Why Pick 3 When You Can Embrace All 8?

"Kick ass and do big things" by aligning your life.

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Of what use are you to your company if you are fighting ailments caused by lack of exercise, sleep, and poor nutrition? How can you thrive in your work if you do not find ways to expand your knowledge and skills? If you are unable to express your feelings appropriately, how can you develop a strong relationship with another person? We could be here all day. The point I am trying to make is that Randi Zuckerberg and Jon Crawford’s suggestion of picking 3 from the article “Work, Sleep, Family, Fitness, or Friends: Pick 3” by Jessica Stillman leaves the reader with a very short-sighted impression.

Shawn Achor, a positive psychology expert and author, found that our preconception that success leads to happiness is incorrect. Achor’s research showed that the reverse is true. Happiness leads to success. A 75 year long Harvard study found that love, not money and power, is key to a happy and fulfilling life. George Vaillant, the Harvard psychiatrist that directed the study concluded, “There are two pillars to happiness. One is love. The other is finding a way to cope with life that does not push away love.”

Have you ever played Trivial Pursuit? You win the game when you have each of the colored pie wedges in your playing piece, and you make it back to the center of the gameboard*. What can we learn from this?

  1. You can’t win the game if you’re not focused on each of the pie wedges.
  2. You definitely can’t win the game if you’re walking around with all the pieces in place but no destination in mind.

How does this apply to kicking ass and doing big things? You’re the playing piece. The wedges are your dimensions. And the center of the gameboard? That’s your best life. And to win the game, everything, including the destination – kicking ass and doing big things, has to be understood.

Let’s start with your wedges, which in this case are the 8 dimensions of wellness:

  • Physical – Recognizing the need for physical activity, healthy foods, and sleep
  • Environmental – Recognizing one’s responsibility for the Earth and the personal environment that surrounds us
  • Intellectual – Recognizing one’s creative abilities and finding ways to expand knowledge and skills
  • Spiritual – Expanding one’s sense of purpose and meaning of life
  • Occupational – Gaining personal satisfaction and enrichment from ones’s work
  • Social – Developing connections, a sense of belonging, and a strong support system
  • Emotional – Having the ability to experience, manage, and express feelings appropriately
  • Financial – Feeling satisfied with current and future financial situations

See all those action verbs ending in -ing at the beginning of each dimension’s description? That’s because they each take acknowledgment, practice and work. If one dimension isn’t looked after and cared for, it likely affects the other dimensions as well.

So how do you think about the destination when you have all these different dimensions to worry about?

First, you have to recognize that every decision you make should be guided by your intentions. An intention is a guiding principle for how you want to be, live, and show up in life. Your intentions in each dimension should reflect your own personal sentiments or values.

When you’re living in alignment with what’s important to you and your values, you feel less stressed, less overwhelmed, healthier and more full of life. Alignment relies on neither perfectionism nor perfect balance between the dimensions. It does, however, require putting effort towards dimension(s) that require your attention.

Realizing I am a whole person with 8 intricately connected dimensions, and setting an intention for each, changed my life. I no longer feel the need to stress over “work-life balance.” Every decision I make is guided by my intentions.

Important to note here: Intentions are not goals!

The difference between goals and intentions:
Goals are focused on the future.
Intentions are in the present moment.
Goals are a destination or specific achievement.
Intentions are lived each day, independent of reaching the goal or destination.
Goals are external achievements.
Intentions are internal values.

Don’t just pick three. Embrace your whole self. Constantly grow and strive for progress. Most importantly, accept that you can kick ass and do big things by aligning your life.

*Yes, I’m aware, in Trivial Pursuit, you also have to answer another question correctly once in the center to officially win the game, but that doesn’t really work with my example, now does it? 😉


Stillman, Jessica. “Work, Sleep, Family, Fitness, or Friends: Pick 3.”, 3 Feb. 2016.

Caprino, Kathy. “How Happiness Directly Impacts Your Success.”, 6 Jun. 2013.

Gregoire, Carolyn. “The 75-Year Study That Found the Secrets to a Fulfilling Life.”, 11 Aug. 2013.

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