August 24, 2010

How should one live in order to live a good life?

What is a good life?, is a question many people throughout history have thought about. Is a good life just about being happy? Well, that does not seem to be a complete answer. After all, how, precisely, do we become happy and stay happy? Is it by doing things that can instantly make us feel good, like watching TV, eating, making love, or listening to music? Hardly. In small doses these things are good and improve your daily life, but the effects are not additive. In other words: a point of diminishing returns is quickly reached. Also you don't become happy by having to do nothing. Both intrinsic motivation (wanting to do something) and extrinsic motivation (having to do something) are preferable to not having any kind of goal to focus your attention. The question is hard and it is one which will forever be asked. So I like to ask it now.

What would be your best brief answer to this question: "How should one live in order to live a good life?" I asked this question on twitter and already received some interesting answers which I will share here. More answers welcome!
  • Superblyhuman: Live now and always assume a good reason
  • Sandy: Live in tune, moment by moment, with the unforced rhythms of Grace.
  • H.Gerzee: Don't have problems, have solutions
  • Todd Kashdan: be in the present, open up and be curious, and create a life that matters
  • AnonymousTo be thankful for this moment. To be open for something bigger than myself.
  • Petra Klaver: Giving a little bit more than receiving, gives my life more value. Read more.
  • Marie-Louise: A good live and happiness is when you decide to take control of your own life: take the seat behind the stearing wheel of the bus and do not set yourself at the back end. Read on.
  • Anonymous: Non-judging, Patience, A beginner's mind, Trust, Non-striving, Acceptance, Letting go (read explanation here)
  • Rodney Daut: To live a good life one must find a way to focus most time and attention on the really important things.... and this is much harder than it sounds. One must also find a way to produce powerful results in those few areas that really matters by learning to think effectively.
  • Peter Damoc: The word is "Integrity" (read explanation here)
  • bloompsychology: choose values, live values, fail, accept own humanity, get present, notice what works, choose again, repeat until dead.
  • MarjieKnudsen: Harm no one. Live with compassion and kindness. Love completely. Take good care of yourself
  • ToddStark: My first instinct is: "Live as if you were going to die. Because you are. I *think* it looks like living with very clear and very personal sense of what's important and what's not, a clarified sense of purpose.
  • jeremymcc: My motto: play hard, work hard, love people.
  • alankay1: Be unreasonably diligent in noticing in great detail how much works in your life + unreasonably ambitious about the future
  • nienkevo: Enjoy
  • GeaWortelboer: Live your life every day if as every day is the best day of your life.

7 comments:

  1. The word is "Integrity".


    I listened years ago to a self-help program by Earl Nightingale called "Lead the Field". The program has 12 ideas that one could use to lead a better life. Out of those ideas "Integrity" was strange to me. I mean, I understood the concept but I didn't see the value of pointing it out. When Earl treated the subject he even told a story about an American colonel that got captured by North Koreans during the Korean War and was threatened with death. In his last letter sent home he told his wife: "Tell little Johnny that the word is INTEGRITY". Thinking that he was going to die, this is the best he could come up with. It felt strange to me.

    This year however I got to a point where I understood the concept.

    To live coherently, to eliminate dissonance.

    I understood what Gandhi meant when he said: "Happiness is when what you think, what you say, and what you do are in harmony."

    This is not easy but it is very rewarding. It may put you in harms way at times, it may lead to ridicule, people might think you crazy but it fills the life with so much meaning.

    As I move to improve the integrity of my own life I see more peace in it.

    So is this more peaceful life a good life? For me it is.

    ReplyDelete
  2. To live a good life one must find a way to focus most time and attention on the really important things.... and this is much harder than it sounds.

    ReplyDelete
  3. One must also find a way to produce powerful results in those few areas that really matters by learning to think effectively.

    ReplyDelete
  4. 1 Non-judging: A focus on judging experience locks in a particular reaction, categorises "good" and "bad" experiences. Just watch.
    2 Patience: A form of wisdom. Being completely open to each moment.
    3 A beginner's mind: Our thinking and beliefs about what we "know" get in the ways of seeing things as they really are. Each moment is unique and contains unique possibilities.
    4 Trust: ...in oneself, not discounting feelings but listening to them.
    5 Non-striving: Non-doing. Just pay attention to what is happening.
    6 Acceptance: Seeing things as they are in the present instead of wasting energy on anger and denial. "It is just the way it is".
    7 Letting go: Some thoughts/experiences are elevated or suppressed eg letting go to go to sleep.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Good Life?
    Daily realise my dreams & wishes and make the best possible effort to reach (a part of) my goals. Laying down my head at the end of a busy day, I aim to be satisfied with my attempts. Seeing things in the right perspective, not being too hard on one another. Giving a little bit more than receiving, gives my life more value.
    Wishing everybody a Good Life ;-)

    Petra Klaver KlaverPlan

    ReplyDelete
  6. To be thankfull for this moment. To be open for something bigger than myself.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Live in tune, moment by moment, with the unforced rhythms of Grace.

    It encompasses so much more than any one sentence ( including the one above ), paragraph, book, or even a life- time can explain. But as a follower of Jesus, I believe it can only be done while walking on "the Life Path" of God's Will.

    Also, in our Western culture we like to come up with 4...7... or 12 "steps" or a "how-to plan". But God is much more creative and imaginative than that so we can't simplify how to live this life, even though we'd like to. It's way TOO much to Twitter about. ; )

    ReplyDelete

Enter your email address:

Delivered by FeedBurner