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I put this on a separate page in order to have it more referenceable for perspective and also more printable.  Note that as we move out from the core things, in a true sense, matter less and less - and, beyond the core, they are only "bonuses", not necessities or anything we'll be unhappy without.  A bit of an explanation follows the schematic.  (This piece follows Introduction To The Steps and precedes The Steps.)

Our steps to developing our capabilities to live a better life, of course, start from the center.  We would work on those first, to the extent possible.

Then I would suggest that we might rate how far along we are and complete whatever we need to in order to get there. The schematic above could be printed and then used to record how far along you are in each.  One check mark on one indicates "basic" competence in that item - basic understanding and some effective implementation, two checkmarks would indicate a substantial knowledge and effectiveness that is pretty good, and then three check marks would indicate mastery and complete implementation.


The further and further out, into the "out"side boxes, the less and less the true impact, IF one has true perspective (which is a core quality). 

Some things "matter" to me, but are not really needed for happiness.  The deepest sense of the word "matters" is based on what produces a big desired effect (or relief of a big undesired effect).  But one of the wisest learnings is that we often attribute value to things that don't really matter - they "matter" to us, but falsely.  Eliminating as many of those as possible allows one to free up energy and eliminate stress over what only appears to matter - and to redirect that energy to where there is a high payoff in what actually matters.   And things that matter little to me should not take the place of what matters alot to me, in terms of the reality of an actual effect.  (A simple point, but few seem to heed it!  Many people hold onto what matters little, thinking that they must have it in order to be happy.  Au contraire!  Giving up what mattters little provides the opportunity for what matters alot.)

Of course, if something doesn't really matter and we can be clear about that, then we will not make ourselves unhappy when we don't have it or lose it.  Philosophically we will know that some "losses" are just give backs of gains - and if we know what is gained is not really needed, then it certainly does not matter that we lost it - and we will experience zero stress about it.  I cannot overemphasize the importance of this insight.  I think that people MUST learn it in order to be happy and in order not to be unhappy (about these "missings"). 

The closer to the center, the more and more impact there is on true happiness in life. 

Of course, one must "do" what it takes to keep intact that which is at the very core of Who I Am, as the one who is capable of experiencing life in its fullest.  If I do not keep these intact, to the greatest extent I can, then I am choosing to live less of a life.  These are, indeed, at the core of life, for without them being at the highest level possible, I cannot live that life for which I have the natural inborn capability of learning and achieving.  As above, but re-listed here so you can see if you are honoring them and achieving them, are the three elements comprising my whole core:

Energy and health (to be able to invest into what yields you the highest results)
Awareness (to notice what is occurring, so that one can adapt)
Peace, happiness (a natural state of mind, once the barriers and crappola are removed, and basic "viewing"
   perspectives are fully clear and installed)

Although the above are the true core, I use here a more comprehensive "core" that includes the next layer out, as most people cannot bridge the gap of not identifying with them or including them as part of their "true self".  It is a more acceptable version of "the core" for most people.  It is, however, also in the arena of what is controllable such that I have the power to bring them about.

To see how well I am doing, I can take the measure of these three elements by using the core tests to see how I am doing:                                     I recommend that you use these, at least yearly (where you are reminded by tickles that automatically come up).


Having my life dependent on what I can't control makes me a victim of what I can't control.  In other words, the effects on me are under control from outside me.  

This seems an odd or perhaps even absurd conclusion, since it seems that it is reality that I will be affected by the impact of my circumstances and of other people.  Yes, you are banged about by forces not under your control, such as the weather or large moving objects.  And in the same way, the zebra must muster its energy to run from the lion (it is controlling its body to get an effect that may not happen but is more likely to happen if one implements control) and when it gets to "safety", it has no remaining effect and just goes about calmly eating grass, having run off the chemicals of flight. 

We have that power (to return to happiness, as well as is physically possible) and to no longer be stuck in the fear of what might happen next (or again), but to be able to respond with the developed skills necessary to do so.  This is a part of the Skill Of Fearlessness, which is a vital piece of living a life of unconditional happiness regardless of "Undesired Outcomes".

Because I cannot control what I cannot control, I focus my energy on what I can control - and I increase my ability to do "effective control".  Essentially, if we cannot control something, we cannot produce a desired effect (duh!).  So, to use the term "effective control" is a bit redundant - and in a sense it also adds the key criteria for control, which is to exert control where one can have the most effect.  Controlling something without much of an effect, in other words, is fairly useless (= no or little good effect). 

[I suggest that the above is all reflective of the truth of the 80/20 Principle of focusing on the "vital few" things that matter the most.  As a person who is focusing on The Core Of Life, you will naturally want to Live Life As An 80/20 Person.]


It is strictly up to me to decide when I've learned enough to be at a high enough degree of control and impact.  And the criterion is that I am consistently feeling deep happiness and satisfaction.

However, those who have achieved high degrees of true wisdom still find learning (and implementing) more wisdom adds an extra benefit to life that is far beyond the effect of spending the same time and effort elsewhere.  In essense, they learn when it is most useful to focus on learning and devote their energies to the other parts of life that have the most benefit to them - and, of course, they can access that benefit in other parts of their lives BECAUSE they have developing the wisdom and skill to do so!!!! 


Let's clarify this a bit as to what I mean.

I do not include as impactful that which merely occurs for the moment.

A good example, I think, is related to me and the weather.  

Such A Simple Example

I surely cannot control the weather or change it.

If I am operating at a low level of personal responsibility and being in the passive, victim mode, I can curse the damn weather and protest the rain and cold - and freeze alot or get uncomfortably wet.   I can do what is totally ineffective - and live a miserable life when the weather is not ideal.  I simply have to wait for conditions to be as I wish they were - and then I can be happy.

If I am operating from my developed core, I see what is going on, I ask what can be done to get the best effects and/or stop the bad effects, and then I do those without delay or suffering.  I put on a coat that shelters me well and keeps me warm.  Perhaps I use an umbrella.  And so forth


Plan for your life
Eliminate all that is of no value (time/concern on matters that you cannot affect)
The feedback/adjusting system


Systems, procedures (sequential doing), resources, support/influence system
    Stress management system
Building skills that create my having more value in economic terms and any area that benefits me (relationship) - More economic value frees up time for the most important.
Eliminating the barries (reactivity,

Values - Knowing what is important, What I want
Standards, rules for my life
Controlling my time so that I can get all these
   (Schedule - Day, week, month, quarter...)
Understanding life & how it works - Wisdom
Character - Maintaining my integrity, my "virtues"
A clean, clear way of thinking about life (No fault)
Life skills (ability to learn, think, problem solve, decide, focus, keep perspective, refining/adjusting))
Knowing/gratitude/perspective on what I have
    Deciding what is "enough", the gratitude/appreciation
Energy & health
Peace, happiness

(Or appears to matter, but doesn't really.)
(Vast abundance of these)