Part 1 - The Big Picture

Part 1 - The Big Picture

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It Often Takes Self-Sacrifice to Bring Joy Into Sad Lives

Introduction to Character: Categories & Factors

It boggles the mind when we consider the myriad influences of the billions of animate and inanimate objects in New York's busiest periods. Taxis, trains, power lines, roads, birds, plants, worms, water pipes, radio and television waves, buildings, lifts, ships, forklifts, rats, planes, data and telephone cables, and people, all occupying a particular place and have their sphere of influence. All are doing their own thing. Some have little impact, such as a sparrow dying and falling to the ground, and some have an alarming influence, like a three-week power outage of the entire New York City region. 

Within the study of human existence, there also exists an enormous network connecting things that send change, and others that receive. There is a continual interaction of elements, not only in the physical realm but the emotional, psychological, spiritual and social as well. But this is more complicated when one realises that the senders are themselves being counter influenced. Everything is in a state of flux, the animate kingdom as well as the inanimate. In this article series, we will peep into a small part of this web, particularly that part that is pertinent to human health and wellbeing.

Fully describing this complicated network is an impossibility, but in this series, we will very much simplify the content to try and make sense of what we can reasonably do to make this world a better place. It has a lot to do with the degree of effort people are willing to put in to bring about improvements. Success for each of us boils down to choices, choosing how we think, and choosing not to let others do our thinking for us.  Critical to bringing about change, are self-denial, self-sacrifice and effort. In our society today, it seems, very few make a wholehearted commitment to improving their health and relationships.

Nearly all the concepts and principles contained in this site have their focus in this article series. From published books and articles I have gathered an extensive list of 'causes' that can have beneficial or detrimental effects on the following:

  • Character development
  • Behaviour
  • Physical health
  • Emotional intelligence (EQ)
  • Social health
  • Mental health

Many and varied are the degrees to which the 'causes', I will call them 'factors', impact our wellbeing. Our very security and happiness will depend on how seriously we work through them. If we avoid eating one type of vegetable, we can still get by because we can find other food that contains nutrients that supplement the loss. But what happens if we completely avoid one particular vitamin, like vitamin C? It is the same with 'factors' in the lists, some will have little effect on some of us, but others of us might suffer considerably. Each of us will uniquely react to the 'factors'.

Many 'factors' impact on mental health, physical health, behaviour and character.  I have attempted to organise them into categories, but the 'factors don't fit neatly into arbitrary classes. Arranging 'factors' this way makes them easier to discuss and to remember. Some 'factors' logically fit into more than one category, so I have included them in other appropriate categories.  The lists are not exhaustive, but the number of factors listed will demonstrate the necessity of conscious effort to counter the many negative influences that mar our health, behaviour and character.

For the sake of efficiency in working through the long list of 'factors', I have grouped them into eleven 'categories'. In the following articles, I will be discussing 'categories' and 'factors' in some detail.

Download - Categories & Factors - 306KB

Dr Neil Nedley is one of the world's leading authorities on depression, anxiety and emotional intelligence.  He has had impressive success in helping people recover from chronic depression.  Many countries host his community programs. He has been in practice as a physical medicine physician for over twenty years. His books, Proof Positive and Depression the Way Out are highly acclaimed. In Depression the Way Out, Dr Nedley has organised the factors that contribute to depression into categories and 'hits.' I have included many of his 'hits' in my lists of factors below. 

Recommended Links

Nedley Health Solutions Home  -  https//
Nedley Depression Recovery Program  -

Readers are asked to review this list of statements and be better-equipped to benefit themselves by an understanding of the content of the following articles in this series:

  • Download the Categories and Factors List to use in self-assessment.
  • You might want to prioritise the list. It will take time. 'Rome was not built in a day'.
  • The amount of benefit gained will vary from factor to factor.
  • No one arrives. It will be a lifelong journey, but the rewards will far outweigh the effort.
  • A positive attitude is a must for success.
  • Do not let ridicule or strained friendships dishearten you. Most of those who 'have a go' at you,  are convicted they should be doing the same thing.
  • This life-changing endeavour will require self-sacrifice and commitment.
  • You will get out of it what you put into it.
  • Take it in small steps; they get you there in the end. Large steps often discourage.
  • Any change will generate stress, the more change, the more significant the stress.
  • Keep in touch with your emotions; your thoughts will determine your destiny.
  • Don't be competitive,
  • Don't compare your commitment or progress with others.
  • It's encouraging to have family members to support each other to affect change.
  • Be careful with whom you share your successes; there are plenty of 'wet blankets' to discourage you.
  • Chart your progress or evaluate your progress on a regular basis, but not too often.
  • Be an example to your children.
  • You may have to make the hard but beneficial decisions for your children.


Richard Warden


Next Article in this Article Series: Part 2 - Exploring Categories

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