Live your life really well

By Michael R. Mantell, Ph.D.

Dr. Michael Mantell

Dr. Michael Mantell

SAN DIEGO–When it comes to living really well, many confuse doing so with looking good, feeling good, or having the goods.  This leads people to chase after such goods as spray tans, plastic surgery, drugs, virtual friendships, the mansion, making and spending as much as they possibly can, and erroneously and irrationally believing that they can and, worse, should have it all.  We gullibly and numbly believe the ads.

We know these things don’t ultimately satisfy.  Yet, the pursuit never ends. Living really well is about simpler pleasures such as compassionate acts, striving to achieve goals, healthy relationships, a personal sense of fulfillment, giving to others, inner peace, what your children think of you. Ecclesiastes comes along at Sukkot to teach us that in the end, without God, life is meaningless, “Fear God and keep His commandments” (12:13). All of the material possessions, the riches, the beauty in the world, don’t make people happy.

One way to think about it comes from Dr. Martin Seligman of my alma mater, the University of Pennsylvania in his latest book, Flourish.  He proposes a simple acronym, PERMA, help creating the good life, or, living really well.  Nothing to do with goods, but rather, Positive emotions, being fully Engaged in life’s activities, having healthy Relationships and social connections, finding Meaning and purpose in life, and having a sense of Accomplishment. A pretty hip acronym right?

I can’t claim these 10 rules are the only rules, the best rules, or the ones that will be best for you.  I’ve found them to be very helpful.  This is an incomplete list, for certain.  Try them and see if you derive more pleasure, satisfaction and fulfillment from your life.  If you add to the list, please add a comment or two and share your wisdom.

  • Why worry about what others think about you? It’s the most unproductive thing you can do. You can either be happy or care about what others think about you, but not both. The less you care what others think about you, the happier you’ll be. Caring about what others think, say, or gossip about you is detrimental to your health.
  • Why be fearful? Most of the things you fear won’t come to pass. Change your perception and you’ll stop scaring yourself.
  • You can’t cross a bridge until you come to it, so don’t try. And don’t put up your umbrella before it starts raining either.
  • Love, be purposeful, express gratitude, laugh and put family first. Yes, those are more than just one rule. But they are important.
  • Taking your problems to bed makes for a poor bedfellow. Leave your problems in another room, and you’ll sleep better. Create deep, restful sleep for yourself.
  • Other people care for their problems better than you, so don’t borrow theirs. And while you’re at it, don’t let others dictate how you live your life.
  • You can’t relive yesterday’s good or bad, so focus on now. It’s best to drive looking through the windshield, not the rear view mirror.
  • Be as fit and healthy in your mind and body as you can be—proper exercise, wise nutrition and rational thinking all help. So will staying away from anyone who smokes and avoiding any other toxins you can identify. You won’t get to 80 if you don’t live to 60.
  • Your frustrations and anger are rooted in your insisting that your life must be different than it is—this is the ultimate obstacle to taking positive steps forward.
  • Develop “regardless thinking,” so that no matter what happens in your life—and stuff will–you choose to be happy, nevertheless. That includes, problems with money, relationships and jobs.

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Dr Michael Mantell, based in San Diego, provides coaching to business leaders, athletes, individuals and families to reach breakthrough levels of success and significance in their professional and personal lives. Mantell may be contacted via [email protected]

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