Nov. 12, 2021

#2: The 5 Pillars Of Life

In the second episode, I share a concept called the 5 Pillars of Life. It’s an idea I learned on my journey to India, one that’s helped me when life has gotten unstable.

In the second episode, I share a concept called the 5 Pillars of Life. It’s an idea I learned on my journey to India, one that’s helped me when life has gotten unstable.

I go through the five pillars—the five most important areas of your life that require attention in order to maintain balance.  I demonstrate how to:

  • segment problems with these categories to deal with issues more easily
  • recall the tool whenever you’re facing a breakdown
  • increase stability in your life by regularly nurturing each pillar

In order to make the topic practical, you’ll do an on-the-spot assessment of your life overall to see which of your pillars is standing strong, wobbling, or crumbling.

Finally, I share a personal story about my Indian guru and the answer he gave me when I asked him why my business was failing. His answer is absolutely not what you would expect—and provides a powerful insight for getting the right advice.

By the way, if you haven’t done so already, be sure to subscribe to the podcast on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts so you can be sure you get each weekly show.

Enjoy the episode (and don’t forget to feed your tigers!).




If you’re interested to use the MNTEST as a tool to help others identify their Natures and become more aligned, join our course to become a Certified MN Professional (ICF Accredited worth 35 CCEs) 



Some time in the future

Hi, welcome to Life Home Depot. Can I help you? 

Yes, I'm looking to build some structure in my life.

Well, you’ve come to the right, place. This is Life Home Depot—your one-stop shop for do-it-yourself life improvement. So what are you specifically looking for? 

Actually, I feel like the walls of my life are crumbling. I've been facing all sorts of shocks to my system. And... 

Oh, yes, you've got life quakes. l
Life quakes?

Those seismic waves caused by the chaos of life that shake you to the core, kind of like earthquakes. But you know, I've quakes I've had of myself. I see. I have just the thing for you. Let me check my system. Let's see.

Here it is. Maslow's hierarchy of needs. A time-tested theory in the pyramid structure, guaranteed to give you a solid foundation?

Um, well, yeah, I googled that. But frankly, I find that model a bit esoteric, and I'm not a big fan of pyramids.

I know what you mean. Yes. You're so right. And pyramids are totally out this year.

I was looking for something a bit more. Practical. actionable.

Okay. Let me check again.

Life quakes, minus Maslow, plus practical. Oh, yes, here is something—it just came in last week. The Five Pillars.

The five pillars? 

Yes. It says here. The five pillars is an ancient practical model that is ideal for handling all sorts of life quakes. It helps you quickly compartmentalize issues so you can prioritize them and address them, strengthens your resiliency, and requires minimal configuration and energy to implement. 

Oh, that sounds perfect. 

Yes, it does. 

Great. I'll take it. 

Wonderful. Will there be anything else? Yeah, I heard about this tool called the menu of life, which helps you feed all your Tigers effectively? 

Yes, of course. But that's not due out till Episode 22. Shall I send you an email when it airs? 

Oh, I'd really appreciate that. 

You got it. Well, here are the five pillars of life. 

Thank you. 

Thank you for visiting Life Home Depot. 

Oh, and by the way, does this include implementation instructions? 

Of course, you're coming up right after this.

This is the Feed Your Tigers podcast, a place where we explore the wilds of your inner world. On this journey, you'll come face to face with the power of your innate potential and discover ways of aligning your energy so you thrive.

I'm your host, Steven Rudolph. And I welcome you on this adventure as we endeavor to Feed Your Tigers before they eat you.

Welcome back to the present. I hope you enjoyed the intro and that I didn't lose you with a bit of fun. I was just feeding my Tigers a bit, my entertaining, educative and intrapersonal tigers.

In this episode, I'm going to introduce you to a concept I called the five pillars. The five pillars of life.

It's a concept I learned and built on wall on my decades-long journey to India, an idea that's been valuable to me in bringing me stability and clarity, especially when things get out of order in my life. And the good news is that we've already covered one of the pillars in our first episode, so you're 20% of the way there already. Okay. The five pillars model is a concept that identifies five areas of life that are essential to nurture in order to lead a balanced life. I'm going to discuss each of the five areas. And then by the end of the episode, I'm going to ask you to do a little assessment of yourself to see how long you've been nurturing all five of these areas and to see if there are any areas in specific that you might want to focus on to bring more balance to your life.

In the introduction to this episode, that science fiction sketch, the customer was sharing how he felt as though the walls of his life were crumbling. And the salesperson attributed that phenomenon to life quakes, that is shocks to our system brought on by the chaos of life, I imagine that you would have felt like that at times that the ground you're standing on is shifting, you believe something to be true. For instance, you have a steady job. And when you go to work that the job will be there tomorrow. And suddenly, that's no longer true. COVID certainly pulled the rug out from under many people's feet. Then add to that other types of instability, in relationships or with money, they can all add up.

So the five pillars is a model that I adapted from an ancient Indian model called Purusarth. It's a Sanskrit term that means the objects of human pursuit, the things that are most worth pursuing in life.

Now, this model calls them the objects of pursuit, but I call them pillars because each one of these provides a type of structure in life. And in my own life, I feel as though I construct my life as I work on it. So the symbol or image of a pillar to me just seems much more meaningful and memorable than an abstract term-object or object of pursuit. I'm sure the ancient seers will extend some creative license to me as I haven't compromised the essence of the Purusarth model. Don't worry, Steven, we approve.

Thanks. So instead of the four objects of pursuit, we have the five pillars of life. And these are the pillars. I list them out. And then I'll describe each one in detail.

Pillar one, alignment, is what is called Dharam in Sanskrit.

Pillar two, finance, what is called Artha. 

Pillar three, enjoyment, which is Kama, 

Pillar four, spirituality, which is called Moksha. 

And pillar five community, which is called Satsang. 

Pillar one - alignment.

 In our first episode, we talked about this, you'll recall I narrated the story of our Juna, the warrior who didn't want to fight in the battle for the kingdom. He didn't want to kill his relatives and friends. He just wanted to flee the battlefield to run off and become a renunciate. And Krishna, his charioteer told him that running away from this situation was futile, that he couldn't escape his nature, his prakriti as a warrior, and that the solution to the problem was to act in alignment with his nature for the sake of good to stay in fight.

So herein there are two dimensions to datum alignment, two aspects of being in alignment. The first is to be in alignment with your nature. And the second is to be in alignment with your values. So let's see how this relates to you. Let's talk about being in alignment with your nature. You have your natural abilities, your talents, or tigers, as I like to call them. And when you're engaged in work, there are certain Tigers that are required in order for work to be done effectively. For example, if you're a graphic designer, you need really big visual tigers and creative tigers. Or if you're a forest ranger, you need really strong naturalistic and adventurous tigers and probably strong protective tigers too. 

The challenge comes when you have really big visual and creative Tigers but you're stuck doing customer service or if you have prodigious naturalistic and adventurous tigers, but you're embedded deep in the accounting department in a cubicle with no window and no plants. You might have the opposite situation. For example, maybe your educative Tiger is really small, but you're in a teaching position or Training position. So the question you need to ask is, are you fully engaged with what you're doing? We're going to cover this topic in a lot of depth. In future episodes, we'll talk about different tigers. But let's keep focused on the big picture for now. So whether your natural abilities your talents are engaged with what you're doing. The other aspect of alignment has to do with your values, are your work activities aligned with your sense of right and wrong, is what you're doing beneficial, not just for you, but for your customers, the community, for society, the environment, etc. Are you directly or indirectly doing things that could be considered unethical or illegal, for example, data privacy, there are some companies these days that are revealing people's private information without those people knowing. 

So being in alignment with what you do, and with your values, knowing this pillar -alignment, helps you be truly centered with yourself. So your thoughts, your words, and your actions are harmonious, and you feel more whole and balanced. Because when your actions and values are misaligned, you're disconnected from who you are. This leads to stress, depression, then to the use of stimulants, smoking, drugs, and so on. So that was pillar number one, alignment. 

Now let's go to pillar number two, finance. It goes without saying that, in order to have stability in life, you need to have your finances in order. Do you have a regular income? Do you have enough savings? Do you have some investments that are working for you? Are you financially secure? In 2010, Daniel Kahanemann did a study about how much money people in the US needed in order to be happy.

The basic amount was $75,000. And it was shown that additional income didn't necessarily result in people being incrementally more happy. The study has been replicated in other countries, and the amount varies from country to country. The question is why $75,000? One conclusion is that this is the amount of income where money is not an issue, that people have the basics, food, education, health care, and so on. So the question is, wherever you might be in the world, whatever your situation, do you have enough where money is not an issue? Or is it a small issue, or a major one? So this is the second pillar, finance. 

Let's go to pillar number three - enjoyment, what is called Kama in Sanskrit. Now, you might have encountered this word before comma in the book entitled KamaSutra. Now, karma has to do with enjoyment in life, and not just sexual activities as people often equate with that book. It also has to do with love, with relationships. And we can easily have an episode or multiple episodes on the contribution of love and relationships to a healthy and stable life. But for today's episode, I want to focus on another aspect of enjoyment that I think is greatly underserved. And that relates to play, recreation, hobbies, enjoying art, music, and so on. Dr. Stuart Brown, founder of the Institute of Play, has a great TED Talk and a book entitled Play. And his research shows that play is essential to human development, to our relationships, and to our ability to solve problems as adults. You see, we need to keep reinventing ourselves and play provides a chance for us to be spontaneous, to make mistakes and to learn with minimal repercussion. 

The problem is that many adults don't engage in play, they don't have hobbies. They are either overly consumed in their work or play just doesn't find a place in their lives. Sometimes people engage in sports, but even those experiences are not playful. They instead become competitive. And in the process, they become stressed out like if they lose games or matches, they can even become depressed. That's not what I mean by play. And it's interesting. I've often seen that people feel guilty for playing, whether it's playing music or doing something creative. They feel like they're wasting time, or that they're fooling around when they should be working. So I think it's important to cut yourself some slack and make some time for play. So there you have it, play, love relationships, enjoyment. pillar number three.

Pillar number four, spirituality - Moksha. The word Moksha can be interpreted a number of ways. One way is liberation, that you become free from the physical body and enter the spiritual domain. But I think that definition is a bit extreme and rather impractical. So for a while, I adopted another definition of enlightenment, a sense of awareness of one's existence. But I had trouble with that definition. Because sometimes people aim for enlightenment, like it's some sort of exalted accomplishment. And I think using that term leaves too much room for the ego to get in the way. 

Excuse me, you can't keep your car here. This is a no standing zone. I'm sorry, but I'm enlightened. So I've settled on the word spirituality. This is the aspect of life that governs the search for meaning, purpose and deeper engagement. This would include the inner search the process of understanding oneself, such as in Aristotle's great imperative, know thyself. So, pillar four, spirituality is about engaging in spiritual pursuit. Now, I'm surely not going to prescribe any path or methodology when it comes to this matter. There are many routes that you can take so many religious or spiritual paths to follow. Even if you're an atheist, there are endless opportunities to explore the depths of your inner self and the meaning of life in the universe. So I leave the details to you, but will emphasize the importance of pillar four in your life, to have some spiritual component. 

Pillar number five is community - Satsang. So one meaning of Satsang is a gathering of people for a spiritual discourse, which often involves the group singing spiritual or religious songs. It also connotes Association, associating with people who are elevated in their consciousness. But the word I feel that's most appropriate is community, people of a like mind, who work together for a common cause, and actively and intimately support their members. As I mentioned before, this is a fifth pillar that I added, and why did I do so? It was not part of the original model of Purusarth. I added it because once a very learned mentor of mine shared something powerful with me. He asked me, Steven, what's the most valuable thing in life, and I gave all sorts of answers like love or having a purpose and so on. He told me no, the most valuable thing in life is Satsang -community, the Association of People with high level of consciousness, because people with elevated consciousness will support you. No matter what problem you face, they can help you with your work with money with your relationships, and so on. They'll also tell you the truth, the things that you might not want to hear, but you need to hear in order to live up to your potential. It's like you can't see yourself without a mirror. And community can provide that reflective aspect for you. Community also provides a reason for ethical behavior. When you've got others around you doing the right thing. You're surrounded by role models, which makes it difficult to do things that are not another's interest. 

Community can also help you from going off the rails from becoming too self absorbed and ultimately from becoming lonely and depressed. It's unfortunate. In the West, especially, we sensationalize individuality, the sort of lone wolf mentality, the Superman, Superwoman, super person, mindset that we need to be independently strong, and also independently successful. The feel over the past 50 years or so especially in the West, that our economic success has created a situation where, because of the proliferation of technology, blenders, washing machines, vehicles, automated gadgets, that it's facilitated our living independently. And this has, at least in part, resulted in a loneliness epidemic that is directly related to the increase in mental health issues and even in the increase in various medicinal and drug related addictions. 

I believe this is largely due to the absence of interconnectedness, the absence of community and by people becoming more connected through communities, it will become a powerful healing force for humanity. So how can you become more engaged in community? I'm not talking about just friends or certainly not colleagues, by community, I'm talking about organizations such as parent-teacher organizations, sports clubs, or block or neighborhood associations, or 4-H clubs. They could also include spiritual or religious groups, or support groups and recovery programs. I also see tremendous value in associations such as men's teams. These are organizations that help men support each other in their personal growth and development. And that's pillar number five, community. So those are the five pillars. One - alignment, two - finance, three - enjoyment, four - spirituality, and five - community. As I mentioned before, the purpose of these five pillars is to bring stability to your life. Just like pillars give strength and structure to a building. 

At different points in time, you're going to face disturbances in your life, what I call life quakes. Let's say for instance, you lose your job, and now money becomes tight. If you have strength in other pillars, you're aligned with your work. You have elements of enjoyment present in your relationships and through play. You have a regular spiritual program in place, and you've got a community to support you, then the impact of this financial challenge will be mitigated. These other pillars will act as counterbalances it won't throw your life into disarray. The loss of your job won't necessarily throw your life into disarray, you will have enough emotional strength to be able to withstand this shock to your system to this life quake. 

Having these other pillars in place will also afford you the ability to focus attention and energy on that financial matter. So you can rebuild or reinforce that pillar. Of course, if there are shocks to multiple pillars simultaneously, it makes withstanding the shocks more challenging. And if you have not been building and reinforcing those pillars regularly, there's a greater chance that when a live quake comes, that the walls will come tumbling down. That's when things really start to get overwhelming. Like when you look in all directions, and you feel like you're being crushed by the weight of your problems. Therefore, regular attention to all five pillars, and actively building them is the key to creating a way of being that can withstand life quakes. It brings you stability, peace of mind, resiliency, and greater freedom to live and enjoy life. I would now like to do a practical activity with you to make the five pillars a bit more memorable, actionable and fun. 

We're going to connect the pillars to your hand actually will connect one pillar to each of your fingers. If you can, I'd like you to take one of your hands if it's free, and open it. Open your hand fully with the palm facing you. Of course, if you're driving or operating heavy machinery or changing a diaper right now, please don't do this. Keep your eyes on the road or on the derierre so we can prevent accidents. It doesn't matter if you use your right hand or your left. I'd like you to look at your hand. In the Eastern tradition, the symbol of the open hand is a really powerful one. The hand has so many symbolic meanings. And the open hand especially. The open hand signifies reassurance and safety, dispelling fear and providing protection. There's an ancient practice I find fascinating. And that is when you wake up in the morning. The first thing you do when you sit up and open your eyes is to look at your hands. The reason for doing so is that our hands are also a symbol of our doing. And by looking at them, we have an opportunity to remind ourselves that I'm going into my day and I have the chance to use these hands to be constructive and to do good, and to create and to support others. So if you'd like to implement that practice daily, feel free. But what I'm going to do with you now is a variation on this practice. We're going to be looking at one hand and the five fingers, each of which is going to represent one of the five pillars. Let's start with the thumb. The thumb will represent the first pillar - alignment. Give it a wiggle. Your index finger will represent finance. You can give that a wiggle. Your middle finger will represent enjoyment. Keep it clean. Give that one a wiggle. Your ring finger will represent spirituality. Go ahead with that one. And your pinky will represent community. Go ahead and Give that one a wiggle. Again. Pillar number one, your thumb - alignment. Pillar number two, your index finger - finance. Pillar number three, your middle finger - enjoyment. Pillar number four, your ring finger, spirituality. And pillar number five, your pinky community. And you can remember these easily with an acronym, AFESCO, A for alignment, F for finance, E for enjoyment, S for spirituality, and CO for community. AFESCO. Now that you're familiar with all five pillars, let's get them working for you. We're going to do a pillar check. We're going to see how your pillars are doing. Let's go through each one of them and find out.

So first, let's look at your thumb. pillar number one, A alignment. How are you doing in terms of being aligned? Are you doing work that you mostly enjoy? Are you feeling energized by it? Or are you misaligned with what you're doing? Maybe that you feel like you're Tigers or overfed? Or you have some talents that are underfed? And what about your values? Is what you're doing in your life aligned with your sense of what's right and wrong? Is it beneficial to others in the world? So number one, your thumb first pillar alignment? 

A pillar number two, your index finger? AFESCO. F finance? How are you doing with finance? Are things comfortable? are you earning enough? Do you have enough savings? Or are you slightly strained or perhaps via the end border? 

Next is pillar number three, your middle finger? E, AFESCO. Enjoyment. Are you enjoying your life? Do you have solid relationships? Do you play? Do you stop and smell the roses? Are you engaged in some kind of hobbies or leisure activities? Or are you overly consumed by work and responsibilities? And that you don't have time for play or friendships and even letting yourself have a good time?

 Next is pillar for your ring finger. AFESCO. S - Spirituality. Are you engaged in some kind of activities that get you to explore yourself? The deeper meaning of life? If you're a person of faith, Are you active in reading prayer or meditation? And even if not, are you reading philosophy, psychology and exploring your inner world and the universe to come to a deeper understanding of life? 

The last pillar number five, your pinky. AFESCO. CO. That's community. Do you have at least one strong community that you actively participate in? A community of people with strong values that knows you intimately that supports you, especially when you're down or in need? And also one that holds you accountable that ensures you're taking action to take care of your health, your family, your psychological needs? Or are you more isolated? Do you feel alone? Perhaps you have some friends or acquaintances but few have any that you know intimately. People who would likely tell you what you want to hear rather than what you need to hear, who don't push you to be your best. So do you have a true community behind you?  

Again from the top, A - alignment, F - finance, E - enjoyment, S - spirituality, CO - community. There you have it, the five pillars. Einstein once said that the framing of a problem is often far more essential than its solution. And that's the value of the pillars. It helps in framing the problem. Of course, when it comes to working on pillars when you're facing challenges, it's essential to prioritize, know when to take things off your plate. And be careful about trying to work on too many big problems at the same time. Identify the one that affects the others most significantly, and work on that one first. The next thing I want to address is finding support from people to help you work on each of your pillars. 

My strongest advice is that you not go it alone. I know for me, it's so easy to get lost in my own mind. When I face challenges, I sometimes try to think my way through to a solution and often wind up over thinking and thinking myself into a corner, my ego can really get in the way where I think I know too much for others to help me. And that I can just wiggle my way out of the problems or think or learn my way out of them. And when I do that, I usually dig myself deeper into the whole. Having competent, caring people to support me in the building of my pillars, is one of my superpowers. And what I find is that there are different people who are ideal to support me in each of these areas. It's not enough for me to have one caring person who supports me in all five areas. Some people are just more capable and wise in certain areas than others. And I want to tell you a story to illustrate this point.

When I was in India, I got a guru. How could I not it's one of the great opportunities are afforded in India, getting a teacher who's deeply committed to spirituality to help guide you through the challenges of life, and the many, many texts and philosophies which can get extremely complex and even convoluted at times. Now, I'm a rather extreme person and when I do something, I really go full out. So if I was going to have a guru, my guru shouldn't be just any guru. He should be exceptional, you know, like Olympic level. So my guru his name was Haridas Shastri ji. He passed away in 2013. At the age of 95. Shastri ji received master's degrees in nine different subjects, and studied for 14 years during which time he was so absorbed in his studies, that he didn't even take time to cook his food. He was eating raw vegetables and raw grains and milk. And he was a tremendous scholar, producing over 60 academic works in Sanskrit, Bengali and Hindi. Every so often, I would make a trip to go and see Maharaja, as I used to call him, in his ashram, which was about three hours south of New Delhi. When you'd go to visit him, it was an otherworldly experience, like being transported back in time. He taught from the inside of a Temple Room at a small desk. It was on the ground, it had piles of books and papers and various scriptures scattered about. And there was a small pillow on the floor where he would sit. I would typically wait for 15 or 20 minutes and suddenly Maharaj would emerge from a door in the rear of the temple. 

He was a striking figure - short and stature, always wearing traditional white robes worn by renunciate. He had small piercing eyes, a large, unkempt white beard that covered the entirety of his face and matted hair. I don't think he'd combed it for years, possibly for five or six decades. And I'll mention that Maharaj had no teeth, which even with my pretty good ability in Hindi, made it particularly difficult for me to understand him, especially through his bushy beard. He was a man without pomp, not showy or flashy in any way. He would walk in silently and unceremoniously to his desk, and would laboriously, somewhat painfully sit down in a cross legged fashion. 

There were no greetings, pleasantries exchanged, no casual conversation, it was understood that when I came, I needed to get to the matter quickly. There was typically an awkward silence until Maharaj would make a gesture by raising his eyebrows, lifting his chin a bit as if to say, go ahead and ask. He knew I was there to get clarification about something and save the time of beating around the bush. It was humbling to sit in front of one of the greatest scholars of Indian philosophy and spirituality of our time. His genius, His Eminence, was so extraordinary, so exceptional that to me, it was non different than sitting in front of a Confucius or Hillel. 

So this one time I had been facing financial issues in my business, I was working so dedicatedly, seven days a week, 14 to 15 hours a day, giving it all I had, yet my business was not succeeding financially. I thought to myself, Hey, I'm working honestly, for a good cause. And I'm really slogging and I'm fully dedicated to what I'm doing. So why are things not taking off? Why are we not earning a profit? It seemed like the forces of the universe were working against me. Was it the position of the stars and planets? Maybe some kind of karmic thing from my past some terrible thing that I did in a previous life that was preventing me from succeeding? So I thought, Okay, I'm going to bring this question to Maharaj. And I was in great anticipation about what he would reveal, the real spiritual reason why my business is not succeeding. I was so ready to receive this great wisdom. It was going to expand my understanding of life and once that truth was revealed, I would then have the answer or profound spiritual answer that would unlock the key to the success of my business. And for all of my business ventures in the future. I cleared my throat. Maharaj, I've been working so hard for the past few years. Yet, despite all my efforts, my business isn't succeeding. I'm not making any money. Why is that?

Maharaj sat motionless for a few moments, then let out a sigh and lean toward me. I moved closer to him and angled my ear toward his mouth so as not to miss a word. And then in a thin feeble voice, Maharaj said, Shayad aap kuch acche tarike se kaam nahi kar rahe hain. Which translates as maybe you're not doing something, right? What? That's it? No karmic spiritual explanation. Maharaj sense the tension in my face and smiled, and then let out a laugh. Maharaj continued and explained with an example. Recently, a businessman had come to him from New Delhi, asking if he should buy stock and Company X or in company Y? How should I know? Maharaj asked. I'm not a businessman. If you have questions about spiritual topics, I can probably give you an answer. But I know nothing about business. My jaw was wide open. There I was with this belief that just because this great soul was so advanced in the spiritual domain, that it gave him some kind of magical powers, to see through the matrix and to know everything. 

On that day, I learned a lesson about taking advice, how important it is to get the right advice from the right person. I can't tell you how many times before this experience, I got supremely bad advice from people who I thought were really smart. Since then, I've been much more prudent about what I asked for and from whom. Coming back to our five pillars, I want you to be discerning in who you ask advice from in each of the five areas who you get support from. For your alignment, find someone who has experience in talent identification and guidance. It could be a life coach, a career counselor, or other type of guidance professional. For your finance, get a financial advisor, or even go to support groups like debtors anonymous, which could be much better choices than getting opinions from a parent or your best friend or even your tennis partner. For enjoyment, who's that person you could rely on to counsel you effectively when it comes to relationships, maybe a relationship coach or a couples therapist, or when it comes to having fun? Who's that person who will get you out and encourage you or even force you to play or to joke around and to enjoy life more fully? For spiritual questions, who might that be someone from a religious or spiritual community or even a mental health professional, and for community, who's the right person who would help to get you involved or engaged in a group of people who have your best interest in mind and have a high level of consciousness? Again, after the podcast, I'd like you to think about this. Consider each pillar and the ideal people to be a support for you in each area. At this point, I'd like to remind you that working on your pillars is an ongoing process. It's a lifelong process. 

There's never a stage at which a pillar becomes perfected and no longer needs attention. Each of these five pillars needs attention and nurturing throughout the entire course of your life. And it's important not to wait on this. In fact, the longer you go without taking care of each pillar, the more difficult it will become later on to address the issues around them. For instance, if you don't think about alignment early on, you'll wind up getting stuck in jobs that you hate. And as time goes on, it will become progressively harder to create working contexts that you love. If you ignore finance, and do an ostrich burying your head in the sand, perhaps keeping the lottery as one of your most hopeful ways out. See how far that gets you. Getting finances in place takes time. And it becomes more challenging to save money, the longer you wait. When it comes to things related to enjoyment, love and play. If you think there's no time for it now and that you'll put it off till later, you'll most likely become a grumpy old curmudgeon with little or no capacity to form relationships or to laugh or really enjoy life. And the same is true for taking up spiritual practice. In fact, as you get older in faced more physical and health related challenges and your mortality, you're going to need that pillar even more. Spiritual practice is far more effective to help you deal with major traumas in life when it's been built up over years, as opposed to being grasped at in dire moments.

And with community. Being part of a community requires skills and temperament, one of cooperation, humility, fairness, and generosity. Just see what happens when you live in isolation, and become hyper individualistic. Finding and becoming part of a community becomes really challenging. Now, I would of course, temper my comments by saying it's better late than never. But it's important to remember that it takes a long time to build really strong, resilient pillars. So I urge you to do a survey of each pillar, and to see where and how you can contribute to the growth of each and to actively and regularly think about and to work on each one. 

There are a few things I want to warn you about when working on your pillars. In fact, there are some dangerous traps you can get caught in. And I want to give you a heads up about these so you don't get snared in them and wind up with collapsing pillars. The first is comparing yourself to others who might be in a better situation than you. Someone else might be really aligned with their work and love what they do, where they might be in a great financial position. And when you see that and you start comparing yourself, you might start feeling woefully inadequate, feel like a loser, your self esteem starts to plummet. Don't do that, it will just lead to resentment and envy. Each person is unique, they have their own circumstances. And they are where they are due to so many factors. In some cases, they might have had certain privileges. family support, or maybe they put in the work and are deserving of the benefits they've reaped. You also might not be aware of what other problems they might be dealing with. So be careful of idealizing other people and their situations. 

The counter mistake is looking at others whose pillars might be in worse shape than yours. And when you do so feeling relieved that you're not as bad off as they are. That kind of thinking will lead to a false sense of security and to laziness and passivity, indifference, and lethargy that could cause you to ignore the work that you need to do on yourself. And which might ultimately leave you with crumbling pillars. Another caveat is to copy others in how they work on their pillars, how someone might be investing or the steps that they're taking for a job or which sports they're engaged in. You need to recognize that all people are unique, and how they make progress and how you make progress will likely be very different. Of course, where there are lessons to be learned, things that you can extract or apply to your situation. Of course, take those but be careful about trying to walk in someone else's shoes. In fact, the ancients also had something to say about that. 

In the Bhagavad Gita, the story I narrated in episode one, Krishna is trying to convince Arjuna to act in accordance with His nature, and not run off the battlefield and become a renunciate, which is someone who he's not. And in the last chapter at the very end of the Bhagavad Gita, he says, It's better to act according to your nature, even if imperfectly than to act according to somebody else's nature perfectly. So your path to fulfilling your potential will be uniquely yours. And here's what I find. When I focus on myself, when I'm not comparing myself to others. When I'm learning from the lessons that they're also learning, I'm centered, I'm balanced. I don't feel envy or jealousy. And I don't feel contempt or become ensnared by a false sense of superiority. So I don't have to feel envious or jealous, because I'm not comparing myself. But this does require a few things. It requires me to be honest with myself, not to be in delusion that I'm better off than I really am or worse off. And it requires me to make a regular effort in improving each of these areas in my life. 

So let's do a summary for today's episode. There are five important pillars of life. They can each be represented by one finger, and they spell out an acronym AFESCO. A alignment. F finance, E enjoyment, S spirituality, and CO community. When you face problems, check your hand each The pillars to see where you can identify or isolate the problem so you can address it and work on it. Another point was that you need to work on all of your pillars, even if things are okay. By doing so, you're protecting yourself from future life quakes.

The next point was to be sure to identify and engage people to help you work on each pillar, but to choose people who have the expertise in that area. And last, don't compare yourself to others in the process of working on your pillars. I hope you found this tool useful not only when the walls feel like they're crumbling, but even when things are somewhat stable, to ensure the pillars of your life remain impervious to whatever life quakes you might experience. And that brings us to the end of the episode. 

Be sure to check the show notes for this episode, which have links and references and even a transcript of the show. If you haven't done so yet, I encourage you to subscribe to the Feed Your Tigers podcast so you don't miss any of the future episodes. You can do so by visiting my website at or through your favorite podcast stations such as Spotify, Apple podcasts, or Google podcasts. If you enjoy today's program, I think you'll really love the next episode, which is entitled Rock Your Role We'll be looking at your life as a drama, the role you're playing in it, and how to rock it. I even have an original song called Rock Your Role that I'll be sharing so be sure to check it out. Well, that's all for today. I hope you enjoy today's program. This is Steven Rudolph. And until the next episode, I'd like to remind you to Feed Your Tigers before they eat you.