A Guide to the Good Life
A Guide to the Good Life
I recently read an article on BigThink (http://bigthink.com), about Benjamin Franklin who, throughout his life, lived to a prescribed set of virtues. A guide to the good life of sorts which he wrote and redrafted throughout the course of his whole life.
So, in the honour of a great idea, here are ten virtues by which I try to live my life every day. These are the sort of ideas and guild lines I try to instil into my children's minds and what I want to pass down to them when I leave this mortal coil. So here go:
1. Be happy for no reason. If there is nothing dangerous or life threatening in your current situation then there is absolutely no reason to be unhappy. It's up to you.
2. Always have an attitude of gratitude. Others pray for what you have. Don't take it for granted and say thank you for it everyday.
3. Give generously. Give without thought of self gratification or reward. If everyone did this the world would want for nothing.
4. Learn how to meditate. Having a practice of any kind is food for the soul but meditation is by far the most physically, mentally and spiritually rewarding of all the ancient practices.
5. Meditate everyday for at least 10 minutes. Now you've learned how to meditate and you've developed a practice, use it and keep it going throughout your whole life. Many success people are known to have a daily routine which tends to include a period of meditation, usually in the morning. It creates heads space and allows the body to rest. Your body, mind and soul will thank you for it.
6. Endeavour to seek the solution to a problem and see there are only unthought solutions, not problems.
7. Live without beliefs. You either know a thing for a fact or you don't. Allow your ideas to be disproved or developed.
8. Health really is the greatest wealth. Learning to listen to your body is essential as you mature. Noticing the colour of your urine for signs of dehydration or seeing thin red lines in the whites of your eyes caused by toxins. Counter acting these signals by eating healthier and in a balanced way, eating the right amounts, doing the odd bit of exercise and living a fulfilled active life will extend your life span and leave you feeling happier and more focused during the day.
9. Never idolise money. Money is literally a means to an end. A way of quantifying an exchange of any kind and nothing more. It isn't 'money' that buys the mansion of your dreams; it's the hard work behind the money that buys it. Idolise your ideas, hopes and dreams and recognise that money has no value other than the value YOU add to it.
10. Learn as many words as you can. Words are the key to both comprehension and wisdom. To understand a new word means to understand a whole new avenue of thought. Learn as many new words as possible and your intellect and comprehension will increase exponentially.
So there we have it. A comprehensive list of virtues to live by. I have no doubt that the above will evolve and even erode in parts over time, perhaps a sudden streak of devout Christianity after a religious discovery leads me to change my idea on beliefs and faith? Or maybe I become obsessed with money in my sixties and change my views, hoarding it and glorifying like a modern Scrooge.
Either way, I think the idea of keeping such a list is pretty timeless. Even if the list is chopped and changed over time, writing a list of rules to follow is, in my view, one of the best ways to keep yourself in check everyday and a fun way to learn and evolve. And after, isn't that what we're all here for?