Welcome to Part 2 of the New Survival Guide.
Last time we talked about the importance of having a balanced approach to life and how implementing practicals strategies can have such a positive impact on our lives. In addition to finding the balance between hustle, study, work, and our interests, balance is about getting all aspects of your life into a comfortable equilibrium.
The Circle of Happiness
The Circle of Happiness
You might like to think of your life as having four key major areas:
– Physical (Health)
– Personal (Self-esteem, personal fulfillment)
– People (family/friendships/relationships)
– Professional (school/work/business)
Envision a balanced Circle of happiness as the ultimate goal. It is true that we all want to experience as much happiness as possible, but because there are four areas we all need to focus on, ultimate happiness is something of a lifetime endeavor of a balancing act. If any of these areas is lacking, your happiness will be affected and you may not get as much out of life as you could if this area was well nurtured. Sometimes one particular area will need your complete focus to get it back on track, that’s okay. It’s just like training for a particular sporting event like a Powerlifting meet – you might need to focus a dedicated portion of time and energy on your squatting technique, but that doesn’t mean that you completely neglect the other areas of life.
So what’s the key takeaway of it all? It’s to be mindful that each of these areas is important for you to achieve overall happiness and well-being. Every once in a while, come back to this guide and refresh your memory on the Circle of Happiness. If you look after each of these areas well you can expect your overall quality of life to be rich, enjoyable, and interesting. All your hard work will then become a revelation of success because you’ll know you have a purpose – which is to make the most of your life.
The Physical Area
Physical balance in life is all about looking after your general health. It is easy to take health for granted and you only have to witness someone who isn’t lucky enough to have genuine health to realize just how precious good health is to have a happy life. As I write this, there is a countless number of people who are battling true health illnesses such as cancer. These people are fighting hard just to build up their energy to do normal things in life. Don’t neglect the physical area of your life, because it’s way too important.
Now you’ve probably already heard from others that regular exercise is one of the keys to good health and fitness. It’s so true and there is more than enough supporting evidence to justify making it a key ingredient in life. But exercise is not only good for your body and fitness, but it also elevates your mood and will give you a boost of energy to get out there and make the most of life. Active people are happy people. On the point of well-being, I can’t stress enough the importance of having a balanced approach to your dietary intake. Take it from me, I’ve battled obesity myself and I can tell you that being lean and obese is like light and day.
But what exactly is healthy eating? At the core of it all, it is all about forming a healthy attitude and relationship with food. It’s about eating in moderation and taking in what is relevant to your goals and needs in life. It’s avoiding a massive binge-eating session when we take to particular ‘comfort foods’ such as a whole bucket of oily chicken wings or Ice cream when we are feeling down; or ‘crash diets’ where we restrict calories to a bare minimum until we go insane. Food is good for you, but at the same token, it is not your best friend either.
To achieve great physical balance in life it is all about being smart about what you put and don’t put into your body. If you fill your body with trash and things like that you may end up doing some major damage! Of course, looking after your physical health is easier if you can manage stress in your life, throughout this series we will look at many practical ways to get on top of this area.
The Personal Area
Over the course of my life, I have always felt a strong urge to develop as an individual. Something happens when we don’t feel like we’re progressing or growing and it isn’t pleasant. We become stagnant, we feel bored and ultimately we may start looking for reasons why everything is wrong (when it actually isn’t). We have a need for a sense of significance in our lives because let’s face it, we are simply just one person among the billions that co-exist. So in a sense, it is our duty to fulfill our lives with purpose, to make a difference, and to keep growing as individuals because that is what will contribute to our happiness.
Personal means you, and you are number one in your life. Looking after Number One (yourself) is about building a positive self-image, self-esteem, and self-compassion. It is also about finding your personal fulfillment that puts a real smile on your face and searching for what you truly want out of life and going for it. It is something we should remind ourselves of constantly and not take for granted. Because on the surface, personal happiness seems like such a natural thing for all of us to pursue. However, the reality is far less straightforward because life isn’t linear. There are lots of pressures from everywhere such as family and friends, all the way to the bombardment of social media and society’s parable of expectations. Not to mention the pressure we may put on ourselves!
With all this insanity and noise happening, how are we supposed to grow as an individual? It is easy to get carried away by the wave of external expectations and start to abandon what we really want.
The answer to personal fulfillment is to see that life is a journey. Every single aspect of it is a journey, from the ups to the downs, to the smiles and cries, and to each new experience, you create. The key is to write it all down, think about each experience you have, and reflect. Because 2016 will be a year like no other, so we can simply take away from this experience. Just like me writing to you now, I write because I care and because I know you have the potential to make life incredible.
The People Area
The relationship area of your life is like the bloodline – it’s your link to the outside world. Let’s face it, you need friends, family, and other important people to support you, advise you, affirm you (and occasionally put you in your place) as well as a shoulder to lean on when everything goes wrong. In a way, they are like a mirror in which you see yourself and the world because their opinions and attitudes can greatly influence your perception of the world. What more can I say? You gotta have friends. I’ve seen way too many people go the lonely wolf route to success at the expense of everything else that they ended up losing the very success they were seeking.
It may seem to empower at first to cut all of the ties to friends just to focus on the hustle. It’s easy to buy into the story of having an insanely busy career to have any relationships and to increasingly lose contact with the people that are important to you. The people that follow this narrative may make lots of money but wonder why they weren’t happy. Money and success aren’t much good if you don’t have anyone to enjoy them with! My father once said to me ‘True friends, money can’t buy. Now while it’s true that some of us are more social than others, we all do want to feel like we belong. Relationship happiness is just way too important to ignore.
You’ve probably heard the saying ‘No man is an island, well it’s true! Human beings are social animals. We need to interact with the larger community to make us feel better about ourselves and to feel part of a community. It allows us to grow in synergy with the world around us and see that we are more than just an individual. The sense of connection and belonging is important to protect us from life’s low blows and to aid us in enjoying the highs. We will focus more on this later in the series as you’ll find out how to charm the socks off people, make new friends and have a happy personal life with fulfillment.
The Professional Area
Our professional life will take up a significant chunk of our lives and will play a big part in our identity as individuals. You might not believe this now, but work is actually good for us. Work is a way to give it meaning. An established career is a recognized symbol that you’re great at something and that you are valued. When you positively contribute to society, that feels good.
A professional life doesn’t just mean having a paid job. It could be owning your own business, volunteering, part-time work, or even just continuing your studies. And while you’re at school, your professional life is very much about your studies. As we spend a lot of our lives in our professional life, it follows that happiness in our professional life has a huge influence on our overall self-esteem. Now, I don’t particularly buy into the complete philosophy that ‘you are what you do’, I certainly believe in the importance of being happy with what you do.
Just ask anyone who absolutely hates what they study or do, you can see clearly how it affects their happiness. So while your professional life is only one part of the entire picture that makes up you, it’s an important area to be happy about. We’ll examine how you can maximize success, enjoyment in your professional life later on in the series as well.
Why is balance so important?
Modern living is truly complicated. No one is going to have everything right at the same time all the time and that is part of being human. The goal is to strive for balance, to do something to correct the balance when one area seems out of control. Don’t forget that all four areas of your life are interrelated. It’s very difficult to feel completely at peace and happy with yourself when one corner is left unattended. The interesting thing about the Circle of Happiness is that the four parts have a true mutually reinforcing effect. When one area is one, it tends to drag the others down. When one area is up, it elevates the others as well.
As you partake in this series, identify the areas you believe need to work on the most. Set yourself goals and work to develop your level of happiness and success in these areas. In life, if you are determined enough, you can do just about anything! Believe in yourself and you’re already halfway to where you want to be in life. Because knowing how to grow stronger in each area in the Circle of Happiness gives you more control over yourself, and in turn, your life. As each article is released, I will go over useful techniques to maximize your happiness in the different areas of your life.
Stay tuned because we are just getting started, in part 3 we will begin to show you how to take the driver’s seat and get on top of whatever you are facing right away.