When it comes to living really well, many confuse doing so with looking good, feeling good, or having the goods. This leads people to chase after such goods as fake tans, plastic surgery, feel good drugs, virtual friendships, the mansion on the hill—preferably overlooking the water, making and spending as much as they possibly can, and erroneously and irrationally believing that they can and, worse, must have it all. We gullibly, foolishly and unquestionably believe the ads designed to sell us this nonsense.
We know these things don’t ultimately satisfy us and in fact, as we compare ourselves to others, we despair even more. Yet, the pursuit for these empty things never ends. But living really well is about simpler pleasures such as compassionate acts, striving to achieve goals, healthy relationships, a personal sense of fulfillment, giving to others, inner peace, what your children think of you. It’s about a good life, filled with love, peace, joy and optimal health. It takes faith, continuous awe and gratitude to live really well, not money and bespoke suits.
The dimensions of health and wellbeing do not rely on the absence of disease, or infirmity, but rather rest upon the dimensions of physical, mental, emotional, environmental, spiritual and social components that are balanced and integrated. This is what Aristotle in the 4th century in his series of lectures that were known as “Nicomachean Ethics” described as eudaimonia, or human flourishing. This is the innate ability that we all have to live with continuing happiness, penetrating wisdom, optimal well being, genuine love and compassion.
One way to think about this comes from Dr. Martin Seligman in his book, ”Flourish.” He proposes a simple acronym, PERMA, help creating the good life, or, living really well. Nothing to do with goods, but rather, positive emotions, being fully engaged in life’s activities, having healthy relationships and social connections, finding meaning and purpose in life, and having a sense of accomplishment. Sort of what I said above, but with a pretty hip acronym.
I won’t claim these 10 rules are the only rules, the best rules, or the ones that will be best for you to live really well. I’ve found them to be very helpful. This is an incomplete list, for certain. Give them a chance and see if you derive more pleasure, satisfaction and fulfillment from your life.
1. Why worry? It’s the most unproductive thing you can do. It takes as much energy to believe that all will be well as to worry that it won’t. Both are predictions, so why live predicting the worst?
2. Why be fearful? Most of the things you fear won’t come to pass. Change your perception and you’ll stop scaring yourself. The link is always what you think. Apply this favorite saying of mine by Steve Maraboli, “As I look back on my life, I realize that every time I thought I was being rejected from something that I thought was good, I was actually being re-directed to something a whole lot better.”
3. You can’t cross a bridge until you come to it, so don’t try. And don’t put up your umbrella before it starts raining either. Remember that you often have to go through closed doors to get to an open door.
4. Love, be purposeful, express gratitude, laugh and put family first. Yes, those are more than just one rule. But they are all important.
5. Taking your problems to bed makes for a poor bedfellow. Leave your problems in another room, and you’ll sleep better. Turn the page, don’t sweat it, don’t regret it, move forward and forget it. Create deep, restful sleep for yourself.
6. Other people care for their problems better than you, so don’t borrow theirs. And while you’re at it, don’t let others dictate how you live your life. Delete, unsubscribe and unfriend those who drag you down. You can’t live positively with negativity pulling at you.
7. You can’t relive yesterday’s good or bad, so focus on now. It’s best to drive looking through the windshield, not through the rear view mirror. Instead of “I am….” and filling in the blank with negativity, replace those baseless, irrational thoughts with positive ones. Start your day off as positively as you can, ideally with a grateful thought before you get out of bed. Setback? They simply mean you are closer to your dreams being fulfilled.
8. Be as fit and healthy in your mind and body as you can be—proper exercise, wise nutrition and rational thinking all help. So will staying away from anyone who smokes and avoiding any other toxins you can identify. You won’t get to 100 if you don’t live to 60.
9. Your frustrations and anger are rooted in your insisting that your life must, should and ought be different than it is—this is the ultimate obstacle to taking positive steps forward. DIE…demanding, insisting and expecting that life be the way you think it must be is a sure-fire way to, well, DIE.
10. Develop “regardless thinking,” so that no matter what happens in your life—and stuff will–you choose to be happy, nevertheless. That includes problems with money, relationships and jobs. Say “thank you” instead of “but what if…”