Wheels have been used as coaching tools and aids to constructive thinking for millennia – they date back to early Buddhist thinking – perhaps earlier. A Google image search for’ wheel of life’ will find lots of very beautiful examples -and some more modern derivations. This variant – the Human Givens, is based on the notion that we need to have balance in our lives in a number of key areas. If that balance is not there, we get fed up. Or anxious. Or depressed.  That’s not good. This exercise reveals areas where we are more, or less, satisfied with our lives – and therefore gives us a golden opportunity to re-balance.


The basic assumptions of the Human Givens approach are that humans have evolved innate physical and emotional needs called ‘human givens’. Human beings instinctively seek to meet these needs in their environment. When a person’s innate needs are met in the environment, he or she will flourish. When these needs are not met in a balanced way, distress can result. The focus of the exercise is the discovery and rectification of any blocks to these needs being met. (Wikipedia: Griffin/Tyrell 2003)

How to do the exercise:

You can do this on your own, or pair up with a friend that you trust. Print off the wheel (right click to save). Go round the wheel, scoring yourself for each segment instinctively on a scale of 0 -10 where 0 = totally unsatisfied and 10 = totally satisfied.

What is your current score in each area?

Go round again, identifying areas you’d like to work on – probably the areas where you scored lowest.

  • Which areas would you most like to develop?
  • How might you do that?
  • What help or support might you need to move forwards?

I use this exercise regularly with my clients – why? – because most of the creative people I work with can’t separate out work and business life quite as easily as folk who have a traditional job. If something is holding you back on a personal level, it often stops you being effective in your creative business too

Even if you don’t feel that anything is innately wrong with things as they are, these exercises are a useful touchstone – used now and again, they can help you be aware of adjustments that it would be healthy for you to make.

Have a go. And if you can sit down with a trusted friend and look at the wheel together, you may be able to make suggestions and support each other in making useful changes.

Best wishes – Pete