This quote by Philip James Bailey is a profound reminder that the quality of our lives is more important than the quantity. But what does it mean to live well? How can we make the most of our time on this planet?
In this article, we will explore some insights from philosophy and science on how to live well. We will also share some practical tips on how to apply these insights to your daily life.
What is Living Well?
Living well is a subjective concept that may vary from person to person. However, some common themes can be found in different philosophical and scientific perspectives on what constitutes a good life, some of which are listed below;
Living well means being happy and satisfied with what you have in your life. Happiness is not just a fleeting emotion, but a stable and lasting state of well-being.
Happiness can be influenced by both external factors (such as income, health, relationships, etc.) and internal factors (such as personality, values, attitudes, etc.).
Living well means having a sense of purpose and direction in your life. It is not something given to you, but something that you create for yourself.
Meaning can be derived from various sources, such as your work, your hobbies, your family, your community, your spirituality, etc.
Living well means being a good person and acting in accordance with your moral principles. Virtue is not just a set of rules or obligations, but a character trait that guides your decisions and behaviors.
Virtue can be cultivated by practicing habits of excellence, such as courage, honesty, generosity, wisdom etc.
Living well means reaching your full potential and expressing your unique talents and strengths. Flourishing is not just a matter of achievement or success, but a matter of growth and development.
Flourishing can be enhanced by engaging in activities that challenge you, inspire you, and make you feel alive.
How to Live Well: 7 Tips from Philosophy and Science
Now that we have a general idea of what living well means, but the question is how can we achieve it?
Here are some tips from philosophy and science that can help you live well:
Tip 1: Find Your Ikigai
Finding your ikigai can help you discover your passion, your talent, your mission, and your value.
To find your ikigai, ask yourself these 4 questions:
- What do you love to do?
- What are you good at doing?
- What does the world need from you?
- What can you get paid for doing?
Try to find a balance between these four aspects and pursue your ikigai with enthusiasm and dedication.
Tip 2: Practice Gratitude
Gratitude is the appreciation of what you have and what you experience in your life. Gratitude can boost your happiness, your health, your relationships, and your resilience.
To practice gratitude, try these 3 steps:
- Notice the good things in your life, big or small, and acknowledge them as gifts.
- Express your gratitude to yourself, to others, or to a higher power, either verbally or in writing.
- Reflect on how your life would be different without these good things, and how they enrich your life.
Make gratitude a daily habit and enjoy its benefits.
Tip 3: Cultivate Mindfulness
Mindfulness is the awareness of the present moment, without judgment or distraction. Mindfulness can improve your mental and physical well-being, your focus, your creativity, and your emotional intelligence.
To cultivate mindfulness, try these 4 practices:
- Pay attention to your breath, your body, your sensations, your thoughts, and your emotions, as they arise and pass away.
- Observe your experience with curiosity, openness, and acceptance, without trying to change it or avoid it.
- Bring your attention back to the present moment, whenever you notice that it has wandered to the past or the future.
- Incorporate mindfulness into your daily activities, such as eating, walking, working, etc.
Make mindfulness a part of your lifestyle and experience its benefits.
Tip 4: Seek Eudaimonia
Eudaimonia is a Greek word that means “human flourishing” or “the good life”. It is the ultimate goal of living well, according to Aristotle and other ancient philosophers.
Eudaimonia is not just a state of happiness, but a state of excellence and virtue.
To seek eudaimonia, try these 5 steps:
- Identify your core values and principles, and align your actions with them.
- Develop your character strengths and virtues, and use them to overcome your weaknesses and vices.
- Pursue your goals and aspirations, and strive for excellence and mastery in your chosen domains.
- Contribute to the common good, and serve a cause greater than yourself.
- Enjoy the process, and celebrate your achievements and progress.
Make eudaimonia your ultimate aim and live well.
Tip 5: Embrace Stoicism
Stoicism is a school of philosophy that teaches how to live well in a world that is unpredictable, uncertain, and beyond our control.
Stoicism can help you cope with stress, adversity, and negative emotions, and live with wisdom, courage, and self-control.
To embrace stoicism, try these 3 principles:
- Distinguish between what you can control and what you cannot control, and focus on the former, while accepting the latter.
- Use reason and logic to guide your judgments and actions, and avoid being swayed by impulses and passions.
- Live according to nature, and follow the universal laws of morality and justice.
Make stoicism your philosophy of life and live well.
Tip 6: Apply Positive Psychology
Positive psychology is a branch of psychology that studies the science of happiness and well-being.
Positive psychology can help you enhance your positive emotions, your positive traits, and your positive relationships, and live with optimism, hope, and resilience.
To apply positive psychology, try these 4 strategies:
- Savor the positive moments in your life, and relive them in your memory or share them with others.
- Perform acts of kindness, and spread joy and compassion to yourself and others.
- Express your authentic self, and pursue your interests and passions.
- Build your social support, and nurture your connections with your family, friends, and community.
Make positive psychology your science of living well and live well.
Tip 7: Learn from the Masters
The masters are the people who have lived well and left a legacy of wisdom and inspiration for us to follow.
The masters can be historical figures, such as philosophers, scientists, artists, leaders, etc., or contemporary figures, such as mentors, teachers, role models, etc.
Learning from the masters can help you gain valuable insights, perspectives, and guidance on how to live well.
To learn from the masters, try these 3 methods:
- Read their books, articles, speeches, interviews, etc., and absorb their knowledge and ideas.
- Watch their videos, documentaries, movies, etc., and observe their actions and behaviors.
- Imitate their habits, routines, practices, etc., and emulate their qualities and skills.
Make the masters your teachers and live well.
Living well is not a matter of chance, but a matter of choice. You can choose to live well by following some tips from philosophy and science as discussed above.
These tips can help you improve your happiness, your meaning, your virtue, and your flourishing, and make your life worth living.
We hope you enjoyed this article and found it useful and inspiring. If you have any feedback, questions, or suggestions, please feel free to leave a comment below.
How do you live well? What are your tips and tricks for living well? Please share your thoughts and experiences with us.
Thank you for reading and remember: It matters not how long we live, but how.