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The Areas of Life™ – The Extended Areas

This post is an extension of the last post The Areas of Life™ – The Core Areas, and today we will explore the extended areas of life. These are The Areas of Life™ which surround the core areas as indicated by The Achievement Model™. Within these areas you will be able to see the results and external “proof” of your internal growth, as you develop your core areas. Let’s begin by looking at one of the extended areas which results are most externally evident in, and that is the material.

Below is an image of The Achievement Model™, the areas shaded blue are the extended areas of life. You may click the image for a larger size.

The Achievement Model™ - The Extended Areas

Material
The material area of life is usually easy for yourself, and others, to see. It is the area of cars, houses, jewelry, etc… among other resources. What I hope you will take away from this piece of this post is the importance of material wealth and why it really is important. Material wealth can position you differently in the world, having an effect on your social class and your bargaining position to interact with others in life.

Wikipedia contributors, “Material Wealth,” Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Material_wealth (accessed June 1, 2009) describes material wealth as:

Wealth is an abundance of valuable material possessions or resources. The word is derived from the old English wela, which is from an Indo-European word stem. [1] An individual, community, region or country that has an abundance of such possessions or resources is called wealthy.

The concept of wealth is of great importance in economics, especially development economics, yet the definition of wealth is not straightforward and there is no universally agreed-upon definition. Different definitions and concepts of wealth have been put forth by different authors and in different contexts.[2] The choice of a definition of wealth can be normative and have ethical implications, since wealth maximization is often seen as a goal or put forth as a normative principle of its own.

…and further down the page is:

‘Wealth’ refers to some accumulation of resources, whether abundant or not. ‘Richness’ refers to an abundance of such resources. A wealthy (or rich) individual, community, or nation thus has more resources than a poor one. Richness can also refer to at least basic needs being met with abundance widely shared. The opposite of wealth is destitution. The opposite of richness is poverty.

A key word in the first description is “valuable”. It stated “Wealth is an abundance of valuable material possessions or resources“. Another key in this sentence is “possessions or resources”. In other words, you do not necessarily need to own the possessions of value yourself, you simply need to have access to them. It is important to understand that distinction, for many people believe it is only what they have direct title to that makes them wealthy. For example, let’s say you live in an area where the wind currents are very strong, and you own a windmill which can generate electricity for you. While you don’t own the wind, you do have direct access to it because of where you live and the possession of a windmill which allows you to take advantage of this natural occurring resource. This is certainly food for thought, and I hope it inspires you to think “outside the box” about the resources which are available to you in this very moment.

So in the last part of the above description, it explains that “‘Wealth’ refers to some accumulation of resources” – how much you have of the resource describes your richness of it. But what is the true purpose of material wealth? Is it to compare with your neighbor who has the biggest or best toy? *chuckle* Sometimes when you look around within the world it may seem that way, but this is not the true purpose of material wealth, at least not for achievement in life. True wealth provides two of the greatest assets in the world, power and freedom.

Wikipedia contributors, “Power_(philosophy),” Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Power_(philosophy) (accessed June 1, 2009) gives us insight on power below:

Power is a measure of an entity’s ability to control the environment around itself, including the behavior of other entities. The term authority is often used for power, perceived as legitimate by the social structure. Power can be seen as evil or unjust, but the exercise of power is accepted as endemic to humans as social beings.

The use of power need not involve coercion (force or the threat of force). At one extreme, it more closely resembles what everyday English-speakers call “influence”, although some authors make a distinction between power and influence – the means by which power is used (Handy, C. 1993 Understanding Organisations).

As you can see, power can allow you to create life in the manner which you desire (this is commonly referred to as Personal Power). The ability to influence the environment around you is the power you have to change, or create, the life you desire. Material wealth can provide additional resources to help you to achieve the reality you wish to live.

The other major benefit of personal wealth is freedom – freedom to have the access to more choices for your time, occupation, and personal decisions in any moment. Material wealth and richness, can allow you to do whatever you desire with your days on earth, and to break free from the material wealth of others which may control, or limit, your decisions and time.

Financial
As we just reviewed the material area of life, I think it’s appropriate that we now look at the financial extended area of life. This area involves money, credit, debt and investments among others.

Wikipedia contributors, “Financial,” Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Financial (accessed June 1, 2009) defined financial as follows:

The field of finance refers to the concepts of time, money and risk and how they are interrelated. Banks are the main facilitators of funding through the provision of credit, although private equity, mutual funds, hedge funds, and other organizations have become important. Financial assets, known as investments, are financially managed with careful attention to financial risk management to control financial risk. Financial instruments allow many forms of securitized assets to be traded on securities exchanges such as stock exchanges, including debt such as bonds as well as equity in publicly-traded corporations.

…and further down the page talks about the aspects of personal finance…

Questions in personal finance revolve around

  • How much money will be needed by an individual (or by a family), and when?
  • Where will this money come from, and how?
  • How can people protect themselves against unforeseen personal events, as well as those in the external economy?
  • How can family assets best be transferred across generations (bequests and inheritance)?
  • How does tax policy (tax subsidies or penalties) affect personal financial decisions?
  • How does credit affect an individual’s financial standing?
  • How can one plan for a secure financial future in an environment of economic instability?

Personal financial decisions may involve paying for education, financing durable goods such as real estate and cars, buying insurance, e.g. health and property insurance, investing and saving for retirement.

Personal financial decisions may also involve paying for a loan, or debt obligations.

The above certainly asks some very important financial questions so that you can manage your finances better than the public as a whole. To be more specific about personal finance, and what’s involved, let’s look at how Wikipedia.org defines personal finance.

Wikipedia contributors, “Personal Finance,” Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Personal_finance (accessed June 1, 2009):

Personal finance is the application of the principles of finance to the monetary decisions of an individual or family unit. It addresses the ways in which individuals or families obtain, budget, save, and spend monetary resources over time, taking into account various financial risks and future life events. Components of personal finance might include checking and savings accounts, credit cards and consumer loans, investments in the stock market, retirement plans, social security benefits, insurance policies, and income tax management.

That’s quite a list, no wonder finances can be so confusing. There is a lot to think about when it comes to personal finance – and it’s easy to define how well you are doing – either you have money (in one form or another), or you don’t. What most people don’t realize is that money is a means to barter for goods and services you obtain in life…money isn’t actually “real”, the only value it has is what people give it (as anything else in life). Nonetheless, we will explore how to get more of the green stuff and make life that much easier in future posts :)

Occupational
The area of the occupational is quite interesting, for it depends on your intention within your work as to how it is defined. Wikipedia contributors, “Occupational,” Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Occupation (accessed June 1, 2009), lists the following as occupations:

  • Employment, a person’s job or work in service of an employer
  • Profession, an occupation requiring specialized knowledge
  • Vocation, an occupation pursued more for altruistic benefit rather than for income
  • Career, a person’s occupational history
  • Day job, an occupation solely for income, while pursuing another preferred career track

From the above you can see that depending on your intention, whether you work at a job only to make money (day job / employment), work at something because you believe it is for the greater good/doing the right thing (vocation), perhaps you work to help others with specialized knowledge which you have acquired (profession), or maybe you work your way up the ladder in a company (career), you have a choice as to how you spend your day serving others. I know some people struggle with choosing what to do for their occupation or they can’t figure out how they want to serve others, and which path to take. We will explore different strategies you can use to determine this within later posts.

Social
This area deals with friends, associates and the general public. As stated above, money isn’t real – the value that society places on an object is what provides it’s true power. The collective voice of social groups are truly powerful, and these groups can change the world faster than most individuals can on their own. Let’s look at a definition for social.

Wikipedia contributors, “Social,” Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Social (accessed June 1, 2009) defines social as:

Social refers to a characteristic of living organisms (humans in particular, though biologists also apply the term to populations of animals and insects). It always refers to the interaction of organisms with other organisms and to their collective co-existence, irrespective of whether they are aware of it or not, and irrespective of whether the interaction is voluntary or involuntary.

Interacting with people is a fact of life – one that school does not usually prepare us for. Unfortunately, we are not taught influencing skills in high school, nor how to communicate effectively in many various social situations. People are without a doubt, a way for you to achieve anything faster, for most times it’s who you know – or who they know. The advancement of technology helps with our ability to communicate with almost anyone at anytime – as the Internet has opened a whole new world of possibilities. With the social networking sites of today, blogs, forums, email, text, etc… we are now able to communicate with people we didn’t know two minutes ago through many means, and that is an advantage for you. Now you can share ideas, get opinions and feedback, and even conduct business in seconds with someone in any country around the world. For now, we’ll leave the area of social with the understanding that the demand for people skills is definitely growing, especially with the advancing technology and the expanding global village of today.

Recreational
Most people confuse this area of life with the area of renewal. Let’s begin with the definition and we will look at the real meaning of recreational.

Wikipedia contributors, “Recreational,” Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Recreational (accessed June 1, 2009) defines recreational as:

Recreation or fun is the expenditure of time in a manner designed for therapeutic refreshment of one’s body or mind. While leisure is more likely a form of entertainment or sleep, recreation is active for the participant but in a refreshing and diverting manner. As people in the world’s wealthier regions lead increasingly sedentary life styles, the need for recreation has increased. The rise of so called active vacations exemplifies this.

For a lot of people, they use television as what they think is recreation, but as the above states, “…recreation is active for the participant but in a refreshing and diverting manner.” While TV does divert you, and sometimes it can be refreshing, I’ve yet to see a TV program where you are an active participant…maybe if the TV was powered by a treadmill…hmmm :)

A recreational activity would include things like playing a sport, going for a walk, or going sailing, etc…. First of all you need to enjoy it, second you need to be an active participant, and third it must be refreshing for the mind or body. What recreational activity could you do that meets these criteria?

Familial
In the area of family, there are many shapes, sizes, and looks of today’s family, but I believe the following definition does a good job.

Wikipedia contributors, “Familial,” Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Familial (accessed June 1, 2009) defines familial as:

Family denotes a group of people or animals (many species form the equivalent of a human family wherein the adults care for the young) affiliated by a consanguinity, affinity or co-residence. Although the concept of consanguinity originally referred to relations by “blood,” anthropologists have argued that one must understand the idea of “blood” metaphorically, and that many societies understand ‘family’ through other concepts rather than through genetic distance.

One of the primary functions of the family is to produce and reproduce persons, biologically and socially.[1][2] Thus, one’s experience of one’s family shifts over time. From the perspective of children, the family is a family of orientation: the family serves to locate children socially, and plays a major role in their enculturation and socialization. From the point of view of the parent(s), the family is a family of procreation the goal of which is to produce and enculturate and socialize children.[3] However, producing children is not the only function of the family; in societies with a sexual division of labor, marriage, and the resulting relationship between two people, is necessary for the formation of an economically productive household.[4][5][6]

This definition speaks of what a family is, and one of its’ primary functions. Although not all families want or have children, it is an important aspect which I’d like to cover. We as parents have a responsibility, not only to our children, but to society and the future generations to raise our children with outstanding character, values, ethics and education. We cannot rely on the educational facilities of our government to provide the best for our children, we need to take responsibility for educating them properly ourselves. I’m not saying that you need to teach your children all on your own, but if you’re not teaching your children character, values, and ethics then who is? This topic will most definitely show up in this blog, and will be explored in greater detail in the future.

Sexual
The sexual area of life has definitely changed over the past 50 years – but before we get into it, let’s examine the meaning of human sexuality.

Wikipedia contributors, “Human Sexuality,” Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Human_sexuality (accessed June 1, 2009) defines human sexuality as:

Human sexuality is how people experience and express themselves as sexual beings.[1] Human sexuality has many aspects. Biologically, sexuality refers to the reproductive mechanism as well as the basic biological drive that exists in all species and can encompass sexual intercourse and sexual contact in all its forms. There are also emotional or physical aspect of sexuality, which refers to the bond that exists between individuals, which may be expressed through profound feelings or emotions, and which may be manifested in physical or medical concerns about the physiological or even psychological aspects of sexual behaviour. Sociologically, it can cover the cultural, political, and legal aspects; and philosophically, it can span the moral, ethical, theological, spiritual or religious aspects.

Recent studies on human sexuality have highlighted that sexual aspects are of major importance in building up personal identity and to social evolution of individuals:

“Human sexuality is not simply imposed by instinct or stereotypical conducts, as it happens in animals, but it is influenced both by superior mental activity and by social, cultural, educational and normative characteristics of those places where the subjects grow up and their personality develops. Consequently, the analysis of sexual sphere must be based on the convergence of several lines of development such as affectivity, emotions and relations”.[2]

Sex has become an open recreational activity among many people, young and old, in society. While choosing to engage in recreational sex is a personal decision, there is an ethical and social responsibility for the prevention of, and the spread of, sexually transmitted diseases (STD). Not only is this an important precaution for the persons involved, but also for any future partners, to prevent the spread of illness and deadly STDs.

I’d also like to note the importance of educating our children (even though you may feel uncomfortable discussing sex with your child/children) before they are educated by their peers (and learn incorrect information, values, ethics and beliefs about sexual activity). Through the proper education of your children, you will be able to help prevent pre-mature sexual activity with their peers, and provide them with a level of self-confidence and esteem, so they are not found in a situation that they are not appropriately aware of. If you’re unsure of when to have the talk with your child/children, remember this: it is always better to be too early rather than too late.

Renewal
Appropriately, after this long post, we will talk about the area of renewal. While this area is somewhat self-explanatory, let’s review a definition of it’s meaning.

Wictionary, “Renewal,” Wictionary: A Wiki-Based Open Content Dictionary, http://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/renew (accessed June 1, 2009) defines renewal as:

To make new again; to restore to freshness, perfection, or vigor; to give new life to; to rejuvenate; to reestablish; to recreate; to rebuild.

While sleep certainly falls into this category, time for yourself, relaxation, frequent vacations, and nutrition can also be found as core components to achieve renewal.

Renewal should be a regular part of your routine or schedule, and like all other parts of The Areas of Life™, it should be balanced so it is not compromised for another area.

And now I leave you to find an activity of renewal so that you are refreshed and ready for the next post – until then :)


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