Cedric Johnson, Ph.D and Kristine MacKain, Ph.D
If we were to ask: “What does it mean to live the good life?”, many of us would immediately think, “financial security”.
However, once that need is satisfied, and even if it is never satisfied, we can still live a highly meaningful life, a “good life”.
If we define a “good life” in terms of realizing our highest values, we become rich in the very deepest sense of the word.
To begin to define what is a “good life” for you, ask yourself: “What do I most deeply value in my life?”
Maybe it’s one or more of the following:
- Making significant contributions to the welfare of others
- Achieving and celebrating excellence in pursuits
- Expressing one’s creative (eg, artistic) self
- Experiencing awe and adventure in travel, Nature, and/or everyday life
- Seeking and appreciating beauty in Nature, humanity, and/or the Arts
- Sustaining a satisfying emotional connection with others
Once you have identified your highest value(s), you need to link that value to a specific purpose. Then, you need to act on that purpose.
A couple of years ago, we met a very “rich” man who builds houses for the desperately poor in his community in central Mexico. He told us he had found his life’s calling. In his former life, this man was a successful administrator at a university who loved his job and his life, living on 15 acres in a bucolic countryside. He often told people that he would happily die at his desk. Then one day while visiting a Mexican town, he saw a community of families living with no plumbing in handmade shacks that leaked badly in the rain. He recalled how he had stumbled upon a larger calling that triggered a deeply held
….value: to make a significant contribution. He had found a purpose that expressed that deeply held value.
….purpose (or calling): to meet the needs of the extremely poor in his community by providing them with permanent shelter. This led to his
…..action: to create an organization to build 500 square foot cottages for families without permanent shelter that would include an interior family living space, two private bedrooms, and an indoor toilet.
To date, this man and his organization have built over 80 homes for families who were living, literally, with no solid roof over their heads.
How can YOU take the values you hold most dear to find a purpose in your (community, work and/or personal) life that you can act on now?