Defining the Good Life for Yourself

good-lifeI find it interesting the range of answers I receive when I ask what different people consider to be “The Good Life.” When talking to folks that work from home or are considering it, I get very different answers than when I ask people working the corporate ladder. The first group tends to value life as a whole, where their career pursuits mesh well with family, friends, travel, and life experiences.

We all have to define for ourselves what we consider to be the Good Life. Money, fame, and prestige may be part of that, but if we look deeper, it’s rarely the foundation.

An exercise I find useful for getting to your real desires is what I call the “What For…” technique. Ask someone (or have someone ask you) what they want out of life, and when they give an answer ask, “What for?” When they answer, ask it again, and again. Eventually we get to the heart of their longing. So when they say “I want to make lots of money,” ask “What for?” When they say “to buy stuff,” again ask “What For?” Carrying this to its eventual conclusion, we end up with their desire to control their own life, and be appreciated. Sometimes it’s a quick trip, other times meandering. But this is a good way to determine what you’re really looking for.

Some of us have a clear picture of the Good Life, and others not so much. More often, our picture is actually our parents’ picture, or our friends’ picture, or Budweiser’s picture, or People magazine’s picture. In order to find true satisfaction, we all have to find our own definition, not one that’s dictated to us.

Spend some time imagining what your perfect day would be like. What would you be doing? How would you spend your time? Then ask “What For?” to find the core of those things that make up your perfect day, and your perfect life. Once you have that basis of what you truly want out of life, you have a strong foundation on which to build the Good Life.