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Introduction: Total Health and the Five Dimensions of Success

What is success? At a young age we are groomed to be successful and to be the new generation to take our country to new heights of prosperity and greatness. Success is ingrained in our minds in school, in culture, and all throughout life. I was like many who define success specifically as being material and financial. My value system was completely based on a world that would deem wealth as the end-all be-all.  And, in our culture we would look to those who had great wealth and put them on a pedestal.

The purpose of this book is to begin to look at the world from a different perspective. To begin to ask questions that are different than the stories that we tell ourselves – to better define success in broader terms. I am 38 years old and have come to the realization that success or true success is one that is equivalent to “Total Health”. Total health has five dimensions of success that are important to understand in depth. This book will cover the traditional aspects of physical success which include nutrition and exercise. But, I would like to go beyond this and explore and discuss other ideas and notions of what success truly is. So what are the five dimensions?  They are as follows:

  • Physical
  • Mental
  • Emotional
  • Spiritual
  • Financial & Material

What I would like to convey to you is a philosophy and lifestyle that will serve you for the rest of your life. I am proposing a paradigm shift – a new way of thinking.  Instead of a material goal as being the prime definition of success, I’d like to elaborate and open your mind to other possibilities that will serve you much better in life.

So let’s define each of the five dimensions.


Physical Success


Physical success occurs when someone has mastered their body from a variety of methodologies. They would include nutrition, body sculpting and exercise, stress management, sleep and restoration activities, digestion, and overall physical health. Physical success is the ability to have mastered your body to the point where you are at your highest level of physical optimization. Here’s a great analogy of physical optimization.  If you’ve ever had a new computer, you probably remember how fast your computer ran and processed information when you first made that purchase.  Surfing the internet and looking through files and folders happened instantaneously.  But, after using the computer for a period of time, it began to slow down getting bogged down with spyware, adware, and a fragmented hard drive. Buying a software optimization program like Norton allowed you to begin cleaning up your computer so that it would run faster and more efficiently.  This book will give you the knowledge to begin optimizing and cleaning up your life so that you can be more productive, smarter, sexier, and healthier.

We live in a world where physical mediocrity is the norm; poor food choices, lack of exercise, crazy stress, poor sleep habits, toxicity, and nutrient deficiency have all lead us to a state of mediocrity. It is impossible to achieve your true potential when your physical body is malfunctioning at so many different levels. How can you reach your true potential if you have not mastered your physical body? Obesity and disease has become the norm in our current health state and is causing our nation to dissolve from the inside out. A huge part of this book will be dedicated to help you master your physical body in order to resolve many of your physical symptoms so that you can take your life to the next level.


Mental Success


Mental success is the thirst for knowledge and the proper application of this knowledge which leads to wisdom. Mental success is looking at the world through a variety of lenses which include mathematics, science, history, health, psychology, language, culture, music, art, physics, philosophy, medicine, law, politics and economics. By having a greater understanding of these subjects a person will achieve greater understanding of the truth and the world we live in.

The concept of what truth is reminds me of a philosophy class I took at UCLA. Our professor was discussing the idea of truth.  As my professor was standing in the front of the classroom, he held up his index finger and asked the question “what is the truth of my finger?” We all looked at him a bit puzzled.

He elaborated and said that the truth is perspective. He went on to say that with 30 people in the class we all had a particular perspective or vantage point of seeing his finger in the air. But if we stood on our chairs, then we would see his finger from a different perspective. If we walked up close to him standing 3 feet from his finger that would be a different perspective. And, the more angles and viewpoints looking at his finger, we could better understand the truth of his finger – what it looked like, the color, the shape, purpose and function, bone structure, and any other physical descriptions that defined our professor’s finger. Similarly, this concept of perspective was conveyed in Dead Poet Society, as Robin William’s character had all of his students stand on their desk to illustrate the point of perspective – having them look at the world in a different way.

So, what is mental success? It is the perspective at we which view ourselves and the world around us. By learning a variety of subjects we not only learn how to think, but also see the world in a unique way. This is the epitome of mental success. I wish when I was in high school, I had a teacher better explain this concept to me. I just couldn’t understand why I was learning physics and advance mathematical concepts. I didn’t want to be a physicist or a mathematician, so what’s the point?  The point is 1) it teaches you how to think and learn and 2) it allows you to look at the world from a different perspective.


Emotional Success


Emotional success is the ability to understand yourself from the perspective of psychology and emotionality. When I worked in the world of business I was amazed at how many successful people seem to be immature despite their vast intelligence in the world of finance and business. I saw countless 15-year-old boys trapped in a 50-year-old body. I saw emotional immaturity, arrogance, greed, pettiness, massive ego, a lack of empathy, and severe anger issues. Before going into the business world, I’d always assumed that the wealthier a person is the more mature and wise that person would be. Boy, was I wrong! In a world of specialists, it is common for people to become hyper good at one thing and make an inordinate amount of money; while at the same time, never develop emotionally. I believe in order to be successful a person should develop and evolve emotionally. This can be done through meditation, therapy, reading self-help books, traveling and seeing different cultures.

Another aspect of emotional success is to begin to develop a deep level of empathy.  Empathy is the ability to look through someone else’s eyes and see and feel the way they experience the world – their pain, suffering, hope, challenges, and understanding of the world.  This important ability or perspective better helps a person’s understanding of society.  Given this understanding, you will better be able to thrive in the workplace, socially, and throughout life.  You will have a deeper understanding of human nature and how we have evolved as a society.  Given my health challenges with adrenal fatigue (I’ll discuss this at length in other chapters in this book), this has allowed me to learn the important lesson of empathy.  Thru my own health challenges, I’m better able to feel the plight and challenges of others.

Also, probably my biggest success personally in growing emotionally has been through pain-and-suffering.  In 2002 while working in the financial industry, I went through a dramatic and traumatizing experience.  I left my job at Smith Barney because of the market downturn and I felt that I lost my identity.  It was a very troubling time.  I was depressed and felt suicidal.  But from this experience, my old self died or faded away and I began to change. And, from that pain-and-suffering, I have learned more about myself than when times were good. Not to say that everyone has to follow my path, but I will say that this can be truly transformational.


Spiritual Success


Spiritual success is best defined by life purpose, an understanding of the afterlife, spiritual tolerance, empathy, social impact, and philosophical beliefs and values. Religion can be a part of this equation. However, religion has had a dark past and instead of uniting us as a society it can divide us depending on the philosophical beliefs of a particular religion. Examples are the Inquisition, the Crusades, Jihad, and wars in general that were justified based on religious beliefs but in fact were driven by a desire for power or a grab for land and resources. Although, let me be clear, I grew up as a Christian and still highly value many of the lessons that I learned in church. My point is that as long as religion helps you evolve and become a better person, I believe religion can play an important role in your evolution. I’ll go into more detail on the subject of spiritual success in the second part of this book.


Financial & Material Success


Financial and material success is the accumulation of power, money, prestige and material goods. It is the premier definition of success. Most ideas about the notion of being ambitious are specifically tailored towards financial and material success. We are a consumer society. As a nation we have become addicted to purchasing power. I believe financial and material success is important, but not at any cost – not at the cost of limiting the other dimensions of success listed above.

What I’ve seen in my lifetime is the addiction of purchasing power. This could come in the form of buying a car, a purse, a pair of shoes, a house, etc.  These types of purchases can be fleeting. So “fleeting” that within a week or two a person is ready to move on to a new high and make another purchase. This addiction is similar to drug addiction. Moving from high to high, never really understanding the true nature of what is driving us to purchase.

What is the true nature of addiction and purchasing power?  It is simply the difference between “excitement and fulfillment”. Excitement is a physiological response to the idea of making a new purchase – getting a high on buying something new. Fulfillment is something that is achieved through intangibles – such as a hug from your daughter, or hiking with your dog, or seeing the most beautiful sunset, or gazing at the night sky, or meditating and achieving bliss. Fulfillment feels different than excitement and has much more lasting power.  It creates a sense of joy and happiness.

It is important to achievement financial and material success in terms of not living paycheck to paycheck, being able to afford healthy food for your family, paying for your family’s basic necessities, affording a good education, and having enough money to travel. These are all reasons to attain financial and material success.  But, I would encourage you to explorer the other dimensions of success which can create “Total Health”.


Total Health


So, what is Total Health? Total health is the pursuit of the five dimensions of success and to create balance and harmony within your life. It is the antithesis of the stereotypical specialist who is good at one thing but has no knowledge of the many. By focusing on total health a person will attain joy, fulfillment, happiness, and most importantly the love of oneself. This book is dedicated to the exploration of better understanding oneself through the five dimensions of success. It will entail many stories about my life, valuable lessons learned, and knowledge to help you reach your true potential.


Inspiration for this book


While working in the financial industry for almost 5 years, I had a realization that my purpose in life given my profession was to make the already uber-wealthy, even more wealthy.  Guilt began to set in and I realized that I had very little social impact.  Then, when I switched careers and became a health practitioner, I felt better in my career choice, but again instead of making the wealthy wealthier, I was making the uber-wealthy just wealthier in health – again, a low social impact.

My goal for the next 10 years is to create products and services that the middle class can afford.  While I still will be a health practitioner for the wealthy, I feel compelled to offer services, products and books that everyone can afford.  This was the inspiration to writing this book.  My message is one of education, hope, empathy, passion, enhanced mental and physical performance, and teaching valuable life lessons – everyone can and should have the knowledge.  The gift of health is not only for the elite, we must make it a priority for everyone in America which will enhance prosperity, happiness, and social economic equality.

My other inspiration for writing this book is based on fantasy.  If I could go back in time, what would I tell myself or give myself at the age of 16.  It would be this book.   It would answer many of the questions I had as a young person – to help me choose a career and a good university, give me perspective, a healthy outlook on life, and to master my physical body.  It would have been my guide book.  As silly as this sounds, this concept of human evolution and development is a constant in my mind – what more of an influence on teenage development than a really useful book for an eager mind.


Let’s Get Started


To get started, first let us begin with physical success or physical health.  It is my belief that physical health and physical success is the foundation and platform that needs to be developed first in order for you to progress and evolve into other areas. In contrast, it is the lack of physical success that leads people to a variety of health symptoms including insomnia, depression, low energy, a lack of mental clarity, poor skin and hair, moodiness, some type of physical pain, and other health challenges that affect your day-to-day activities. As you begin to master your body, many of these symptoms will begin to subside.

Personally, I was severely affected by adrenal fatigue which severely altered my life during my teens in high school, during my 20s while attending UCLA and working in the financial industry, and even in my early 30s which reduced my overall work productivity while working in the health industry. The more I mastered my body by applying the foundational principles of health, I became more successful, fulfilled, inspired, and happy. My purpose is to share all this knowledge with you so that you can reach your true potential and to not be affected by debilitating health challenges that prevent you from succeeding in life.

It is the first dimension of physical success that will allow you to be successful in the other areas listed above (spiritual, emotional, financial and material, and mental). Physical success is an important platform that will enable you to have the energy, dexterity, and stamina to pursue the other dimensions. Without physical success, your motivation for pursuing knowledge in other areas will be limited and reduce and can place you in a mediocre state. Part One of this book is dedicated to physical success which will include nutrition, exercise and body sculpting, sleep and stress management, resolving symptoms and health challenges and much more. I’m excited that you have begun this journey with me and you are ready to take control of your life by learning more about Total Health.

Biography: Shawn Phillips is a well-known Holistic Personal Trainer in Los Angeles and Certified Nutrition Coach specializing in body sculpting, nutrition, lab testing, and exercise coaching. For a FREE consultation call him at (310) 720-8125.