Living life is about examining life through reason, nature’s greatest gift to humanity. The importance of reason in sensing and examining life is evident in all phases of life– from the infant who strains to explore its new surroundings to the grandparent who actively reads and assesses the headlines of the daily paper. Reason lets human beings participate in life, to be human is to think, appraise, and explore the world, discovering new sources of material and spiritual pleasure.
If you want to live a good life, if you want to do good work and make a difference in the world, then you have to go deep. You have to explore uncomfortable questions like, “Why am I doing this?” and, “Just because I can do this, should I?”
Below are 5 secrets to living a good life.
1. It’s not (just) about you
You were lied to, when you were told that if you worked enough hours, got enough stuff, and followed enough rules, that you’d be okay. That you’d be happy. But now, hopefully, you know the truth: We only find fulfillment when we let go of comfort, when we risk losing everything. That’s what a really good story, and incidentally what a really good life, is all about.
2. Passion is not optional
It’s not enough to simply commit to a task and do it really well for the rest of your life. You were put on this earth to do something, something specific. Until you do, you will be anxious and on-edge. Passion is what we need to have a fulfilled, whole life. Of course, passion alone won’t necessarily get you everything you want, but without it, you will die a slow, bitter death.
3. Just because it’s hard doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do it
Anything worth doing is difficult. It will require courage and strength from you; otherwise, it’s probably not worth doing.
Nobody goes to the gym to feel good. They go there to sweat and scream and stretch themselves. And they leave better versions of the people that entered an hour before. If you’re going to grow, life will at times be hard. Get used to it.
4. Fear is your friend
FDR was wrong. We shouldn’t fear fear. We should embrace fear as a part of life. Fear is the flinch, telling us that we could die. It reminds us of what’s dangerous and why we’re prone to avoid pain.
Fear is good. It keeps us alive, but it also keeps us compliant (if we’re not careful). My rule of thumb is this: if I don’t feel afraid of doing something, then I’m probably playing it too safe.
5. Values are better than goals
If you don’t know where you stand on work and friends family when an opportunity to succeed at something comes along, you’ll screw it up.
The best way to get your life in order? Screw the goals and skip the plans. Jump straight to values, your non-negotiables for how you do business, treat your loved ones, and do life. Everything else falls under this.
Sure, plans are good and goals are fine. But even Hitler had goals. The Nazis had a very well-designed plan. That’s not enough to live a good life. You have to have values, good ones, in order for your life to make a positive dent in this universe.
Here’s hoping you do (and God willing, me too).