There are so many diverse ways in which people live today, but there is one theme that connects the lives of most people in our world – most of us want a better life.
We want to improve one aspect in particular or many aspects of our lives, achieving some type of “success” in an area we feel needs to be worked on.
- Some people are living the “perfect American life”, a good job, a nice house, a lovely family, but they still feel that there is something missing from their lives. They might even have everything they ever wanted, but somewhere, there is more out there – even if they can’t explain what that “more” is.
- Some people feel overworked and under-fulfilled, running the rat race in a dog-eat-dog world. Long hours of stress-filled days may provide momentary feelings of accomplishment, but every once in a while they wonder, “What does it all mean?” Moreover, the stress of that lifestyle can produce all kinds of longer-term issues in their relationships, health, and general well-being.
- Some drag themselves day after day to jobs that drain their minds, bodies, and souls, barely surviving, always looking towards the next break, the next weekend, the next vacation…
- Some suffer financial hardships, living paycheck-to-paycheck, or even worse, living without a paycheck, or any other reliable source of income. They might be happy and successful in many other ways, but this one factor significantly limits the possibilities they have in life.
- Some have achieved their financial goals, having all the money they could ever spend, yet are still lacking in love and true friendships. They wonder if their partners and acquaintances are only with them for the money, and settle for businesslike “arrangements” rather than risk the intimacy of true love and connection.
- Some would trade almost everything they own just to have their health back.
- Some “do what they have to do”, but are still looking for their true purpose in life. Or they haven’t found a sense of purpose, but they have completely stopped looking for it, resigning themselves to “the way life is”.
- Some wander through life in circles, making the same mistakes and finding themselves in the same unpleasant circumstances over and over again, vowing (yet again) that “This will be the last time.”
Do any of these examples sound familiar? All of the scenarios above describe people who are limited in a way that makes them less happy and fulfilled in life – even though they may be extremely “successful” in many other ways.
So, where does true happiness lie? What is Success (with a capital S)? There seems to be many facets to this type of holistic Success, which we call 360° Success. Just from the examples above, we can observe that while the financial aspect is important, 360° Success also encompasses personal satisfaction in the areas of Self-fulfillment, Re lationships, Family, Community, Life purpose, Spirituality, Physical health and Well-being.
The aspects of 360° Success include (but are not limited to) the following components:
Health:Although many of us take it for granted, without our health, it is hard to really enjoy anything else in life. It is our most prized possession, yet it is usually the most underrated and abused.
As Madonna so aptly put it, “We are living in a material world.” So, if we fail to achieve a certain level of mastery in this area, we tend to be limited in the opportunities we have in life. Achieving mastery over money, however, doesn’t necessarily make someone either happy or materialistic.
Happiness & Self-worth:
Like health, almost nothing else matters if we don’t feel good about ourselves. A lack of self-worth becomes the lens through which everything else is viewed, making happiness unachievable until the inner feelings of doubt, insecurity, and self-deprecation are resolved. On the other side of the coin, one can also have too much “self” worth – that is, one feels self-important because of something one has achieved, like social/professional status, fame or wealth. This, of course, isn’t true self-worth, because if the position, fame, or money is taken away, so are the feelings of personal importance. True self-worth and happiness comes from an unshakeable internal source that isn’t dependent on external circumstances.
Relationships & Intimacy:
Almost everyone yearns for true connections with other people in this world, and one special intimate relationship that is fulfilling on a mental, physical, and spiritual level. While so many of us seek this, so many of us are under-fulfilled in this area of our lives. Whether we have trouble making these types of connections, or we lose them by letting the spark of life die through force of habit, many of us are still searching for more in this area. Human connection, warmth and intimacy are universal needs that are important elements of 360° Success.
My mom used to say, “When I have the time, I don’t have the money. And when I have the money, I don’t have the time.” What a wise woman, she is. It is true. In fact, one of the best books I have ever read about money, Your Money or Your Life, by Joe Dominguez and Vicki Robin, defines money as “something you trade your life energy for.” By “life energy”, they mean the time you have left here on earth, and what else you could be doing with it. How often do you say to yourself, “I’d pursue goal x or spend more time with y, if only I had enough time…” We all have to face the fact that our time is limited. How we spend that limited time makes all the difference.
Fulfillment, Purpose & Spirituality:
Most of us want to feel like everything we go through in this life means something to somebody. This area deals with the big existential questions, “Who am I?” and “Why am I here?” Whether we acknowledge it or not, we are looking for fulfillment and purpose. Some find it in their jobs, some in their faith, some in their families, some in their communities. And many are still searching.
Knowledge, Wisdom & Understanding:
This area encompasses the satisfying feeling that we are learning something along the way of life, where we gain enough perspective to make wiser choices, and where we ask the question: “What does it all mean?”
What a list! If we could develop in all of those areas, our lives would be pretty great, right? But how can we acquire all of those things? It doesn’t seem possible. In fact, it seems like if we pursue one of them 100%, then we must sacrifice another. For example, we work, work, work to achieve financially, but we don’t have enough time for ourselves (much less a relationship). Alternatively, we focus so much on fulfillment, pursuing our creative dreams, only to become trapped by debts and financial burdens later on in life. In addition, if we pursue any one of those areas with only 50% effort, then we probably won’t ever reach our goals.It is like there are invisible boundaries everywhere, keeping us in limited lives, not allowing us to achieve our true potential. If we think about the list of qualities above, we recognize that wherever we are stronger (money, health, knowledge), we are freer. Conversely, wherever we are a little more underdeveloped, we are a little more limited (whether we can always admit it to ourselves or not). Therefore, what we are really talking about (and what 360° Success is all about) is FREEDOM FROM LIMITATIONS, both internal and external.
It is possible for you to live a life without being limited by any of the normal boundaries that most people experience every day. And without those limits, you can achieve success in any field you choose.
I’m sure someone has told you at some point that you should try to “think outside of the box.” It is such an overused cliché that it makes most of us cringe when we hear it again and again. But this expression does have a profound meaning that is often missed. It means that we should try to think in new ways, beyond our normal habitual thought patterns.
What we don’t we ever ask ourselves is, “Hey, where did that box come from?” and “Why do I need to work so hard to think outside of it?” That’s what I mean about us being limited. We cannot even see “the boxes” we live inside that limit our chances for happiness. That box symbolizes all of our limitations and boundaries that we may or may not be aware of. Lets learn to think-and therefore live-outside of that box.
We can have all of the aspects of 360° Success described above, and more that we have never even dreamed of. How, you ask? The answer lies within each one of us. In developing our internal potential and acquiring the ability to attain the levels of self-knowledge, energy, character, and willpower that it takes to achieve 360° Success.
With all of the different components of 360° Success, you might think that it would take much more than one lifetime to achieve a level of mastery and fulfillment in each. Some people spend years just working on financial success, or intimacy, or improving their health. However, with a deeper understanding, one can improve the internal quality for Success that improves all of the aspects at the same time. It is like if you have the flu – you can treat the symptoms (runny nose, body aches, cough, etc.) or you can treat the root cause (the virus), which will make all of the symptoms better once overcome.
David Richeson is a Senior Course Instructor at The Institute for Hermetic Philosophy For over ten years, he has taught courses and seminars on various topics in personal development such as: money mastery, relationships, communication, motivation, overcoming fears, time-management, and how all of these issues may be improved through increased self-awareness. He completed his undergraduate study in Philosophy at Brown University, and is the author of several stage plays and screenplays as well as the book, 360 Degree Success [http://www.360degreesuccess.com/book] a practical workbook on achieving holistic success in every area of your life.
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