The good life means different things to different people. But most would agree that it involves being happy and living in harmony with others and the world around you. Before you can truly live the good life, however, it’s important to figure out what makes you truly happy and then how to go about achieving it. This guide to living the good life will help you with all of that.
What is the good life?
Defining a good life may sound simple, but there are many different opinions. A modern perspective of a good life is based on Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. He believed that when all five levels of need are met (physiological, safety, love/belonging, esteem, and self-actualization), then an individual is in a state of self-actualization. If a person achieves these needs through their own creative expression they will be happy as they are living their best possible life.
Not every pursuit leads to happiness
Psychologists have known for a long time that there are two kinds of well-being. The hedonic well-being (pleasure) and eudaimonic well-being (meaning). The latter—which is characterized by feelings of accomplishment, autonomy, purpose in life, personal growth, and positive relationships with others—may be a better indicator of success than achieving our hedonic goals. But what can we do to pursue happiness effectively?
Some research suggests that pursuing intrinsic values like positive relationships and making use of natural strengths leads to increased eudaimonic well-being. And generally speaking, having a big vision for your life may help you live longer.
The good life according to philosophy
Everyone strives for a good life, but what does that mean? In classical philosophy, there were many ways of understanding what it means to live well. There is no single good life; rather, there are several components of a well-lived life. In ancient Greece, philosophers argued that wisdom was critical. But in China they thought that one should cultivate virtue by living a just and compassionate life.
In India, they said you should go beyond virtue by seeking ultimate truth through meditation and self-discipline. No matter where you look throughout history or around the world today. There is evidence of people working hard to achieve good lives. The only problem is that we often forget how those who came before us understood what a good life meant!
Aristotle on Happiness, Virtue, and Unhappiness
Aristotle wrote in his Nicomachean Ethics that achieving happiness, or a good life, was very much about virtue. According to Aristotle, people who have good moral character are more likely to be happy than those who do not; furthermore, he said people achieve happiness through virtuous activities like helping others.
Aristotle also suggested that virtue is concerned with choice, with regard both to anger and friendliness, which is why people must act virtuously in order for a happy life. With all of these ideas about virtue in mind. Let’s take a look at what some of history’s greatest philosophers had to say about how we can find our way toward an enjoyable existence.
In an increasingly globalized world, many people find themselves feeling less and less connected with their local communities. Community bonds have historically been a vital source of happiness for many people, so increasing levels of isolation can contribute greatly to feelings of despair. Though relocating to rural areas may not be possible for everyone, there are ways you can reconnect with your community through work, hobbies, or even volunteering at a local charity. Being part of something bigger than yourself is one of the best things about being human—embrace that!
You don’t need to drop everything and move into a cabin in Vermont just yet; sometimes all it takes is finding out what matters most to you personally. For example, if spending time with your loved ones makes you happy, then scheduling more activities together could increase how good life feels over time.
Being Fulfilled in Work
The idea of a good life will differ from person to person, but one thing all people should value is feeling fulfilled at work. The good news is that each of us can take steps toward achieving a fulfilling career by looking for meaning in our work and tackling issues head-on when they come up.
For example, you might have discovered that your job isn’t providing many opportunities for growth or advancement. Make sure you vocalize your frustration at these shortfalls if nothing changes; otherwise, there’s little chance you’ll ever feel satisfied in your career. On a lighter note, consider how meaningful opportunities can open up at work through programs like volunteer days or charity fundraisers.
Growing as a Person
Some people find that once they start earning a lot of money, they stop working as hard. And yet, many of them get bored quite easily—they miss working on projects and having interesting conversations. If you want to live a meaningful life, you’ll have to grow as a person; see what you can do every day that will bring value to other people’s lives.
Money isn’t everything but doesn’t sell yourself short—don’t work on boring projects or with boring people if you don’t have to. Be ambitious in your career goals and passionate about whatever you are doing in your free time.
Relationships with friends, loved ones, colleagues, etc. are an essential part of a good life. We often talk about how our careers are central to our happiness but sometimes we can forget about those other parts of our lives that matter just as much. Maintaining relationships is often thought of as something we do because we want people in our lives—and sure, that’s part of it—but if you think about what you want from a relationship (beyond friendship) there are some basic things all relationships should provide for us. Things like mutual trust, respect, and being heard. Making time for relationships allows us to build those bonds between each other.
Living in an Ideal Community
When people think of an ideal community, they generally envision a group of people with similar values who have lots in common. However, forming a sense of community doesn’t always mean you must live among others who share your life philosophies or politics.
You can achieve an ideal living situation by surrounding yourself with people you love, respect, and appreciate—people who are thoughtful and caring individuals. Achieving happiness in life may be as simple as surrounding yourself with other like-minded people who are willing to lend a helping hand when needed.
When we help others, we often feel good about ourselves. While some people think that helping is a selfless act, research has shown that when we give back, we also end up giving to ourselves in ways that have both short-term and long-term benefits. People who volunteer tend to have higher levels of job satisfaction as well as lower stress levels than their non-volunteering counterparts.
Giving your time also can boost your health in unexpected ways; when you give back, you put yourself in contact with new ideas, helpful resources, and opportunities for growth—all things that will make you more successful down the road professionally.
The good life is not just about what you have, or what you make. Happiness, we’re told, comes from within. It’s about achieving fulfillment in every aspect of your life: home, relationships, and career. And then there are things that matter beyond everyday experience—helping others less fortunate than yourself; making a contribution to humankind that goes beyond your own little circle of friends and family. If you strive for these things – which many people do – then simply getting by won’t cut it anymore.
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