At the risk of oversimplifying, it strikes me that we can assess how well we’re living life, and, in turn, develop a plan for its improvement by scoring ourselves on just four factors: health, work, relationships, and creative outlet.
Of course, each of us will weight those four factors differently, so let’s start by giving you 100 points. How would you allocate them?
I’d give health 35—Without it, nothing is possible.
I’d also give work 35—For me, productivity, being helpful, is huge.
Relationships 10. I know that violates the societal norm but for me, my relationships have caused me much pain as well as pleasure and I’m not convinced that prioritizing them additionally is the best use of my time.
That leaves 20 for creative outlet, and that feels about right.
Okay, your turn. How would you allocate 100 points?
Creative outlet ___
Now, let’s turn to scoring ourselves on those four factors.
At its best, you have no health worries now and for the foreseeable future. You have no diseases, your weight is good, you eat and exercise reasonably, and have neither a mental health nor a substance abuse problem.
Out of the 35 points, I’d score myself 28. I could lose 20 pounds and at nearly 64, I’m starting to see signs of aging creeping in. I really want to lose those 20 pounds. Of course, I’ve said that forever, including in the Psychology Today article I wrote on the subject.
How about you? Out of the number of points you’ve allocated to health, how many points does your health deserve? What keeps it from scoring the maximum? Does that suggest anything you want to do differently regarding your health?
At its best, your work incorporates
You feel you’re contributing significantly to society or a subset thereof.
You enjoy your work environment: the co-workers, the setting, the commute, etc.
You’re not worried about being laid off.
You make a reasonable living.
Out of the 35 points I’ve allocated to work, I’d score myself 30. Why not 35? There are causes–for example, championing high-IQ kids—that I wish I could more incorporate into my worklife but I feel it wouldn’t yield sufficient benefit. It’s out-of step with the era’s zeitgeist and I view that as too immutable, at least for the foreseeable future.
Okay, your turn. Out of the number of points you’ve allocated to work, how many points does your current work life deserve? What keeps it from scoring the maximum? Does that suggest anything you want to do differently regarding your worklife?
This subsumes romantic relationships, familial ones, and platonic friends.
Out of the 10 points, I allocated to relationships, I score myself a 6. I love my wife and have been with her for 41 years now but wish she were kinder to me. My relationship with my daughter is long estranged, permanently so in my judgment. My wonderful dad died a few years ago but I continue to have a good relationship with my mom. Alas, she’s near the end of her life. I have two very close friends and feel fortunate to have them. And, I don’t know if this counts but I have a fabulous relationship with my doggie, Einstein. Anything I want to try to improve? I’ll continue to try to deepen the relationship with my wife.
Okay, your turn. Out of the number of points you’ve allocated to relationships, how many points do your relationships deserve? What keeps it from scoring the maximum? Does that suggest anything you want to do differently regarding your relationships?
Examples: workworking, playing or coaching sports, acting, writing, painting, gardening. Out of the 20 points I allocated to creative outlet, I’d score myself a 20. I write a lot, direct plays, garden, and play the piano. Perfect.
Okay, your turn. Out of the number of points you’ve allocated to creative outlet, how many points should you give it? What keeps it from scoring he maximum? Does that suggest anything you want to do differently regarding your creative outlets?
Dear reader, in a number of my articles including this one, I choose to keep things simple even at the risk of being simplistic. I feel that many of our lives are pretty overwhelming and it’s wiser to err on the side of simplicity. But what do you think: Am I omitting some important factor?
Dr. Nemko was named “The Bay Area’s Best Career Coach,” by the San Francisco Bay Guardian and he enjoys a 96 percent client-satisfaction rate. In addition to the articles here on PsychologyToday.com, many more of his writings are archived on http://www.martynemko.com. Of his seven books, the most relevant to readers of this blog is How to Do Life: What They Didn’t Teach You in School. His bio is on Wikipedia.