Living a greater life is a multifaceted pursuit, requiring a delicate balance between the various domains of our existence. In my experience, there are five fundamental categories that contribute to a fulfilling life: self, spouse, kids, family and friends, and spirituality. Prioritizing these categories in a thoughtful and intentional way is essential to achieving a life of purpose, joy, and success.
First and foremost, we must take care of ourselves. This is not a selfish act, but rather a necessary one. Neglecting our own well-being will ultimately impair our ability to serve others effectively. We must prioritize self-care through healthy habits such as eating nutritious foods, getting sufficient sleep, and exercising regularly. The analogy of putting on our own oxygen mask first on an airplane is a powerful reminder of the importance of taking care of ourselves before tending to the needs of others. Neglecting self-care can lead to what is commonly known as the “Starving Baker Syndrome,” where individuals who devote all their time and energy to helping others ultimately suffer from burnout and neglect of their own needs. Tim Elmore’s Habitudes series on leadership offers insightful guidance on this topic.
Next, we must prioritize our relationship with our spouse or significant other. This key relationship has a profound impact on our emotional well-being and is often a significant predictor of our overall happiness and success. Neglecting this relationship can lead to tension, frustration, and even more significant issues in other areas of our lives. The importance of a strong and connected partnership cannot be overstated. Gary Chapman’s “5 Love Languages” and Dr. Willard F. Harley’s “His Needs Her Needs” are invaluable resources for those seeking to strengthen their relationships.
Our relationship with our children is another crucial priority. As parents, we must be intentional about creating opportunities for quality time and positive interactions with our kids. Being present and supportive throughout their lives, whether it be attending their games or activities, helping with homework, or simply spending time together, is essential. Dr. Meg Meeker’s “Strong Fathers Strong Daughters” and “Strong Mothers Strong Sons” provide invaluable insights into building healthy and fulfilling relationships with our children.
Family and friends also play a significant role in our lives. Building and maintaining strong relationships with those closest to us enriches our lives and provides a sense of belonging and purpose. We must invest time and effort in fostering healthy relationships, whether it be through setting boundaries with toxic friendships or being intentional about spending time with those who uplift and inspire us.
Finally, spirituality provides a sense of purpose and meaning to our lives. This does not necessarily mean adhering to a particular religion, but rather finding a sense of connection to something greater than ourselves. This connection can provide context and perspective to our daily lives and guide us in making decisions that align with our values and beliefs.
Living a greater life requires a holistic approach that prioritizes self-care, healthy relationships, and a sense of purpose and meaning. By intentionally investing time and energy into these five categories, we can create a life that is more fulfilling and joyful.