This blog post is also featured on The Huffington Post.
The question is posed by Arianna Huffington in her new book Thrive.
My answer now is different than it would have been 25 years ago.
My belief now is that there is no one-size-fits-all answer. I think a “good life” has similar elements among people, but how we attain it and what we put into the boxes can be so dissimilar.
Here is what I think.
A good life is when your outlook is that you have more good days than bad, when life is generally a blessing not a burden.
A person’s “bad” day is as subjective as that person. One person may think a bad day is when he stubs his toe. Another doesn’t think his day is bad until he’s buried under 10 feet of mud in a sudden mudslide out west. “Bad” to one is not “bad” to another. Our outlook determines what we consider “good” or “bad.”
A good life is one in which we feel loved.
We take comfort in connection with others. The warmth that comes from connection makes us stronger. If we don’t feel alone in the world or that the wolf is at the door, we feel safer.
A good life has you feeling success.
Just like good and bad days, the feeling of success is as unique as we are. Success to some is becoming the President of the United States while success to others is holding a job on the assembly line giving them the ability to keep a roof over their family’s head and food on the dinner table. Success is never power and money unless that is what the individual deems it is.
A good life allows you to laugh and feel joy.
You may get laughter from playing pranks on others or watching funny movies. Where it comes from and what makes you laugh, again, unique. What I laugh at is likely not what you laugh at. One of my laugh-out-loud funniest movies was When Harry Met Sally; Frank barely cracked a smile, forget about laughing.
A good life holds beauty.
Whether beauty is nature, aesthetically pleasing meals, a child’s sweet smile, spring flowers in a vase, or the attractiveness of a lover, a key to a good life is seeing beauty around us on a regular basis. Witnessing beauty causes our blood pressure to lower and stress to reduce.
A good life has you putting into every week some things you love to do.
Again, what I love to do isn’t what you love to do. Only we can say what we love to do as odd or crazy as those things may be. I always drive the road more beautiful and appealing to me, even if it’s a longer route. That little something gives me pleasure.
I’ve read a good life is not getting what you desire, but desiring what you get.
People who generally feel they’re living a good life often have an outlook that creates that feeling for them regardless of what they have. There is no one right way and you and I alone have the power to create our good lives.
What does your good life look like? Thanks for asking, Arianna.