There is more to being happy than most of us realise. For example, we are not very sure what money has to do with it. Many of us think it is all about having lots of money. The truth is that we just need to be financially secure. To have enough to pay for the mortgage, the rent, the light, the heat and the food. And to save a little for treats and for the rainy day. Research shows that more money than that has very little to do with how happy you are.
Which shows that there is more to living a well lived life than meets the eye. And this being the case we need to have a number of rules of thumb to help us to live a life worth living.
Rule of thumb No. 1 for living a life well lived
To improve how you solve problems is the first rule of thumb for living a life well lived. All the things that make you happy have a downside to them. As Murphy’s Law puts it “If things can go wrong they will go wrong.”
Take for instance the joy of falling in love. When we do so we run the risk of rejection. If we get over this hurdle we then need to make sacrifices. And to deal with the conflicting interests of both parties. It is only when we learn to do this that love can make us truly happy.
Like every aspect of life to be in love has its share of problems. To keep our relationship sweet we need to resolve them quickly. And an added plus is that how well we cope with these problems can deepen our love for one another. And add value to the quality of our life well lived.
Rule of thumb No. 2 for living a life well lived
Your happiness depends on how well you do in all the areas of your life. It is an outcome of how well you live your life rather than a goal in itself.
Life is a bit like a football match in which how well a team plays in all areas of the field leads to goals. And the goals lead to the final result. Happiness is a result. A benefit we get from our total involvement in life.
Happiness flows from a series of motivated activities. These are things you do that motivate you and make you feel good. This is usually because they require you to use one or more of your strengths. They are things you excel at and areas of behaviour you shine in. Doing them satisfies you and they help you to expand your sense of self. So our second rule of thumb for living a life well lived is to identify the things that motivate you. And make time to do them regularly.
Rule of thumb No. 3 for living a life well lived
As well as doing things that motivate you need other experiences too. Regular good experiences that move you emotionally and satisfy you intellectually. When you experience these it is good for you as they broaden your horizon. For example, a deep connection with others is essential for your well-being. Most of us try to do this by getting others to love and connect with us. When the trick is to work hard to truly love ourselves and then experience the joy of sharing this love with others. It is never too late to learn to take loving care of yourself and to use this as the basis for connecting with others. Other experiences that help are a deep understanding of nature, of love, of music and indeed tragedy. In fact any experience that calls for happiness as a fitting response and then the giving of that response.
Rule of thumb No. 4 for living a life well lived
“Only a life lived for others is a life worthwhile,” observed Albert Einstein. And how you define well-being for yourself is very important. For instance, if you see it only in terms of positive emotions you are not taking account of the reality of life. Because you need to allow for the set backs you will meet along the way. For we all have to cope with one or more tragedies in the course of our lifetime. And you also need to uphold social values and work to achieve them whether or not you do this in a spiritual or non-spiritual context.
You can take four steps to live a life well lived. One, learn to anticipate, identify and solve problems. Two, do the things that motivate you as often as you can. Three, first learn to love and value yourself and then share this love with others. Four, live your life for others and strive to contribute to the well-being of as many people as you possibly can.