There are three distinct parts to human beings’ existence: the Body, the Mind, and the Soul. You may wish to call them something different, that’s fine. For this article, I am going to show you where you currently exist on the spectrum of personal development and life balance. Please understand, there is no right or wrong level. Each level is beautiful. You’ll never exist solely in one level. As long as you live, you will fluctuate through the different levels, and that is how you will achieve balance. First, you need to determine where you are spending most of your time. Once you decide where you spend the majority of your time and energy, you will have a better understanding of why you currently feel unfulfilled.
The first level, the level we are all born into, is the level of the body. When you focus on the body, you will focus your time, energy, and money on one of these three endeavors: Eating, Conserving Energy, or Sex. Let me give you some examples of various ways you may be focusing on the body. Eating unhealthy foods, pizza, ice cream, or any other decadent meal is focusing on the body. Watching TV is a form of conserving energy as is sleep, lounging around reading, or any other sedentary activity. And of course, sex. This includes having sex, chasing the opposite sex, or watching porn for some sort of sexual release.
The body requires eating, conserving energy, and sex to be healthy and balanced. Unfortunately, more and more people are living their entire lives almost wholly in this part of the equation. How much time and energy do you devote to lounging, eating, drinking, and sleeping? How much time do you devote to socializing, chasing the opposite sex, or viewing pornography? If you find yourself spending most of your time, energy, and money on these endeavors, I guarantee you will feel empty, unhappy, and unfulfilled. Your life is not balanced; therefore, you will eventually feel uninterested and unfulfilled.
The second level of personal development is that of the mind. This level is much more difficult for people to grasp, purely because they often feel so busy and get so much respect from other people. The mind craves the solving of problems and accomplishing tasks. At first glance, these seem like great things to spend the majority of your time doing, and at first, you would be right. What happens, however, is people get stuck in the trap of accomplishing things and solving problems purely for the mind. Multi-tasking especially will make you feel like you’ve done quite a bit of work. If you are stuck mostly in the mind phase, then you will find yourself always telling people you are so busy you just can’t seem to find time to enjoy life. You’ll get stuck in the idea, “if I just accomplish a few more tasks, then everything will be great.”
The truth is the mind loves to solve problems so that it will complicate your life to the point of utter exhaustion. Your “To Do” list gets longer and longer only because the mind is complicating your life, so you have more problems to solve. You know the scenario, think of the workaholic who is always putting out fires at work, one after another. Or the woman who has to keep up with all of her kid’s schedule and her work schedule and everything in between keeping herself so busy she never takes time for herself. Or the entrepreneur who jumps from business opportunity to business opportunity, never finding that one that “works.” Spending too much time in the “Mind” phase will make you just as unhappy, unfulfilled, and stuck as spending too much time and energy on the body.
The third area of personal development is the soul. The soul wants to be beneficial to other people and make the world a better place. Again this seems like a great thing, and it is. So what’s wrong with helping people? The soul is the part that puts on charity events that helps the homeless, that volunteers, that builds businesses to help other people. The soul is a beautiful part of the human experience. All people are inherently drawn to help other people. The fact is it makes us feel good to help other people. And we should spend a good deal of time in this part of the human experience. This is the part that achieves goals that are bigger than us as individuals.
Of course, some people take it too far. We have all heard of the person who is out trying to save the world, yet has horrible self-esteem. The aesthetics of India who devote their lives to prayer for the good of the world end up mutilating their bodies and never solving any problems. Or the priests who so ignore the body they end up molesting children. Spending too much time in the soul will also leave you feeling empty and distant from other people. Your body can be ravaged by lack of nourishment, and the mind can whither from lack of use. I’ve personally worked with people who have nearly destroyed themselves on a devout spiritual path—one where they focused so much on helping the world that they ended up missing the mark completely.
The point of this article is to bring real balance to your life. You must balance the three parts that exist within you. Take care of the body; learn to enjoy physical life. Use the mind to solve problems. And use your soul to direct the mind and body to where you can make the most significant difference in the world right now.
Like everyone else, I’ve struggled with creating balance in my life. As a teenager, I was focused almost entirely on the body. Eating, sleeping, and chasing the opposite sex. In my twenties, I had a corporate career. I spent all day putting out fires. Neglecting my body and neglecting my soul. I felt empty and soulless. Sure I made great money, but I felt a gaping hole deep within me.
Like most people, I tried to fill that gaping hole with excess food and alcohol. That lead to health problems that finally caused me enough pain to wake me up. I realized I had completely neglected my soul. I tried living life without the soul and put entirely too much pressure on my body and mind.
Now I seek to balance all three. I have my own company, which helps people achieve their dreams every day. I help other people heal and develop into the people they always knew deep down inside they could be. I live a vision that is bigger than myself, and that makes all the difference.
Sometimes I catch myself working so hard that I neglect my rest; at that point, I have to take days off to recuperate to rest my body—days off to relax my mind from all of the problem-solving. And days off to let my soul soar to new possibilities helping me to look beyond my own self imposed limitations.
No one is perfect, and if you find yourself in a situation where you feel stuck, take inventory of your life and take a look at where you are spending the majority of your time and energy. Listen to those areas that you haven’t heard from for a while.
Finding balance is an ongoing project. Be sure to feel out each level daily to ensure that you remain in the harmonious and most productive state you can. You deserve the best life possible.