One of the most difficult things to achieve in life is balance. In terms of overall satisfaction with life, we might be inclined to think things like money, possessions or prestige in employment put us high in the satisfaction ranking. Numerous studies over the years show that any or all of these things do not make people rank their happiness or satisfaction with life higher than other factors. What shows up time after time is how having consistent, uniform satisfaction over the various phases of life leads to happiness and fulfillment.
A model has been developed to assist in looking at our life and determining both balance and satisfaction and areas we need to work on to achieve these things.
Most versions of this model start by drawing a wheel with a number of spokes. Each spoke is labeled with one element of life. Although the elements vary with different versions of the wheel, the list includes such things as family, career, health, financial, education, recreation, charitable acts, adventure, travel, romance, relationships, and spiritual. Your wheel may not include everyone of these spokes, and your life may contain a few not here, but this is a pretty comprehensive list of the various aspects of life.
The next part of the exercise involves rating each spoke as to your satisfaction with it, using a scale like one to ten, with one being not at all satisfied and ten being completely satisfied.
A look at the wheel after completing the exercise will show you areas in which you need to develop a plan to increase satisfaction, and thereby balance. The wheel gives a good overall model for observing and evaluating your life and determining where you are going to start doing things that will increase satisfaction and work toward achieving balance.
“Wisdom is your perspective on life, your sense of balance, your understanding of how the various parts and principles apply and relate to each other. It embraces judgment, discernment, comprehension. It is a gestalt or oneness, and integrated wholeness” – Stephen Covey.
Obviously, if you discover low satisfaction in a number of the spokes, you will want to pick out one aspect of life to focus on at a time. This exercise may tell you exactly what you already knew, or it may show you some surprising insights into areas of life where you really need to work to increase satisfaction to achieve balance. The wheel can be used on a regular basis to check on progress and to help determine when you are ready to focus on increasing satisfaction, happiness and balance in another area of life.
“If we put the emphasis upon the right things, if we live the life that is worth while and then fail, we will survive all disasters, we will out-live all misfortune. We should be so well balanced and symmetrical, that nothing which could ever happen could throw us off our center, so that no matter what misfortune should overtake us, there would still be a whole magnificent man or woman left after being stripped of everything else” – Orison Swett Marden.
That balance will bring out our core values and will give us the stability in our overall life to make us happy, motivated, satisfied people. I hope you enjoy this exercise to see where you can begin to improve the balance in your life.
–David C. Bloom,
CEO of IHS Services, Inc.
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