Key Thought for this session:
“The outcome of my life fits my priorities.”
Material wealth is an example that may apply more directly to you.
While an abundance of money can create many comforts for the body, it may bring anxiety or guilt, which is not good for the soul. Some cultures reflect a worldview that sees material wealth as a lack of spiritual virtue, as an indulgence or greed or sign of corruption, while others may view it positively as a blessing or a sign of success.
So, while we can probably agree that our life has multiple forms (body, soul and spirit), it can also be common for us to have a worldview that provides solutions for our satisfaction that ONLY work for ONE form of our being, but not another. These conflicts can make it difficult to be completely satisfied by what happens in our lives. We may end up satisfying our body, but not our soul, or vice versa. So, how you prioritize life will affect how generally satisfied you are and determine what part of you that you are aiming to please the most. Your priorities have a lot to do with how you view abundance and virtue. And think about this, because different people have different worldviews and priorities about life, you can see how difficult it is for people to live in harmony with one another.
We have been discussing the three forms your life takes and how achieving happiness is really quite complex and messy. We asked you earlier about how you feel about the six needs of your soul that we seek to satisfy. During those questions, we asked you to select which of the two provided answer choices YOU believe to be the source of satisfaction for each soul need.
Now, while the order of answer options were previously presented to you randomly, here we place them into Column A and Column B based on common worldview core assumptions of the where the satisfaction comes from (its source). So, when they are grouped based on common core assumptions, they now look something like this:
Specifically: Is the reason my needs are met due to the fact that I have earned it by the things I have done or said, or is the reason due to the fact that someone else, who has the power and resources and desire, has chosen to meet those needs on my behalf? If I believe that I earn what I have, based on what I have done, then I am a Column A person and we call that the “Exchange” core assumption. On the other hand, if I believe that I am given the things I have based on the good will of someone else and not related to anything I have done or said, then we call that the “Bestowment” core assumption.
Let me illustrate this by taking you through a couple of the items in this chart.
Let’s look at one more. JOY. A person with an “Exchange” core assumption, might think “my joy is the happiness that comes from getting my circumstances to meet my needs; and what is ‘good’ for my happiness are situations that favor me.” In this case, the person earns their joy by working to make those circumstances as favorable to them as possible—thereby exchanging their efforts for favorable outcomes. On the other hand, a Column B person relies on someone else bestowing on them their joy. Therefore, their joy comes from an internal peace and excitement, regardless of circumstances, because they recognize that what is good is found in situations bigger than them. For example, a mother who receives tremendous joy just by seeing her child get excited about life. Maybe the mom was having a bad day, but those circumstances in the mother’s life become insignificant in light of her child’s joy.
And on through Freedom, Hope, Esteem and Belonging, you can see the descriptions that illustrate the Column A represents a view of satisfaction where you must act in ways so that you will receive what you need by doing something. If your selections are in column A, then you believe that being satisfied will depend on how well you can get your circumstances to meet your needs. Column A is a focus on reward and punishments systems where you seek to contribute to the world around you in exchange for how others can benefit you. That is why we call column A the “exchange” worldview. Column A thinking is what you might learn from psychology and sociology. The focus here is the connection of your identity we discussed in the previous session with the physical world.
Column B represents satisfaction that results from receiving what is given to you independent of what you earn. If you selected Column B for a need then you believe what satisfies that need comes to you without any exchange for what you do. It is not a reward or punishment, but is simply given to you based on the unmerited favor of someone else who wants you to have what you need. If you are Column A person, then Column B thinking may seem a little strange to you, but it is more common than you may think.
Can you think of anything that you have that you did not earn or get as a reward for what you did?
Consider again the story in the last session of the orphan girl who was adopted by the rich man who lived on the hill. Was her adoption earned? Did she do anything to get adopted or was what she needed made available to her by the love of her new father? Think about yourself.
Maybe you can run faster than most other people, have great mathematical abilities or have an advantage over others because you are tall. Did you ever do anything to earn that?
Did you do anything to earn your own birth?
Do you sometimes enjoy the vast and amazing view of the stars? What about the beauty of the mountains or the seashore? It’s very nice to have sunshine and blue sky for outdoor activities. Actually, there are many aspects of life you enjoy without having done anything to deserve them, you just have to receive them. A term some people use for what we are given without doing anything to deserve it is “common grace.”
We call Column B the “bestowed” worldview core assumption because it represents a reality where what is needed for life’s satisfaction is given by something or someone who has the resources, the power, the generosity, and the will to do so. This is in contrast to what you earn through your own actions. Generally, explanations for a Column B worldview is provided by how philosophy and religion explain our connection with the invisible world and what supernatural forces exist that ultimately control things that affect us like resources and destiny.
We will discuss your choices by column in just a minute. Whether you see the source of your needs met in column A or column B is one of those influences on you that are usually not obvious to you, but it does make a HUGE difference in your worldviews. How you see your own identity and how you fit in life are different based on how you see the source of life’s satisfactions. Don’t worry if this seems a little complex to understand at first. Let’s pause here and explore how these concepts relate to things we have discussed earlier.
For example, do you remember the story of the servant leader?
If you recall we focused your attention on different ways you make commitments. One is an “ought to” commitment, this is a form of duty, where you feel obligated to meet the expectation of the leader. This is actually a column A worldview commitment where you see your actions as an exchange response to someone that you either respect or fear. When commitment is “want to” (instead of “ought to”), and by “want to” we mean an obligation flowing from a compelling passion... a new heart that is actually transformed by the leader, ...this would be a Column B worldview. In the servant leadership story, the follower’s commitment was a response from receiving the passion from the leader. Therefore, the “want to” commitment results in a Column B sense of purpose, freedom, joy, esteem, hope and belonging that finds its source, not by what you do, but by what the leader chooses to give you.
We will refer to this Column A/Column B model for worldview quite often. You may find as you progress in this course that this model can provide you with a better way to judge your own worldviews for yourself, pointing you to positive changes that you can make in your life.
At this point in the course, I just want you to begin to feel the size of the opportunity and the extent of the challenge. While you may not feel you have great answers yet, take a moment and ponder these questions.