Many people equate the good life with being wealthy and thereby divested from all responsibilities. They want to throw away the alarm clock and sleep until noon everyday if they want to. They want fast cars, flashy clothes and exotic locales to spend their time in.
That is what drives many people to buy lottery tickets, deal drugs or get involved in get rich quick schemes. That is also what drives many young athletes to get good enough, one way or another, so they can be endorsed by sponsors with deep pockets.
What wanting all these things does is reinforces the fact that they do not have them, that they are not happy with what they have. If only this happens or that happens, if she says this or he does that – then they will be happy.
I have known many people who have struggled and attained their fortune, struggled to maintain it and continually lived in fear of losing it all and having to start over. They are treading water as fast as they can. They have achieved all the goals they set out for – all but one. They are still not happy.
Recognition, money, status and all the trappings that go with it certainly will make your life more comfortable, but do they really make you happy?
“The reward for a good life is a good life,” a friend of mine likes to say. The good life in this case is not the one of wealth and self-indulgence I began the post with. It is the kind of life one acquires by embracing worthy ideals and doing good things.
My good life began when I faced the obstacles life had offered me and learned the valuable lessons they brought with them; it grew when I learned the meaning of integrity, of trust, and of honouring others; it came to life when I learned to communicate more effectively with others, with myself and with a power greater than myself; and it blossomed when I truly opened myself to acceptance of others and came to love them just as they are.
Fear and love cannot co-exist. Choose love!
We are constituted so that simple acts of kindness, such as giving to charity or expressing gratitude, have a positive effect on our long-term moods. The key to the happy life, it seems, is the good life: a life with sustained relationships, challenging work, and connections to community.