It is not easy to step back and assess your own life accurately as a whole, but nevertheless it is valuable to do so for two reasons.
First, you may identify critical factors that are obstructing your evolution. If there happens to be one important factor that is much weaker than the others, you can work to improve it—and improving your weakest factor may be the most important single task in improving the overall quality of your life.
Second, you may identify an important natural talent or aptitude that you can work to develop into a valuable strength. Becoming excellent at one skill is usually critical in achieving overall success in life. It’s difficult to feel really good about your life if you haven’t mastered something.
There’s nothing wrong with asking a good friend to help with this assessment.
It may be helpful to repeat this assessment yearly.
Here’s an analogy that may help. Imagine a six-sided lantern. On each of the six sides there is a pane of glass with a different color: one is red, another is orange, another is yellow, another is green, another is blue, and another is violet. The lantern has shutters so that light comes out through only one pane of glass at a time. As you use it to illuminate some object while turning the lantern, you are looking sequentially at the same object but with different colored lights.
It’s like that with the following six factors: you are looking at the same object [your life] but from six different perspectives.
The following factors are not necessarily listed in order of importance. Though none is thoroughly described, just use your best understanding and be honest.
Don’t worry about whether or not you think a given factor is within your control.
Think in terms of your usual habits. In each case, give yourself a ranking from 1 to 10, with 1 being the lowest possible score and 10 being the highest possible score.
Rank yourself against the set of all North American adults your age.
I use the word ‘spiritual’ in its original sense. The English word comes from the Latin word ‘spiritus’ that was used to refer to the breath or to wind. So, a spiritual practice is a breathing practice such as meditation. Although not all spiritual practices are religious practices, absolute prayer is a breathing practice; however, absolute prayer is a very uncommon kind of prayer.
If you have no daily breathing practice, give yourself a ‘1’. If you have a short daily practice, give yourself a ’2’ or a ‘3’. If you spend an hour or two a day doing a spiritual practice, you may be a ‘5’ or higher. A saint or a buddha, in other words, someone who is a master of a spiritual practice, would be a 10.
Do you challenge yourself daily to do better spiritually?
Incidentally, notice that the scoring for these categories is not on a standard bell-curve distribution. The mean score is not ‘5’. Please score yourself in accordance with the descriptions given.
If you are unable to exercise physically or you are simply a fat, weak couch potato who never engages in physical activity even though you could, give yourself a ‘1’. If you do either regular strength training or cardiovascular exercise for a combined total of 3 times weekly, give yourself a ‘3’. If you do serious strength training twice a week and at least mild cardio at least three times a week, give yourself a ‘6’. If you do serious strength training twice a week, intense cardio twice a week, and mild cardio at least twice a week, give yourself an ‘8’. If you are a well-conditioned professional athlete or Navy SEAL or master trainer who trains for hours daily, give yourself a ’10’.
Do you follow a sound nutritional program? For example, do you drink plenty of clean water? Do you eat five or six smaller meals during your waking hours? Does each meal have sufficient proteins from natural sources? Do you get most of your carbohydrates from (preferably organic) vegetables? Is your potassium/sodium ratio at least better than 4 to 1? Do you ingest several times more grams of omega-3 fats than omega-6 fats daily?
Are you getting sufficient sleep and sleeping well?
Do you challenge yourself daily to do better physically?
This factor is the time and intensity you regularly put in to improve your intellectual understanding. Someone in a graduate or professional school (such as in medical school) would be a ‘10’. An undergraduate might be a ‘6’ (or higher). If you are not in school and nevertheless read serious literature in some field for about an hour daily, you might be a ’5’. Attending courses or seminars or conventions regularly would also count, as would having challenging and serious discussions with others. If you read only advertisements or comic books, you are a ‘1’. If you never get past mysteries or romance novels, but at least read them regularly, you are a ‘3’.
Do you challenge yourself daily to improve your understanding?
I am using the word ‘moral’ to refer to your relationships with other people. If you are always an egocentric taker, you are a ‘1’. If you are always a selfless giver, you are a ‘10’. Probably you are somewhere in the middle.
Do you challenge yourself daily to be a more giving person?
If you are highly emotional, addicted to your emotions, you are a ‘1’. If you are always tranquil and constantly serene, blissfully beyond the ups and downs of the usual emotional roller-coaster, you are a ‘10’. The average adult is about a ‘3’.
Do you challenge yourself daily to get off the emotional roller-coaster?
This is the easiest factor to measure. If you are wealthy, then you have sufficient financial independence never to have to do anything ever again to generate income and you are a ‘10’. If you are in debt and must constantly worry about money and work to generate income, you are a ‘1’. If you are not in financial debt and have some savings, you are a ‘3’. If you have sufficient wealth so that you could live for the next decade without having to worry about money, you are a ‘5’.
If you want greater wealth (if only to give it away to those who are needy), do you challenge yourself regularly to attract more wealth?
(1) The problem that you most wish to consult about falls primarily in which of those six categories?
(2) Why do you think that’s the most important factor for you to get properly resolved?
Important takeaway: If you do consult with me, our time together will be more effective and efficient if you share your six scores with me as well as your answers to the two questions in Part II prior to the consultation. (‘Effectiveness’ refers to doing the most important tasks to get you closer to your goals, whereas ‘efficiency’ refers to performing tasks as economically as possible. Effectiveness is much more important than efficiency.)
Whether or not you consult with me, using this Self Assessment to examine your life can help you plan how to improve. According to Benjamin Franklin, if you are not planning to succeed, you are planning to fail.
An important aspect of your life is how you learn. If you haven’t yet looked at it, please go to the “Learning Style” page, which is listed in the drop-down menu under the “Resources” tab at the top of the page.