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Published on July 16, 2020

How to Turn a Good Life into a Great Life

How to Turn a Good Life into a Great Life

“Life is short, enjoy it while it lasts.”

This kind of statement is common to those who believe that the essence of life is for personal pleasure, self-fulfillment, and enjoyment. Therefore, many seek to attain the “good life” with this mindset.

But what is good life and how can one attain it? Is it just enough to live a good life? What about moving from a seemingly good life to a great life?

This article considers what it means to live a good life and how you can transition from a rather good life to a great life.

Continue reading to learn more.

What Is a Good Life?

A good life can be described as a life that is self-satisfying and self-fulfilling. It is characterized by personal joy, fulfillment, and enjoyment of the small pleasures of life. When someone says their life is good, it means that they can access the basic things that give them comfort and pleasure.

Qualities of a Good Life

A good life is a combination of the experience of goodness in different areas. So when you have a good life, it can be said that you are healthy, happy, pleased, blessed, and have a good reputation.

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1. Health

Health is a state of feeling, looking, and being healthy. It refers to a state of complete emotional and physical well-being and is also referred to by the WHO as a resource of everyday life.[1]

Health is not just the absence of disease(s) but also the ability to perform your daily activities without the limitations of health. Without good health, it would be practically impossible to do or achieve the things that give us a good life.

2. Happiness

Happiness is a state of being satisfied with what you are seeing and the experience you are having. Although happiness is usually short-lived, it plays a significant role in triggering the enthusiasm required to achieve and live a good life.

3. Pleasure

Pleasure is an experience that makes us feel good. Different things give people pleasure. To some, it may be money, to others, it may be a loving and caring spouse, children, or the ability to access whatever they want at any point in time.

Although something is pleasant doesn’t mean it is good, but people often pursue different pleasures to make them feel good. As it is noted in Plato’s Gorgias[2],

“Pleasant is not the same as good but pleasure is to be pursued for the sake of good, and the good is that of which the presence makes us good.”

4. Peace

Peace is a state of physical, mental, and emotional calmness and the feeling of being secured. Peace does not necessarily mean the absence of challenges but the ability to stay afloat despite the storms. When one is at peace, the mind is free from worries and anxieties.

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5. Money

Money is an essential commodity in life. The lack of it can create stress but having enough money to take care of your needs can create an experience of a good life. The idea of pleasure being a component of the good life already signifies that there is a measure of satisfaction that can be gotten by the availability of money.

6. Good Reputation

A good life is not only characterized by what you do or enjoy for yourself, but it is also about the perception of others about you. A good name, the good book says, is better than riches. Integrity and character are required to earn a good reputation with people and this is also a very important component of the good life.

How to Transition From a Good Life to a Great Life

Living a good life is not good enough; you might just be living an average life. This is because unless you continue to grow, the things you cherish now might begin to slip out of your hand without growth.

Moreover, the real essence of life is not only in personal happiness, but it is also in growing continually, being the best version of yourself, and making meaningful impacts on others.

Therefore, to turn a good life into a great life, you have to begin to look beyond your personal pleasure and convenience. Below are seven things you can do to transit from a good life into a great life.

1. Be Committed to Growth

Never be complacent with any level of success you may achieve. This is because success can come in the way of progress.

As Myles Munroe puts it:

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“The greatest enemy of progress is your last success, you could become so proud of what you’ve already accomplished that you stop moving ahead to what you can still accomplish.”

Therefore, to transition to greatness, you have to keep the pace of progress. Move from one level of success to another and from average accomplishments to greater accomplishments.

2. Discover Your Passion

To achieve greater accomplishments in life, you need to discover and turn on your passion. Your passion represents your true desire and what you are wired to do. Your greatest source of motivation will likely come from your passion.

Passion creates “hunger for more” in you and produces the energy and drive required for living a great life. When you focus on what unleashes the energy in you, there is no limit to what you can accomplish.

3. Find your Life Purpose

Life is measured by its impact and not just by its accomplishment. Your purpose is the reason behind your existence. It is the impact you are meant to make in life. Purpose is unique in that purpose is not self-serving but people-serving.

Therefore, the focus of life should not only be about pleasing yourself but also going out of your way to help others, championing a cause, and transforming society. Most great people in history are not remembered for what they accomplished for themselves but by the impacts they made in the world.

4. Cultivate Personal Discipline

Average people revel in pleasure when they achieve little success, but great people celebrate their wins and go on to spur themselves up unto greater accomplishment. If you want to turn your goodness to greatness, you have to cultivate personal discipline. Be moderate with pleasure and concentrate your energy and resources on building greater dreams.

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5. Set Bigger Goals to Stretch Yourself

To achieve a greater level of success, you should set bigger goals that can stretch your abilities. You can’t recognize your capacities until you have placed a greater demand on yourself. Therefore, turn goodness into greatness by continually pushing your limits. Set lofty goals for yourself – goals that are big and ambitious and will take you out of your comfort zone to accomplish.

6. Build Your Network

Greatness in life will continue to be a mirage if you don’t cultivate the habit of building and nourishing your network. To network effectively, you will have to be clear about your networking goals. You will also have to be specific in identifying your networking prospects.

Networking is meant to be a mutual relationship. Therefore, you must bring value to the table when networking. People are often attracted to people of value.

When networking, consider connecting both vertically and horizontally; network with people above and below you as well as people of your own cadre. You will also win more people to yourself if you learn to lend a helping hand rather than being the one demanding help all the time.

7. Leverage on Technology

Technology can help you make a greater impact whether as an individual or with your organization. You can use technology to connect with new people of interest around the globe, and you can also use it to amplify whatever you are doing. Don’t be comfortable with only being influential in your immediate sphere. Use technology to reach new friends, clients, and prospects wherever you can find them on the globe.

Final Thoughts

Sometimes, we learn the greatest life lessons as kids, but we often discard them when we grow and become more sophisticated. An example is the St. Jerome’s rhyme below which summarizes the main point of this article:

“Good, better, best. Never let it rest. Until your good is better and your better is best.”

So, don’t be comfortable with living a good life but turn goodness into greatness by continually developing yourself, exercising your passion, setting bigger goals, making meaningful impacts on society.

More Tips on Living a Good Life

Featured photo credit: Daniel Salcius via unsplash.com

Reference

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Leon Ho

Founder & CEO of Lifehack

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Last Updated on August 6, 2020

6 Reasons Why You Should Think Before You Speak

6 Reasons Why You Should Think Before You Speak

We’ve all done it. That moment when a series of words slithers from your mouth and the instant regret manifests through blushing and profuse apologies. If you could just think before you speak! It doesn’t have to be like this, and with a bit of practice, it’s actually quite easy to prevent.

“Think twice before you speak, because your words and influence will plant the seed of either success or failure in the mind of another.” – Napolean Hill

Are we speaking the same language?

My mum recently left me a note thanking me for looking after her dog. She’d signed it with “LOL.” In my world, this means “laugh out loud,” and in her world it means “lots of love.” My kids tell me things are “sick” when they’re good, and ”manck” when they’re bad (when I say “bad,” I don’t mean good!). It’s amazing that we manage to communicate at all.

When speaking, we tend to color our language with words and phrases that have become personal to us, things we’ve picked up from our friends, families and even memes from the internet. These colloquialisms become normal, and we expect the listener (or reader) to understand “what we mean.” If you really want the listener to understand your meaning, try to use words and phrases that they might use.

Am I being lazy?

When you’ve been in a relationship for a while, a strange metamorphosis takes place. People tend to become lazier in the way that they communicate with each other, with less thought for the feelings of their partner. There’s no malice intended; we just reach a “comfort zone” and know that our partners “know what we mean.”

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Here’s an exchange from Psychology Today to demonstrate what I mean:

Early in the relationship:

“Honey, I don’t want you to take this wrong, but I’m noticing that your hair is getting a little thin on top. I know guys are sensitive about losing their hair, but I don’t want someone else to embarrass you without your expecting it.”

When the relationship is established:

“Did you know that you’re losing a lot of hair on the back of your head? You’re combing it funny and it doesn’t help. Wear a baseball cap or something if you feel weird about it. Lots of guys get thin on top. It’s no big deal.”

It’s pretty clear which of these statements is more empathetic and more likely to be received well. Recognizing when we do this can be tricky, but with a little practice it becomes easy.

Have I actually got anything to say?

When I was a kid, my gran used to say to me that if I didn’t have anything good to say, I shouldn’t say anything at all. My gran couldn’t stand gossip, so this makes total sense, but you can take this statement a little further and modify it: “If you don’t have anything to say, then don’t say anything at all.”

A lot of the time, people speak to fill “uncomfortable silences,” or because they believe that saying something, anything, is better than staying quiet. It can even be a cause of anxiety for some people.

When somebody else is speaking, listen. Don’t wait to speak. Listen. Actually hear what that person is saying, think about it, and respond if necessary.

Am I painting an accurate picture?

One of the most common forms of miscommunication is the lack of a “referential index,” a type of generalization that fails to refer to specific nouns. As an example, look at these two simple phrases: “Can you pass me that?” and “Pass me that thing over there!”. How often have you said something similar?

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How is the listener supposed to know what you mean? The person that you’re talking to will start to fill in the gaps with something that may very well be completely different to what you mean. You’re thinking “pass me the salt,” but you get passed the pepper. This can be infuriating for the listener, and more importantly, can create a lack of understanding and ultimately produce conflict.

Before you speak, try to label people, places and objects in a way that it is easy for any listeners to understand.

What words am I using?

It’s well known that our use of nouns and verbs (or lack of them) gives an insight into where we grew up, our education, our thoughts and our feelings.

Less well known is that the use of pronouns offers a critical insight into how we emotionally code our sentences. James Pennebaker’s research in the 1990’s concluded that function words are important keys to someone’s psychological state and reveal much more than content words do.

Starting a sentence with “I think…” demonstrates self-focus rather than empathy with the speaker, whereas asking the speaker to elaborate or quantify what they’re saying clearly shows that you’re listening and have respect even if you disagree.

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Is the map really the territory?

Before speaking, we sometimes construct a scenario that makes us act in a way that isn’t necessarily reflective of the actual situation.

A while ago, John promised to help me out in a big way with a project that I was working on. After an initial meeting and some big promises, we put together a plan and set off on its execution. A week or so went by, and I tried to get a hold of John to see how things were going. After voice mails and emails with no reply and general silence, I tried again a week later and still got no response.

I was frustrated and started to get more than a bit vexed. The project obviously meant more to me than it did to him, and I started to construct all manner of crazy scenarios. I finally got through to John and immediately started a mild rant about making promises you can’t keep. He stopped me in my tracks with the news that his brother had died. If I’d have just thought before I spoke…

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