Friday, November 25, 2016

4 levels of human existence; what level are you?

I have learned in life that though we may not have much say about the circumstances in which we are born; but we have all the say about the circumstances in which we live and die. It doesn't really matter in what circumstances you were born, you can rise above that level, if you choose to.

Granted, there are challenges that can keep us down, but as the Scripture tells us, God will not allow you have a burden you cannot bear, and even in that situation, He'll make a way of escape for you. There is, indeed, always a way.

That said, let's look at four levels in which humans live, as outlined by Zig Ziglar. Every one you know can be classified into one of these levels. As we go on, ask yourself: what level am I? And how do I move up the ladder? Because the higher up you are on the ladder, the more influential you will be. Here goes...4 levels of human existence

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Level 1: Survival
As the name suggests, those on this level in life struggle to make ends meet, they struggle to meet the most basic needs, they barely keep their heads above the water. Here, the main objective is to just get by, to get money to pay the bills. On this level, you work hard and long to get enough money to meet needs.

Sadly, many are on this level, not necessarily because they do not work hard enough, but I reckon it's because of certain factors such as:
-Failure to discover, develop and deploy their innate gifts and talents,
-Failure to develop self (build a renewed mindset and refined habits),
-Not adding much value to others, and
-Failure to take advantage of opportunities they have had at different points in life.

How to break beyond survival
No one is fulfilled being in this survival level in life, it's a hard place to be.
However, you can break beyond survival, here's a few tips...
1. Discover your talents and gifts: it's the man who discovers and develops his gifts (talents) to skill and competence that the world will make room for (Proverbs 18:16).

2. Develop character: cultivate more rewarding habits (such as diligence) and a winner's mindset. A positive mindset will fill you self confidence and self belief, which is the foundation of all great achievements, as noted by Brian Tracy.

Level 2: Stability
This is one step up from survival. In stability, you have some things going for you, things are a little better. You are more comfortable as you have just ENOUGH money to meet needs - you are "stable".

Unlike in survival level, emergencies don't sweep you off your feet because you have some money saved up. But like in survival, you have to constantly work long and hard to keep everything intact. Any slackness (like taking time off work) could be disastrous.

In Stability, you have to work extra hours and cut costs to save up enough for vacations, for instance. This level is characterised by EXTRA work for the EXTRA money.

How to break beyond stability
You may say Stability is not the worst level to be. It's not the worst, but you can certainly move up higher, here's how...
1. Multiply your productivity: offer much more value to others
2. Develop management, people and leadership skills: become better at self, task, time, people and money management.

Level 3: Success
There's nothing really "wrong" about this level. Many are here and they are good. Thing is, it's not exactly where God envisions for us. To those on this level, God is saying, "come up higher, there's more".

Here, you have a wonderful career, or a great business, and you live a better lifestyle, as a result. Your needs are met, you can afford luxuries, and you have more than enough saved up or invested.

Unlike in Survival and Stability, you don't have to work round the clock to get money as you're able to multiply your productivity, making the most of the time and opportunities you have.

There is, however, one problem with this level - it's too focused on self. The person operating on this level in life thinks too much of self, and not enough on others. No doubt, someone in this level lives a good life and probably can afford most things, but he's not thinking about helping others improve their own life, he's not thinking service to humanity. He thinks more about how to get than how to give.

How to break beyond success
You may say there's not much wrong with this Success level, and you probably aspire to be here (and that's fine to an extent), but I believe there's so much more to life than financial independence and the lifestyle that comes with it.

There's more to life than meeting the needs and wants of self, there's more to life than all these; we were created for so much more than just having a great career or business, amassing wealth and living well; we were created for Significance in life.

It takes turning the love in your heart outward by helping, serving, loving others and fulfilling your God given purpose are the keys to living beyond being successful. There's nothing wrong with being successful, but how about being significant?

Level 4: Significance
Now the Lord had said to Abram: “Get out of your country, from your family and from your father’s house, to a land that I will show you. I will make you a great nation; I WILL BLESS YOU AND MAKE YOUR NAME GREAT; and YOU SHALL BE A BLESSING. I will bless those who bless you, and I will curse him who curses you; and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed. (Genesis 12:1-3).

There is yet another level in life which very few get to. It's a level where you don't think of self alone, where you turn the love in your heart out to others. It's called Significance. And it's where God is calling us to.

The meaning of significance in life is found in verse 2 of God’s promises to Abram in Genesis 12 quoted above:
“I will make you a great nation; I will bless you and make your name great; and YOU SHALL BE A BLESSING.”

Significance in life is about being a blessing to others, solving their problems, helping, serving and loving them. It is about
making real positive difference in people’s life.

Zig Ziglar used to always say that you will have your problems solved if you can just help enough people solve their own problems. And there is a lot of truth and wisdom in this. Significance in life is not about fame, popularity does not equate significance! It's not about being wealthy, wealth alone is not significance. You can be popular and not be significant, and you can be wealthy and not be significant.

Those who operate on the “significance” level in life are a blessing to others; not necessarily because they possess wealth or are famous, but because they serve the poor and needy in our world with what they have. They think of others, and how to influence them for good.

Significant people exist to improve the life of others, to inspire positive social change, to uplift the downtrodden, to encourage the hopeless, to be voice for the voiceless, to defend the vulnerable, to be father to the fatherless, and mother to the motherless. They are a blessing to their world!

The saying is true, “not every successful person is great, but every great person is successful.” Greatness is much more than personal success; greatness is helping others succeed and live to their fullest potentials. Our world abounds with examples of people who were neither wealthy nor famous, but achieved greatness and are/were a huge blessing to their world. Jesus is one such example, Mother Theresa is another.

You can be wealthy and/or famous and be a blessing to others; similarly, you can be not-so-wealthy and still be a huge blessing to others. It's about looking beyond you.
Discover where and how God wants you to be a blessing to others, and you live on the highest level of human existence - significance.
On what level are you currently? Survival? Stability? Success? Significant? Where would you like to be?
Remember, the essence of life is making impact, and you don't need much wealth, fame or years to accomplish that.

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