Understanding the Seven Life Areas

by Haider on March 20, 2009 · 13 comments

in Personal Growth Map

To make the most use of the Personal Growth Map, it’s important that you have a proper understanding of each life area and what subjects go under it. But given the fact that each life area has a huge scope, this post won’t get into the details of what’s exactly included in that area. It simply gives a brief definition and explanation you can use to help you categorize your interests and activities under these life areas.

Before we look at the life areas individually, bear in mind that there is some overlap between the life areas. In most cases, which life area a subject belongs to depends on the focus you approach the subject with. For example, thinking is an Intellectual matter. Looking at how to change your thinking to change your emotions is a Psychological matter.

Spiritual

As human beings, we don’t want to simply know the What, but seek to answer the Why. We’re not content with living. We want to know what the meaning of life is. We don’t want to acquire fragments of the puzzle. We want to know what the picture is.

Attempts to understand the world and our place in it, and to form a comprehensive view of existence are spiritual endeavors. Both philosophy and theology try to explain the fundamental nature of reality and they can help us form a spiritual (i.e. big picture) understanding of the world.

The focus of spirituality is beliefs.

Examples of things that fall under this life area: religious observances, reading scripture, beliefs (about the existence of God, the meaning of life, life after death, the law of attraction, etc), ethical values, world peace, humanism, volunteer work, life philosophy.

Intellectual

Your ability to learn, your memory, the way you reason and all cognitive processes (e.g. analyzing) belong to your Intellectual life area.

In this life area we seek to refine our ability to acquire information, develop our understanding and to enrich our minds with knowledge that can serve us in life.

The focus of the intellect is knowledge.

Examples of things that fall under this life area: accelerated learning, study skills, mind-mapping, speed-reading, memory, reasoning and any reading done to acquire information that’s not directly related to making money (which is Professional) and is not done for pleasure (which is Recreational).

Psychological

Our emotions are influenced by many factors. This life area looks at these factors and how we can develop the emotions that support us in life. If fear is holding us back, we need to know how to rid ourselves of this fear (or to use it in order to move forward, rather than backward).

The focus of psychology is emotions.

Examples of things that fall under this life area are: therapy, neuro-linguistic programming (NLP), journaling, coping with guilt, fear, aging, past experiences, as well as fostering positive emotions, such as happiness, excitement, etc.

Social

The way we relate to other human beings – be they parents, siblings, spouse, children, friends, colleagues, strangers – defines our Social life. In order to foster healthy relationships, it’s important to understand what such relationships involve, and how to avoid conflicts with others.

The focus of our social life is relationships.

Examples of things that fall under this life area are: parenthood, making friends, starting conversations, public speaking, etc.

Professional

Your ability to make money is covered by your Professional life area. You might think that your job is about contributing value to others, but you can do that through volunteer work. Your professional success is determined by the reward you get for the value you provide. It’s very important that you recognize the end result you expect out of your professional endeavors. Otherwise, you won’t have food on the table or a way to pay your bills.

Handling your finances is also tied to this life area, because it determines how much money you end up having.

The focus of your professional life is money.

Examples of things that fall under this life area are: business skills, marketing, customer service, professional skills, business projects, productivity, organization, professional competence.

Recreational

Any activity you do that is intended for relaxation, refreshment and pleasure falls under this life area.

The focus of recreation is fun.

Examples of things that fall under this life area are: reading novels, watching movies, playing video games, going on holiday, stamp collecting, painting, getting a massage, sports.

Physical

Anything related to your body and its well-being falls under this life area.

The focus of your physical life is health.

Examples of things that fall under this life area are: dieting, nutrition, exercise, hygiene, body-building, stamina, strength training.

The importance of each life area, and how it relates to other life areas will be covered in future posts. Use the explanations above when trying to categorize your activities, reading list, projects, etc. to ensure that you are paying attention to every life area, without neglecting any area of your life.

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{ 3 trackbacks }

Life Areas, Categories, and Roles « Getting Better, Man
September 18, 2010 at 7:36 pm
Wanting to Plan: November « riding the dragon
November 2, 2010 at 10:17 pm
The Countdown – Day 7: A Semblance Of Balance — Personal Growth Map
December 27, 2010 at 12:21 am

{ 10 comments… read them below or add one }

1 grover @ natural bodybuilding workouts October 4, 2009 at 9:56 pm

Thanks for the interesting post. I really enjoyed reading all seven life areas and have really looked into improving my own life using these. I look forward to reading more from you in the future.

2 Haider October 5, 2009 at 3:09 am

Thanks a lot, Grover.

I hope you’ll continue to read valuable posts around here! :)

3 IgorP September 27, 2010 at 7:24 pm

Thank you for great post!

Greetings!

4 Haider September 28, 2010 at 10:55 am

Thanks for your feedback, Igor, and for retweeting this post. ;)

5 Arsh January 9, 2011 at 6:25 am

Great post. Where do our hobbies fit under?

6 Haider January 9, 2011 at 9:04 am

Thanks, Arsh. :)

Your hobbies would be Recreational, since they are done for fun.

Having said that, hobbies can easily help you overlap life areas. For example, you might join a reading club, in which case it becomes Recreational and Social (and if the books are any good, Intellectual :P ).

You can turn your love for DIY into a community project to help the less-privileged, making it a Spiritual, as well as a Recreational activity.

The possibilities for overlapping life areas (and, therefore, making life balance much easier to accomplish) are endless. :)

7 Arsh January 9, 2011 at 10:42 am

Hi Haider

Thanks for the comment. I really enjoyed your site and spent some time today sorting out some stuff.

Coming to hobbies, I have a slight issue with putting hobbies under recreational. For example, my hobbies are photography and hiking. For recreational purposes I love my PS3 gaming. So if I put photography, hiking and PS3 under same category, I will probably choose PS3 most of the time (since it’s the easiest option) rather than getting out and taking pictures or going for a hike!! Anyway, it’s just something personal to me and as long as I’m aware of the issue, I should be able to use some discipline.

8 Haider January 9, 2011 at 10:48 am

Well, Arsh, you can put “hiking” under the Physical life area, and count that as part of your exercise routine.

You can then schedule time for PS3 and time for photography, based on your energy level and the other activities that surround it.

As a suggestion, you might want to play PS3 after running some errands and go out to take some pictures when you’ve been working at home and need some fresh air.

There will always be several options of how you can advance in each life area, and it’s up to you to choose what option to go for and when.

Glad you’re enjoying the site and wish you all the best. :)

9 Arsh January 9, 2011 at 10:53 am

Thanks again. For daily recreation after work, I will probably stick to PS3 and on the weekends, I can do photography and hiking.

10 Haider January 9, 2011 at 10:54 am

Sounds like a plan! ;)

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