The Seven Areas
Life is a balance. The microsystems and macrosystems of the planet on which we live, the body we inhabit, and the universe that encompasses and surrounds us, are in a constant state of expansion and contraction. The purpose of these microcosmic and macrocosmic machinations is to maintain order and balance. There is an enormous amount of energy created in this process. Your priorities in life (value system) determines the results you achieve. It is more effective to have your daily life reflect your values. The fun in life begins when you take on the appropriate level of responsibility, to balance the level of fulfillment you seek. Chapter I and the exercises that follow it will help bring greater focus and power to your day-to-day activities. It is a skill, and therefore it takes training and practice. It is worth the effort!
First, let us break life down into its component parts. We will call these the seven areas of life: spiritual, mental, vocational, financial, familial, social and physical. A thorough mastering of all seven areas is key to a fulfilling life. One of the most effective ways to help yourself is to become aware of the hierarchy of your value system as it relates to the seven areas of life.
To determine the hierarchy of your value system, simply catalogue where and how you spend your time, energy, and money. For example, if you spend a significant amount of time involved in your church with meetings or choir, etc., and the moral or ethical implications of daily life occupy your time, then spiritual development is high among your values. If you spend a significant amount of your time learning, studying, and researching information, or using and improving your mental skills, then the mental area of life is high among your values. If you are working and taking courses to further your career, your identity is linked to your work (you do carpentry work, versus “being a carpenter” is who you are), then vocation is high among your values. If you play the stock market, study the laws governing investments, spend a significant amount of time working on or thinking about finances, then the financial area of life is high among your values. If you spend a significant amount of time taking your kids to sporting events, coaching their team, or taking care of your parents, then family is high among your values. If your friends, parties, and social events take a significant amount of your time, then the social aspect is high among your values. If you are concerned about your health and take time to do regular exercise and massage, or take tennis lessons, then the physical aspect is high among your values. That’s simple, right? Now, if your highest priority is to advance your career through schooling, but you are spending a significant amount of time enjoying the social area of your life and ignoring school, then nothing is wrong, but you will eventually beat yourself up for not focusing enough attention on your career.
A key to self-mastery is understanding that your current circumstances are a result or reflection of your value system. Another key is to have congruence in your value system by linking your daily activities to your mission. Although all seven areas of life are interdependent and interrelated, it benefits us to break them down for purposes of finding where we are incongruent with our values and bringing life back into balance. Another cause of confusion and imbalance in life comes from the inability to effectively switch in and out of the roles we play: mother, father, wife, husband, educator, club member, breadwinner, etc. Developing the skill of balancing roles is most efficiently accomplished by starting with congruency in your hierarchy of values and the seven areas of life.