The home of my wife’s childhood friend was our abode and it was pure relaxation. Many countries were represented with the 3 families including Sweden, France, Italy and America. The dinner and lunch conversations were always engaging! We didn’t even have to leave the property as it has everything for adults and kids; pool, huge lawns, swings, ping pong table, numerous outdoor terraces, toys and great food. One morning, we went to the village of Bonnieux (above) and another day my wife enjoyed a morning in Roussillon. It was a fabulous ending to a summer of pleasure.
My article on the 3 Scenes of the GOOD LIFE a few weeks back focused on the visual aspects of leisure in the summer time. This week (along with a few photos) I want to explain what A GOOD LIFE means to me.
The 10 Main Principles of A GOOD LIFE (not necessarily in this order):
1) Productive and Positive Person – One must contribute consistently to his/her family, community and the world in a positive way. We all make mistakes in life but the key is to learn from them and become a better person from it. If you lack this principle, every effort should be made to evaluate why and make the necessary personal improvements even if it takes years to see changes.
2) Family Oriented – In my book, family (both main and outer) should come first. Having a positive family around you makes life much easier. If you are in the unfortunate position of having mean spirited or unhappy family members, don’t be afraid to tell them so or if needed, disassociate yourself. I have seen numerous friends treated poorly or held down by certain family members yet not strong enough to do something about it.
3) Help Others – I will talk about this until the day I am no longer here as I consider this principle a must for a GOOD LIFE. So many of us are fortunate to be healthy and enjoying life and to not help those in need or less fortunate is pure selfishness. Both time and money are important. (http://www.charities.org/ is one of many ways to give)
4) Work you are Passionate about - As we spend so much of our time working, having a happy and productive work life is important. If you are not satisfied with your occupation, seek out new opportunities by being bold and embracing change.
5) Friends - There is a saying by Williams James that goes “Wherever you are, it is your friends who make your world”. Good friends are essential to having an interesting and worthy life. They can advise, make you laugh, help you in tough times, connect you with others, etc. Without my friends, my GOOD LIFE would be less interesting and less successful.
6) Choose Wisely for Marriage - The most important decision that most people will make so it needs to be treated as such. If you have not read my article on this topic, it can be found in the March archives. Choosing Wisely does not guarantee success but an unwise choice gives you little or no chance for happiness.
7) Network Effectively - I have not written on this topic but will by the end of 2008. I have always enjoyed meeting new and interesting people. Many of them are good friends and have benefited me immensely. Some are only acquaintances but we help each other. A select few I hardly see but we network for our mutual benefit. My network base is strong and continues to grow every year. The key is to network effectively in all situations so that you build up a base of contacts year after year. Most of these contacts should help you in some way throughout life and vice versa.
8) Maximize Benefits and Control Your Agenda (CYA) – Everything in life should have a BENEFIT. I repeat, Everything in life should have a BENEFIT. If there is no benefit, why do it? Occasionally people question this principle but then I ask them to give me an example of something that does not have a benefit. They never have a credible response. You will be able to read more on this critical life topic in the near future.
In addition, the best way to maximize benefits is by Controlling Your Agenda (CYA) which means living life the way you want to and not for others. It is wise to take advice or guidance from people you respect and have your best interests in mind. In the end, it should be your choice.
9) Mentor - My first mentor was a man that taught me to play basketball. I spent most of my teenage years playing basketball with him and talking to him. He is the main reason I was able to obtain a Division 1 scholarship for basketball which was the springboard for my GOOD LIFE. He is someone that I still keep in touch with and get inspired by. If you don’t have a mentor, seek one out. If your mentor is not benefiting you in a positive way, seek out a better person. Everyone should have at least one mentor throughout life especially in our younger years.
10) Living Abroad or Abundant Travel – Living in a foreign country for at least one year is something that more people should do and it usually enriches a life. It doesn’t always work out well but it has for me. If you decide to do it, don’t base it solely on emotion as I have seen many of those situations flame out rather quickly. Make sure to research and visit the country to evaluate how living there would be for a foreigner.
Since most people are not bold enough to take that step, travelling outside of your home country is essential. To embrace and learn about other cultures is what we need to have much more of in this world. Sweden (http://www.sweden.se/) is a great place to start for those USA citizens that have yet to leave the borders.
It is hard work to master all ten principles but aiming high for success in these areas will help you obtain the GOOD LIFE you desire.
Principle # 6 is the most important. An unwise choice in this area makes it difficult to live and maintain a GOOD LIFE.
Happy Gswede Sunday!