What is A “Good Life”?
What constitutes a “good life” may not be identical from one person to another. This notion, however, can be tracked back to Aristotle’s eudaimonia. “Eudaimonia” means happiness or welfare, which was used by Aristotle as the center of his ideas on ethics and political philosophy.
Happiness or welfare makes every effort of any human progress worthwhile, in which virtue and moral wisdom are expected to reside. It’s not about euphoria or instant gratification.
In further development of philosophy, numerous models have grown out of it: effectiveness, self-efficacy, mindfulness, awareness, and flow. The “flow” is a concept further developed by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, PhD, which is a state of focused concentration. It is also known as a state of intrinsic motivation, in which the activity provides both the motivation and the satisfaction to make one completely immersed in the activity.
In the flow state, time and place don’t really matter, as the individual is likely to be completely involved with tasks at hand and forget about things outside. In the “state of flow,” skill meets opportunity like fingers meet a pair of gloves. By attaining this state of mind, we can expect to see the best works and the most time-efficient production. Thus, the adage “when you love what you do, you don’t feel like working.”
Martin Seligman, PhD proposed the four pillars of positive psychology, which are: virtue, meaning, resilience, and well-being. He also added “relationship” to the mix recently. Achieving all five would take you to experience the so-called “good life.” Yes, “good life” here is about a state of mind where you enjoy good conversations, contemplate what they mean, and enjoy a higher quality of inner life.
Whether you have achieved the so-called “good life” or not, you should ask yourself these questions.
- First, do I enjoy what I do? To what level do I enjoy it?
- Second, does it (the activity I enjoy doing) make my life more meaningful or meaningless?
- Third, does it make me more resilient in facing life’s problems?
- Fourth, does it make me a better person in terms of caring for others and myself?
- Fifth, does it provide me with better life quality (particularly inner life)?
If your answers are “yes,” then you’re likely to have found the “it” activity and that it is making your life more meaningful and colorful. What a good life you are having.
Photo Credit: jaume rosselló mir
S. Bev, J. (2012). What is A “Good Life”?. Psych Central. Retrieved on July 28, 2015, from http://blogs.psychcentral.com/good-life/2012/03/05/what-is-a-good-life/