Optimal LivingLast time, I introduced you to the concept of Core Assets. You can remember them with the simple acronym ASPIRES! We’ve already covered Safety, Physical, and Intellectual. Let’s move on to the final three – Relationships, Economic and Spiritual.

Optimal Living

Relationships

This category encompasses more than just your ability to maintain a relationship with a life partner. You have some sort of relationship with everyone of any significance in your life. Your connections with all your family members constitute relationships, as do your bonds with friends. You may have various relationships with workmates or fellow students. More broadly, you may have relationships within larger groups, from the crowd you hang with in your neighborhood to the culture in which you were raised, which can play a big part in your ethnic or gender identity.

Each type of relationship and each individual relationship will present its own set of potential joys and challenges. The health of your relationships may change depending on how you and the other parties involved work together on maintaining them.

Economic

Economic health, in the most basic terms, has to do with your cash flow. And that has a lot to do with the career you choose, which certainly matters a great deal in terms of how it provides for your needs. With our current economic situation, do you still have a job? If not, how are you managing?

The overall strength of your financial situation is based on all the factors that bring you money, and that is what’s called your economic health. Each aspect affects every other, and what we spend most of our time doing will color the rest of our experiences. For example, some people choose careers that provide economic well-being but that may squash the joy out of everything else.

Spiritual

Your spiritual health and well-being are most vibrant when your worldly outlook keeps you feeling positive and connected. They give you hope, guidance, and a sense of purpose in the grand scheme of things. They bring you comfort and understanding in hard times.

Spirituality comes in all shapes and sizes. One person may find solace in the stars, planets, and other great wonders of the natural universe, while another may find it in watching a dandelion tuft float by. Spirituality is a state of mind commonly confused with religion, although, you can certainly be spiritual without being religious. Religion has its place in that it provides a sense of identity around which you can structure your spirituality, but both religion and spirituality have their values.

It would be easy to list hundreds of examples of where each individual Core Asset comes into play. In the coming posts, we’ll explore how you can use these core assets to maximize your ROI, or your return on investment, in life.

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Sanjay Jain is a US-trained Board Certified physician, with over 15 years of clinical experience. He is the author of the new book, OPTIMAL LIVING 360: Smart Decision Making for a Balanced Life (Greenleaf, February 2014). Sanjay represents a new wave of thought leadership and expertise developed not only from his medical and financial education, but also his life experiences. Follow Sanjay on Twitter at @sanjayjainmd and visit his website at SanjayJainMD.com.