Two Life-Changing Concepts For Success and Well-Being

What do you think of Richard Paul Evans' "5 Kyngdoms"?

Posted Aug 15, 2019

Recently, my life has been quite a mess. I don't think I'm alone. The world is moving faster and faster. There is more expectations and more opportunity than ever before.

The world is constantly at our fingertips with our smartphones.

If we don't organize our lives, we cannot find peace and happiness. If we don't create healthy boundaries, our personal and family lives will be ruined. 

Concept #1: Psychological Detachment From Work

There is a great deal of recent research on the concept, "Psychological Detachment from Work." True psychological detachment occurs when you completely refrain from work-related activities and thoughts during non-work time.

Proper detachment-recovery from work is essential for physical and psychological health, in addition to engaged and productive work. Yet, few people do it. Most people are always “available” to their email and work. Millennials are the worst, often wearing the openness to work “whenever” as a badge of honor. It’s not a badge of honor.

Research has found that people who psychologically detach from work experience:

  • Less work-related fatigue and procrastination
  • Far greater engagement at work, which is defined as vigor, dedication, and absorption (i.e., “flow”)
  • Greater work-life balance, which directly relates to the quality of life
  • Greater marital satisfaction
  • Greater mental health

Interestingly, other research shows that when a parent has irregular work hours, there can be devastating effects on the development and well-being of their children. These problems are compounded when the parent has depressive symptoms, low-quality parenting, reduced child-parent interaction and closeness, and a less supportive home environment.

Again, the likelihood of experiencing some forms of depression are dramatically increased if you don’t properly detach from work. Furthermore, if you don’t properly “unplug,” you’ll lack engagement while at home. Put more directly, you’ll be distracted and burned-out. As a result, you probably won’t have quality interactions or closeness with your kids, spouse, or friends. It’s a vicious cycle.

Concept #2: Richard Paul Evans' "5 Kyngdoms"

Connected to the idea of psychological detachment from work, and although less scientifically tested, but taken to a much deeper level, is Richard Paul Evans' "5 Kyngdoms."

Richard Paul Evans has written 39 New York Times best-selling books. He's known for writing fictional Christmas stories that get turned into Hallmark movies. But recently, Evans has been speaking a lot about how he organizes his own life. A self-proclaimed Christian, Evans is highly spiritual, which any reader of his novels will quickly see.

But Evans is also a business and idea man. He has bold plans and goals for himself. 

To keep his faith, family, and other priorities and goals organized, he's developed a system for looking at and operating in the world. 

Given my background in psychology, as well as my interest in high-performing individuals like Evans, I wanted to know more about his organizing system. 

He calls it "The 5 Kyngdoms," and he has even created a planner type "organizer" for his daily meditation, gratitude, planning, and prayer routines. He uses a "y" in Kyngdom because the Old English spelling of "King" was "Cyng," with a "y."

  • Kyngdom One: Is reserved for only yourself and your connection to your higher power. No other human being is allowed in your First Kyngdom. 
  • Kyngdom Two: Is reserved for your family. 
  • Kyngdom Three: Is reserved for your friends.
  • Kyngdom Four: Is reserved for the organizations or social groups you're a part of.
  • Kyngdom Five: Is for the world at large, and more specifically, the impact you can have on the world if you have your other Kyngdoms in proper alignment.

Evans' perspective is that, if you don't have your Kyngdoms in order, then your life will be in chaos. "People try to put their friends and jobs, even their spouse, in Kyngdom One and quickly find it doesn't work," Evans told me.

This is why a Morning Meditation Routine is so essential for people who are seeking greater well-being and personal connection. You need time for just yourself and your higher power, Evans explains.

Nothing can get between you and that. 

Evans uses this framework to create healthy boundaries in his life. He does this to ensure his priorities don't get out of control. He does this not only to maintain order in his life but also, from his perspective, when his First and Second Kyngdoms are flourishing, he believes he can be inspired in all other areas of his life. He attributes the success of his writing career, his family, and his other endeavors to striving to live this concept to the best of his abilities.

Conclusion

When I first heard Evans explain to me the "5 Kyngdoms," it didn't immediately sink in. Intuitively, it made sense to me. But only at the head-level. It didn't have an emotional impact until recently.

My wife, Lauren, and I became foster parents of three children during the first year of my Ph.D. program. Over three years, we fought the foster system in court and were eventually granted adoption in February of 2018. Less than a month after the adoption, Lauren became pregnant with twin girls who were born in December of 2018.

To say that was a huge transition would be an understatement. Our lives have been completely changed and we're still recovering.

In addition to the extreme stress and transition in our home lives, my writing career took off in graduate school, affording me many opportunities to speak and engage in high-quality networks. 

I've been traveling far more than I should in my work, and Lauren has paid the price. Recently, handling five kids became too much for her, two of which are toddlers and three of which are high needs.

She stopped finding joy in life. I was gone too much. It became painfully clear my "Kyngdoms" were out of order.

Immediately, Evans' concept began to make big sense to me, and also match with the research I'd studied in psychology. 

I needed to create better boundaries in my life. I need to get organized, or else everything would fall apart. 

I'm not quite there yet. But I've gotten better at expressing my emotions to important people in my life, those who I would previously bend over backward to the detriment of my First and Second Kyngdoms. 

I've also canceled many speaking opportunities I had lined up.

I'm getting better at expressing my needs and creating healthy boundaries in my relationships. 

I'm being more honest with myself about what I can handle and do in my life, given that I have five kids.

References

Sonnentag, S. (2012). Psychological detachment from work during leisure time: The benefits of mentally disengaging from work. Current Directions in Psychological Science, 21(2), 114-118.

Sonnentag, Sabine, and Ute-Vera Bayer. "Switching off mentally: predictors and consequences of psychological detachment from work during off-job time." Journal of occupational health psychology 10.4 (2005): 393.