The Wheel of Life: How to Use This Tool to Improve Your Life
When I was attending seminars with Tony Robbins, I learned about a tool . . . a tool to measure that has helped me so much with personal growth—I mean daily advances in my mental, physical, spiritual, social, and even financial growth and achievement, that I wanted to spend some time on it so you can see what a useful tool it is. You can use the Wheel one day a week, one day a month .. . whenever you’d like to do some evaluation of your own progress in all the areas of life you feel are most important.
Let me tell you all about this life altering tool that has helped me completely revolutize my life and the lives of many others—I know it looks simple—but its continued use leads to immense personal change and growth.
What is the Wheel of Life?
The Wheel of Life was originally developed by Tibetan Buddhist Monks as a way to chart their spiritual progress on Earth. The Tibetan wheel is very different, depicting different states of mind/being in terms of pictures. Hungry ghosts symbolize living in a state of addiction—one addicted to drugs or alcohol or one never satisfied with their own lot in life.
The modern Wheel of Life (WOL, for convenience’s sake) was created and patented by Phillip J. Meyer, who founded the Success Motivation Institute.®
It’s basically just a pie chart divided into 8 pie pieces of equal size. His original wheel featured the following life area categories. What you do is assign each pie piece a possible score of 10. 10 is the highest score possible, and for this exercise, would indicate you are maximally productive and happy in that area of your life.
Meyer’s chosen life-areas are:
Another wheel you see a lot on the web has these 12 categories, which are:
You can use categories from both wheels and experiment with those. Or, you can design your own wheel. You don’t have to stick to these categories—and there are all kinds of wheel examples and tools designed by psychiatrists and psychologists to help you deal with stress, a cutting disorder, PTSD from rape, etcetera.
How to Fill in Your Wheel
Once you have chosen your categories, what you want to do is assign each life area of the chart a score between 1 (very bad) or 10 (stellar! Perfect)
What is important is you want is to assess your current state of personal fulfillment with any one category. And when you score these life categories, You want to choose very honest scores. Tell the unvarnished truth always. Because you and you alone will see the wheel, unless you want to share it with a friend or life partner. And you can use this wheel for all kinds of purposes – to help you achieve a greater sense of balance in your life or to improve specific areas of your life week by week.
Scoring Life Area Tips
Look at these life areas and ask more than just—how conent am I with that (be it work, your romantic relationship, your relationship with your Higher Power/God/Allah, etcetera). Ask several questions that help you take a deep look into all areas of that life category.
For example, under personal growth? You want to evaluate, very honestly, how much focus and importance you place on trying to grow and better yourself as an individual. You might be spending 0 time on this right now because you’re in a busy life phase. But looking at a score of 1 every time you review your wheel might motivate you to integrate more healthy self-improvement activities into your life!
In Romantic Relationship(s), take a good, hard look at what kind of an influence this person exerts in your life. Does this love make you happy? Do you see yourself with this person in 5 years? Ten? What are the strongest and weakest points of your relationship? Pick one weak area and do your best for a week to right that. All you can ever do in any one area is your absolute best. But can you do your best in 12 areas of life at the same time? Rarely does anyone do that! Nobody’s perfect and neither are our lives. They are messy, too!
How Should My Wheel Look, Score-Wise?
We all have un-productive times in our lives. You might be in a phase now where you have a lot of 2s, 3s, heck, even 1s all over your wheel. What’s interesting, though is to watch how much all scores improve when you simply focus on really improving the self, volunteering and upping the score on your contribution to humanity, or spend more time with family and friends.
The point is, the Wheel will fluctuate, as it should, and it is a good way to stay, most of all, accountable and humble within.
How Can I Use the WOL as a Tool to Improve Myself/My Life?
Trying to improve 8 to 12 areas of life is too much overwhelm—for anyone. And besides that, haven’t you found, as I have found, that with improving the self, all these things take time. Lots of time. So go slow. Pick three life areas that are either most important to you or most crucial to improve right now, for whatever reason.
Now, try to pick one or two out of the three. Spend two weeks on this area or these areas. Then, pick a goal number to reach as a marker of growth and improvement. For example, if your work life currently is a three, set a goal to get it to a four by the end of next week and a five the following week. If your romantic relationship is a 1 or a 0 even, spend two weeks being the best partner you can be and if the relationship does not improve, then take a serious look at ending that relationship. If it’s family you’re feeling some distance from, make some efforts to create more enmeshment there. Give more, ask for less. Ask what you can do to help your aging parents. You won’t believe what acts of kindness or volunteering even (contributions to society) can do to improve virtually every score in every category, hands down).
That’s because, as psychologists have found, doing things for others actually sets off positive cascades of healing and transformation in the brain and body that are vastly healthy and intensely positive.
And it’s a tool for gradual change that really works. No magic bullet. Just a simple approach to improving one’s life one slice of pie at a time.
All my best and much love to you,
Here’s to a year of improving ourselves inside and out, from our souls to the soles of our feet! (and I’ve got a book coming out where we’ll do all that and more).