteurs have this skill, but it is disempowering due to the fear of loss or prevention focus.

When you are open to new horizons with a gain or promotion focus your overall experience becomes deeper.

Innovate – radically thinking outside of the box

You access this power by letting go of resistance or coming from a place of surrender to what is. When something is presented a knee-jerk reaction is often to latch on to what you don’t like. Alternatively, try coming from a place of acceptance so that you can focus on any benefits and how they can be amplified. This sage expression of love is invention. It is shifting to being objective in how you conceptualize things to identify the parts that can make a positive difference.

It is a gift that allows you to be creative and access your imagination. The pleaser saboteur finds things it likes in situations that are not personally inspiring, but compromises to do so. If you apply this power from love you can find the common ground and your relationship with yourself and others becomes richer.

You gain access to this power by connecting with your vision. You imagine having already achieved your ideal life. This allows you to experience the overall fit and then work backward to generate your path forward. This power embodies love for a purpose-driven life. Knowing your why and your big picture brings motivation and clarity. Being in your navigate power allows you to love the present moment and the journey you are making.

The gift is connecting to your dreams. You can imagine many possibilities and refine to find the unique fit for you according to your inner knowing. You take responsibility for leading yourself through life and manifesting the life you want. Controller and stickler saboteurs demonstrate elements of this. However, the fear in their response diminishes appreciation of outcome as well as flexibility.

Connecting with the larger picture allows you to enjoy your development as well as the development of others and the ways in which the situations you encounter contribute to your growth.

Activate – present in the moment laser-focused action

You access this power by checking in with what you want to do with your whole being. Not just because ‘you have to’ or ‘you should’ but with visceral awareness that includes a connection from the heart and gut. The steps that you take are in alignment with your ideal vision. Love is evident here for moving things forward and taking action on your mission.

This self-alignment offers gifts of clarity, confidence, and commitment. Knowing where you are going means you are intrinsically motivated. Taking action is a focus of the hyperacheiver or hyperrational saboteurs, but when your passion comes from a place of fear you are not acting from full alignment. Instead of being completely pulled into taking action, you have to push yourself and you will encounter resistance because people are not inspired by you.

In contrast, when you pay attention to the inner obstacles and have compassion you are more able to be in the flow of life. This improves your own personal experience as well as resilience in dealing with external obstacles.

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