The paths to a life well-lived are varied and diverse; each life, each individual unique. As we struggle, strive, and aspire; seeking to survive, succeed, and thrive, we can experience a sense of being adrift, alone, uncertain, and afraid. At times, longing more for answers than for guidance, we look for recipes. In the unattainable quest for simple solutions, I’ve turned to many sources, including “how to” lists to well-being. There are so many versions.
4 Things Resilient People Do
5 Things Happy People Do Every Day
7 Habits of Remarkably Giving People
10 Things Productive People Do Before Bed
12 Things Successful People Do Before Breakfast
15 Things Highly Confident People Don’t Do
16 Things Positive People Do Differently In Their Everyday Lives
18 Things Highly Creative People Do Differently
19 Things Remarkable People Think Every Day
Incorporating the wisdom of such lists and other similar guidance, at times with unbridled enthusiasm, I’ve often mistaken comfort for true well-being. With a persistent smile on my face, sometimes masking tears or panic just below the surface, I’ve navigated through a number of serious challenges in my life and in the lives of some of those closest to me. Through it all I’ve been mostly fine and yet, paradoxically, the very approaches enabling me to achieve the resilience, happiness, altruism, productivity, success, confidence, positivity, creativity and more that I have sought have robbed me of the benefit of blessings, albeit blessings in disguise, that can emerge out of a bold grappling with what is most painful.
Realizing I had avoided struggle necessary for growth I’ve recalibrated, tempering enthusiasm for qualities I had once valued without question, seeking greater measure and balance.
- Resilience with the courage to linger in hardship, obstacle and pain; not always bouncing back so quickly, seeking wisdom and purpose within difficult experiences
- Happiness with an embrace of a more complete emotional life, searching for the understanding sadness, fear and other painful emotions have to offer
- Giving with a readiness to accept the support of others, humbly recognizing dependence
- Productivity with unapologetic delight in both play and relaxation, allowing for a celebration of unproductive time
- Success with a willingness to be vulnerable
- Confidence with self-doubt, arising from honest appraisal of weaknesses
- Positivity with awareness of negative reactions and the insights potentially revealed
- Creativity with the wisdom to know when to follow along well traveled paths
- Striving to be remarkable with appreciation and acceptance of the ordinary within
In life, as in baking, ingredients without thoughtful measure will either underwhelm or overwhelm. I have experienced both extremes. In a shift to an embrace of balance, I continue unabashedly to seek guidance to a life well lived. And yet, I now deliberately strive to resist recipes, simple solutions, or even the best ingredients added without attention to measure.
I invite you to join the exploration of ingredients and measure in a well-lived life.
What additional qualities in addition to resilience, happiness, altruism, productivity, success, confidence, positivity, and creativity might we consider?
How might we seek not only ingredients for a well-lived life, but also appropriate measure?
What other questions might we ask?