Defining Living Well

February 26, 2017

I wrote about living well last time, but what does it mean to live well? How do we define it?

Some might get really specific at this point and start listing things that you must do if you wish to be defined as living well. Such lists are very popular on the Interwebs and in magazines. "Ten traits of highly successful people!" And that's fine, but what if you can't do all ten of those things? Are you a failure? There will always be people with greater and lesser talents than you. There are some people who you will just never be able to be as good as and others who will never be able to be as good as you. I'm sure that we could declare this to be unfair, but it's reality, so we're better served accepting it and then figuring out how to proceed on from there.

So if living well isn't a clickbait article full of do's and don't's, then what is it? I have arrived at a conclusion about that, after living 50 years on this earth. I've made mistakes and I've made some amazing decisions. I've done very good things and very foolish things. I absolutely do not know everything, yet I've collected a little wisdom as I've proceeded through life. I understand that the world likes to use wealth and popularity to rank people and that we cannot change that. But we don't have to use the world's scorecard. I like having enough financial resources to provide for my family and enjoy having friends and family that love me and co-workers who respect me, but I'm not rich and I'm not famous. With all of that being true, I believe that I am living well.

I believe that living well is doing the best you can in every area of your life, utilizing what you have and what you know.

Continue reading →

Living Well

February 11, 2017

Every so often, someone will quote that modern proverb about how the best revenge is to live well. It's technically correct but woefully incomplete, because the best response to any situation, be it positive or negative, is to live well. Our interactions with people fall on many different parts of a spectrum. Some interactions are very positive, some are neutral and others are bad. That's just how life happens and while we wish everyone was super polite and cheerful, it is not to be. Sometimes the interaction is bad enough that appropriate authorities need to be alerted or summoned, but such drastic situations are still mercifully infrequent.

If you've ever been in a position to lead people, you will be fully aware that you really can't tell people what to do. This seems obvious with volunteers, but to a very great extent, it is also true of employees. If an employee doesn't want to do what the boss asks, they'll do anything, from hide, to take sick days to just plain quit on the spot. You really can't make anyone do anything. The only person who we can have any control over is ourselves.

Therefore, we should concern ourselves little with seeking to affect other people's lives and rather concentrate on guiding our own life as well as we may. You have the liberty to set the tone of your life. If you wish to live in an environment of respect and dignity, then start behaving that way towards everyone that you meet or interact with. They may decide to treat you poorly, but you have no control over them anyway. Simply choose to interact with them the least amount possible and continue on with your choice to act with respect and dignity.

Within the bounds of random chance, you are the author of your life story, so remember to proceed as you have chosen and do not let others direct the plot twists for you. Write your life story as a success. Write a mighty tale where good deeds are done and brave decisions get made. In short, live well. Given that the alternative is not attractive, who wouldn't want to live well.

Continue reading →