“The superior man is one is he who develops, in harmonious proportions, his moral, intellectual and physical nature. This should be the end of which men of all classes should aim, and it is this only which constitutes real greatness.”
“Wanted, a man who is symmetrical, and not one-sided in his development, who has not sent all the energies of his being into one narrow speciality and allowed all the other branches of his life to wither and die.”
Orison Swett Marden, Pushing to the front, 1911
In the speed of modern life, things can get out of whack very quickly. We’ve all seen men that put all their faith in developing just one element of their life. They become gym junkies thinking that this will lead to their happiness, they hide away and meditate forever removing themselves from society and thinking that will be their saviour, they become mental giants, studying and learning and being the smartest person in the room or they become social animals always out and about.
This one-dimensional focus often leads to a hyper-competitiveness at being the best in those areas. But competing for what reason? To what end goal?
All of us has spent certain periods investing heavily in one element to the detriment of others. And that is OK. This is how we grow naturally but a well-rounded man does not let this prevail. He knows the true cost. Eventually, the lack of balance makes us start to feel ‘empty’ like ‘something is missing’ and that things are out of balance. In these times we are often more ‘reactive’, short-tempered, emotionally up and down like a yo-yo, and disconnected from those around us.
We’ve simply put all our eggs in one basket for too long.
Too much time in one part of our lives and the other parts suffer. This is where the importance of being rounded in our development is so important. Being well-rounded doesn’t just mean balance (of time spent). It means that you’re continuing to develop in equal parts your physical, spiritual, mental and social skills. The greater our fitness in all elements the greater our internal system works.
Ask yourself, would your spiritual self want you to not develop the mental, physical and social self? No. It’d want roundedness. Balance. Harmony. That is because each of the elements – physical, mental, social and spiritual – is integrated. They work together like a team of horses pulling a carriage. If any one horse is under-performing the whole team suffers. If they are all ‘fit and healthy’ then the whole carriage runs faster for longer with less effort.
Imagine for a second that for 3 months you felt spiritually connected, physically fit, socially valued and mentally sharp. How much better would you feel? Now, what if you were like that for 10 years? What could you achieve from a legacy perspective in that time?
An important foundation for creating the time and space to work on the different elements is to build a discipline in your life around your key ‘rocks’ by locking in time in your schedule for all four of them. And when you ‘rock your life’ – and you give each of these elements quality time – then they link with one another – and all elements benefit; “I sleep better, I eat more healthily, I am less stressed, I react less.”
Being well-rounded is not an end goal. It is a way of life. It is the path of the universal man and at the heart of know thyself, grow thyself and brotherhood. Those that never stop learning and investing in each of the elements will find that life has a purpose, clarity and energy that drives deep happiness, rewarding careers and the closest of relationships.
A few final tips on how:
Prioritise these right now. Today or sometime in the next couple of days look at your weekly diary through the lens of our four core foci; mental, social, spiritual and physical. Deliberately choose to give each of them some quality time either daily or at the very minimum over the course of the week. And remember as we say so often – do it YOUR way! You march to only one drum, “to be the best ME I can be!”
Grego and Pricey