How on Earth are we supposed to organize ourselves- goals, desires, passions, and especially our vision- in this busy world we live in?
I’ve discovered the answer.
In the New Testament, there is only one verse that describes the life of Jesus between when he was a teenager and when His formal ministry began.
“And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and man.” — Luke 2:52
Jesus increased (or grew) in:
Favor with God (spiritual)
Favor with man (social/Family)
These four goals are the four pillars of life. Organizing our own lives this way brings powerful clarity and balance.
Re-arranging the pillars in order of importance we have first the spiritual, then social/Family, followed by mental/career, and finally the physical. At any given time in any day you may have a different priority, but at every moment of every day, you’re efforts fall within one or more of these four areas.
For true balance, peace, and clarity, prioritization and hard work in all four categories are critical. Goals and vision set for each one of the four areas are crucial for happiness.
Think about your typical day, what do you spend your time on? Everything you do is either contributing to the accomplishment of your goals or hurting you, including and especially how you organize them.
Do your goals seem scatterbrained and disorganized? Try re-framing your mindset to think of your goals in terms of these four areas. I’ve been doing it since I was a teenager and have found incredible balance ever since.
Spiritually, you will want to figure out what works best for you. This is something that can be highly personal but should come first. In the words of Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, “We are not physical beings having a spiritual experience; we are spiritual beings having a physical experience.” Everything we do is spiritual, and as such, this pillar must come first. Our success is built upon the foundation of spiritual creation and focus before we are able to physically create our goals, desires, and vision. If your social/Family, mental, and physical goals do not align first with your spirit, then you will be off balance from the very beginning. But figure out what works for you.
The next pillar is social & Family. As with the spiritual, many do this in different ways. Building upon relationships by putting Family and friends above work and school (within reason) will leave us happier than putting other facets of life first. A person may have all the wealth in the world, their dream job, or a perfectly toned body, but without a Family or friends, life is pretty lonely.
Mental is the next pillar, yet for some, it may be interchangeable with the physical pillar. Our mental goals involve many different aspects, including education, career, money, mental health, and more. Family and spiritual come before the mental because we must work to live, carefully keeping these priorities in the right order.
Physical comes last but is certainly not least. I often think of the mental and physical goals as the enabler goals that give us the money, physical strength, and mental capacity required to spend time working on the spiritual and social/Family pillars.
Now, think about your typical day.
How balanced are you?
Which pillar are you the best at?
Which do you need to work on for some additional balance and clarity?
You don’t need to be immediately perfect at each of the pillars. You’ll stumble over yourself if you try to overcompensate for years of neglecting any one of these.
Success will come with the following steps, which I encourage you to practice during your early morning routine tomorrow. If you are wanting to change your life and don’t already get up early, start by getting up just 15 minutes earlier than normal tomorrow and follow these steps:
- Account for where you are. Write out accountability statements for how you feel you are doing in each of the four pillars.
- Identify where you would like to be. Many have written of the importance of creating 3, 5, 10, or even 25-year plans for success. Get a vision of where you want to be spiritually, socially, mentally, and physically. Write that vision down as if it already happened.
- Answer the following question: What is the single most important thing for me to practice daily in order for me to reach my vision in each of the four pillars?
Your four goals are not about what you want to avoid that is bad, but more about what you are excited to achieve. As an example in the physical pillar, try to avoid goals like “lose 30 lbs”. Rather, write goals like “run a half marathon” instead. Making your goals about where you are going, and, even more importantly who you want to become, will lead to the greatest success and intrinsic motivation you will need to actually achieve your desired results.
You may not make leaps and bounds in just one day, in fact, you will most likely fail quite a lot (which is a good thing). But consistent effort sustained over long periods of time will lead to your vision being realized.
I know you can do this because I’ve done it.
I’m excited to see what you can accomplish as you join me on this path.
What are your four goals?