Est. reading time: 9 minutes
Do you feel overwhelmed by life?
Does it feel like you have too much going on and there never seems to be enough time in the day to get things done?
Does time seem to pass by so fast that your life feels like it's on autopilot?
Is all the information that you are getting from social media, podcasts, emails, and messaging apps stressing you out?
Or perhaps you have so many ideas that you want to take action on but never get started on them because you either:
Don't know how or
Don't feel like you have the time.
I want to assure you that you are not alone. I bet you if I asked 10 random people on the street these very questions, 9 will say "yes" to at least one of them.
You and I are now living in a time that is called the Information Age.
When I was growing up as a child, the predominate sources of information that I had access to were television, radio, and books. As the world transitioned more into the digital era I was introduced to static websites, emails, and instant messaging. Still, more of my time was spent in the real world than in front an electronic screen.
Then social media and the smartphone came along and everything changed.
You and I now have access to an infinite reservoir of information straight from a handheld device that we could take everywhere. The benefit is that we could get answers to almost any question that we have in our minds in an instant!
The downside: the frequency and variety of information pumping into minds is something that our primitive brains cannot handle. This leads to mental health issues like forgetfulness, a reduced attention span, feelings of overwhelm, and overall more stress.
Today, life seems to be more complicated because there is so much vying for your attention. When I was growing up all I had to think about was school, friends, family, and my personal interests.
And if any of my interests were "digital" in any way, I could only pay attention to them when I turned on the desktop computer in the bedroom... or the TV in the living room. The barrier of access to information was tremendously high. Today, that barrier has pretty much been eliminated.
Technology has made information into a double-edged sword.
In my younger days, being bored was a real thing. If I was waiting at the doctor's office, I had no choice but to sit there and look at other people or read a magazine - if I was lucky enough to find one.
In today's world, there is no such thing as boredom because we can distract ourselves into a content universe and always keep our minds busy.
I may be harping on this point for too long. But I say all this to simply explain why it feels like our life is more complicated and overwhelming. There is nothing wrong with you. The information age is now the world that we are in and we have to adjust to it. However we do have a choice of whether we can be controlled by technology or have control over it.
Now...this is not going to be an article about how to manage your attention and stay more focused.
That is a topic for another time.
But we do have to take personal responsibility for getting organized and clear in our thinking.
If you are reading this then you are likely someone that is on a path of self-improvement. However, in this noisy, content rich world that we are living in, we have so much access to self-help/personal development knowledge that we don't know where to start.
What should I be working on right now to improve myself? Where do I begin?
What I want to do is introduce you to a framework that I use, which will put you in the direction to start thinking more simply about life. It will begin the process of having more clarity on what you need to work on to improve yourself. It's a framework that I learned from a mentor of mine and it's called Core 4
I like to breakdown my life into four very discrete areas: Mindset, Money, Relationships, and Health.
When I really think about it - everything that I do daily falls under one of these four areas. Some may argue there are more than four areas. This is very subjective but I like to keep things as simple as possible.
Few is simple, many is complicated.
How do I find define these four core areas?
Mindset has everything to do with how you think. Everything that is created in this world was first a thought in someone's mind.
The seat that you are sitting on was first a thought in the mind of the inventor. So is the digital device in front of your eyes right now.
The buildings you see were created in the mind of an architect. The tree outside was created in the mind of God.
You get the point.
Anything that is created is first created in the mind.
So in order to create the type of life that you want, you have to adopt a way of thinking that will help you produce that life. This is what mindset is all about.
There is a pattern of thought that you can adopt, which will allow you to "build" a life according to your own mental blueprint. We all must learn what these thought patterns and replicate them.
When you master mindset, you can accomplish anything in life.
I like to view money in three ways:
Making it, keeping it, and multiplying it.
Making money has everything to do with how to generate income. This could be from your job, a business, or a side hustle. Anything that you can learn and do to make more income. This usually involves trading your time for money.
Keeping money has everything to do with your personal finances. Saving, budgeting, and eliminating debt. The goal is to have more money coming into your bank account than going out of it.
Multiplying money is about using money and other people's efforts to make you more money. This is where investing in assets like stocks, real estate, businesses, and crypto, come into play. Leadership also plays a big part because it involves how to effectively work with other people to multiply the value that you bring into the world and hence multiply the income that you generate.
Money is also about understanding the micro and macro economic factors that have influence over your money. If you know how to make, keep, and multiply money, you will never be a slave to it.
You can be financially free.
To me, health is simply my nutrition and fitness.
Anything that involves optimizing my physical body to have more strength, more energy, and fight illness falls under the category of health.
Out of all the Core 4 pillars, this is the one that you and I have the most control over.
When you can master your physical health, the personal traits that you develop in the process (i.e. discipline, willpower, accountability, self-control) translate to the other Core areas.
If you are struggling with your mindset, money, health or relationships, I recommend start getting your health right. You will notice that when you progress in your health everything else will start to progress.
You only have one body during your time here on earth. Prioritize taking care of it to the best of your ability.
When people hear the word "Relationships" the first thing that usually comes to mind is love.
Dating, courtship, marriage etc.
These are certainly a part of relationships but it is way more than that. Your relationships is how you show up to other people in society.
These people are your family members, friends, coworkers, and the strangers that you meet day to day - like the cashier checking out your groceries.
Relationships is how you interact with people. How you think about them and act towards them.
Just as there are universal laws that govern physics, there are laws that govern relationships.
Those that take the time to understand these laws and principles will find that they have more friends, better influence over others, and have access to opportunities that others don't, which leads to more money.
Oh...and they have a satisfying love life ;-)
I cannot accomplish much in this world through my own individual efforts. In order to succeed on a massive scale, I have to learn how to cooperate and work with other people. Even as an introvert, there is no way I can avoid this.
And neither can you.
This is why relationships are very important.
This is how I define Core 4.
When you deconstruct your life and analyze it through the lens of Core 4, you can start to get more organization and clarity. It is through this self-analysis where you find the answers to the big questions about your life.
On a regular basis, I sit down with a notebook and pen and set 1 major goal in each of the Core 4 areas. Then I ask myself: "What do I want most with my mindset, money, health, and relationships?".
I pick ONE thing in each category.
I identify 4 goals that I want to work on and start the process of breaking those goals down into little steps.
Next, I identify the thoughts and actions that I need to employ everyday to climb each step and hit that goal. When I know EXACTLY what I need to everyday to accomplish my goals, all of a sudden I have clarity and confidence. I walk with a different type of swagger.
Confidence comes from know exactly what you want, knowing the actions that you need to take everyday to get there, and then taking the actions consistently on a daily basis, regardless of how you feel.
When you can string enough days together like this you start to build momentum and the goals that you set come faster and faster. Once you accomplish your goal, you set a new one, do the self-analysis, and repeat the process.
Life is really that simple. The work is definitely hard but we should be at peace with the fact that countless people have successfully followed this model so it is PROVEN. It's not a theory or a hypothesis.
By no means am I the epitome of success when it comes to this framework. We are all at different levels of progressions in each of these four areas.
But rest assured, I am in the trenches learning with you. I'm learning from others that are further ahead of us.
We are in this game together.
Let's play and have fun with it - I'm cheering you on!