Friday, September 9, 2011

What Makes a Good Life?

By Liza Cardona

Often people attempt to live their lives backwards; they try to have 
more things, or more money, in order to do more of what they want, so they will be happier. The way it actually works is the reverse. You must first be who you really are, then do what you need to do, 
in order to have what you want.  
~Margaret Young

How do you value your life? What makes the life you live a good one? If you could imagine yourself in the distant future, at 80 years of age what criteria would you use to indicate that you have lived a worthy, meaningful, and successful live?

A recent study by the Department of Psychology of the University of Toronto revealed the top 30 indicators for a good life. Religion, surprisingly was given the least importance while having close enduring friendships, followed by having a healthy and happy family made it to the top of the list.

So what does this mean? Happiness is, and will always be, our number one priority. People value friends, health and happiness more than money, or social status. Aristotle was right after all, happiness is the central purpose of human life and a goal in itself.



Top 30 indicators of a Good Life from most relevant to least relevant:

1 Having had a close enduring friendship
2 Having a happy and healthy family
3 Having had a positive impact on others or having made the world a better place
4 Well-being and content
5 Having had a good, loving marriage or romantic partnership
6 A lot of wealth or assets
7 Having had a successful career
8 Having achieved great things
9 Having lived a moral life according to my personal principles
10 Having had lots of fun and other pleasurable experiences
11 Having gained wisdom
12 Good relationships with family members
13 Having taken full advantage of opportunities and lived up to my personal potential
14 Having traveled the world
15 Having had a personally fulfilling career
16 Having raised my children well
17 The respect or admiration of others
18 Financial security and comfort
19 Knowing that I'll be remembered after I'm gone for who I was or what I did
20 High social status
21 Being highly educated or processing great professional skills/knowledge
22 Having had a lot of involvement in my community
23 Having overcome obstacles or successfully taken on challenges
24 Having had children who are successful
25 Having had children who are successful
26 Having lived a free and independent life
27 Having attained harmony with nature or God
28 Having pursued hobbies or leisure activities that were personally fulfilling
29 Power or influence over others
30 Having lived in accordance with my religious faith



"Family life is the source of the greatest human happiness. This happiness is the simplest and least costly kind, and it cannot be purchased with money. But it can be increased if we do two things: if we recognize and uphold the essential values of family life and if we get and keep control of the process of social change so as to make it give us what is needed to make family life perform its essential functions." Robert J. Havighurst



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