The immediate environment in which we live can have an enormous impact on our daily lives. Is it a safe place? Are you sharing the place with people that you like or don’t like? Is the energy in the house pleasant, stressful, positive, negative, etc? At one extreme it is just shelter. At the other extreme it can be an oasis that has been designed specifically to enable you to indulge in every pleasure you can desire while also allowing you to rejuvenate and contemplate and plan your level III existence.
At one extreme health is a survival issue while at the other extreme it provides the physical and mental energy required to Excel.
At one extreme a minimum amount of income is required in order to pay for food, water, shelter, health, etc. At the other extreme a large income can be used to have an enormous impact on your own life as well as the lives of the people around you and the planet.
Humans are social animals. Although we do not need friends to survive we do need them to thrive. As a result of being social animals, humans have been hard wired to be interested in the lives of other humans. We want to know what’s going on in their lives and we want to tell them what’s going on in our lives. There is research indicating that having good friends has similar effects to having a good diet and having bad friends in a similar effects to having a bad diet.
Humans don’t need many assets. In some cases assets are just a stored form of wealth (like houses, shares, cash, etc.). In other cases assets are gadgets and devices that perform various functions in our lives. Some of these make your lives more pleasant while others make your life more productive. Some are necessary while some are not.
Sex plays two important roles in our lives. It gives us pleasure and it allows us to replicate ourselves. (Although there is an argument that this should be in level I existence for the obvious reason that survival of the human species is dependent on it, I have decided to place it into level II existence by adopting the view that sex is not required for the survival of one individual human. )
Humans are hardwired to want to love and be loved. There are different forms of love. The love of a spouse is different from the love of a parent or the love of a pet or friend.
Humans want to achieve and there are many forms of achievement. Achieving anything that involves some degree of difficulty tells us that we have the potential to be useful humans. It proves that we have the capability to do something and it makes us feel better about ourselves because we can direct this capability to helping the people that we care about – or achieving the maximum positive impact on our lives, the lives of others and the planet.
Personal development is perfectly aligned with self discovery and therefore it is on the critical path that leads to fulfilling one’s purpose in life. Clearly the person that seeks to live in a way that has the maximum positive impact on their own life, the lives of the people around them and the planet needs to allocate a significant amount of time and energy to many forms of self development. Self development is obtained through a combination of learning from experience and learning from other people, books, courses, etc.
At some point in time we all feel the need to indulge in something that allows us to express our true selves. Our view of life along with the things that we enjoy doing are all reflected in the way we express ourselves through the clothes we wear, the way we talk, our hairstyle, the music we listen to, etc. we are incomplete as humans if and when we are inhibited or repressed (or even oppressed) from being able to be who and what we really are.
Although most of us live in countries that have laws we may or may not agree with all of them and the reason is that our own individual morality and the views that arise out of our morality will never be 100% consistent with the laws of the countries we live in. Our own morality is a reflection of the principles that we personally think should be applied to ourselves, other people and the planet. They do not match our Lords perfectly because everybody’s morality is slightly different and therefore it’s not possible for laws to be perfectly aligned with everybody’s morality. However, it is our morality that is expressed through the decisions that we all make that impact other people that may or may not be subject to any laws.
Many people say that they simply want to leave the world a better place than they found it. What does this mean? It means that the net effect of their existence was a positive impact on the planet. This simple statement is an excellent starting point for all of us. Of course, this life wall component is the most important of all of the MPI life wall components and everything gets much more interesting and much more challenging when, instead of being content with having a positive impact, we decide that we want to have the maximum positive impact. We should start with the end in mind.
Spending more time in the present
We all spend far too much time in the past and the future and not enough time in the present. The reason that this is a problem is that the past and the future don’t exist. In reality, there is no past or future. All we have is a never-ending now. The present can be a very peaceful place that allows us to connect with ourselves and nature as well as rejuvenate while the past and the future are places where we worry and get anxious. The internal chatter in our minds usually wants to spend time in the past or the future, however, if our mind is running on autopilot and roaming around the past and the future we will be will be constantly be anxious and worrying. It’s critical that our minds do not run on autopilot all the time and only spend time in the past or the future if we deem it necessary for some constructive purpose such as learning from the past or planning for the future. We should not be simply allowing bad experiences from the past to run on an endless loop or allowing projected negative future experiences to do the same with no constructive purpose.
As we discussed above, happiness fades when humans adapt to their circumstances so this creates a need to do something to receive more happiness. Part of this process involves working on achieving something or getting something and convincing ourselves that life is not as good as it will be when we get it. Although this may be true it is relative. If we take a moment to think the same way in reverse we can trigger the opposite reaction. Instead of comparing our lives now to what it will be like in the future after we achieve something or get something (meaning that our circumstances are better) we can also practice the art of being grateful which involves comparing our lives now to what it could be like if our circumstances were much worse.
This is a state of being where we are 100% immersed in something that is very meaningful to us. It almost always involves doing something that we enjoy so much that we have trouble putting it into words. When we are in a state of flow we are unaware of anything else including time itself. After all of the research I have done for this book I’m not aware of any higher state of consciousness (assuming it is conscious) that can be achieved by a human. We should all be seeking as much flow as we can possibly get.
Humans need to balance physical and mental action with physical and mental stillness. Stillness plays a critical role in rejuvenation and it often creates an enormous amount of happiness simply as a result of indulging in it.
We have been made by nature for nature. Therefore, you cannot be surprised to learn that humans have a positive physical and mental reaction when they are exposed to nature. The MPI philosophy and the iimagine project have been totally designed and based on nature. The more you indulge in nature the better. The more you are aligned with nature the better. The more nature there is in your life the better. The more time you spend understanding nature the better.
Many of us need to be reminded that fun is not illegal. We all have different ideas of what fun is for us. Some of us want to climb mountains and run marathons while others want to throw a frisbee on a beach. We all like laughing. It’s healthy.
Sense of purpose
We talked about the purpose of life earlier in this chapter however it is not enough to simply have an intellectual grasp of what it is. It’s critical to actually have a “sense of purpose” meaning that you feel like you are important to somebody or a group of people or that somehow your life matters. One of the objectives of this book is to help you understand what you need to do to make your life matter. The more your life matters to other people the more it matters to you.
As discussed earlier, it is important to note that the life wall is not presented as a hierarchy or a pyramid. A hierarchy implies that a person must reach one level before being able to move on to the next. The life wall example above shows how a person can be doing very well in some components relating to a level III components while having deficiencies in the level II components.
The concept of the life wall and it’s MPI components is not being presented as an absolute and 100% accurate representation of reality. It is presented as a reasonable starting point that is subject to improvement and refinement by the iimagine project and its members. Everything in the iimagine project will be subject to improvement and refinement (there will be more information about this later in the book). This is one of many times throughout this book where I remind you that the objective of the iimagine project is to have the biggest positive impact on the planet and it will achieve it by helping its members to have the biggest positive impact on the planet and on themselves. This means that it will adapt and self regulate and crowd source its way toward the best theories, concepts, views and tools required to achieve this goal.
Next article in this series: The Science Of Happiness & The MPI Philosophy