At the end of our lives, we all want to be able to feel as though the life that we lived on earth was a good and happy one. This seems like the ultimate goal that we strive for every day. However, the question arises as to how we can meet this goal by the way that we live our daily lives. If you were to ask random people on the street how they live a good and happy life, each person would give you a different answer. This is because everyone has a different perspective of what is important to make this life a good and happy life, and everyone has the control to make this life possible.
What would I say if someone asked me how I plan to live a good and happy life? Personally, my answer would be that living a good and happy life would be living virtuously and living a meaningful life through my passion for helping others through nursing and also through my faith. There are many people that have studied these aspects of what a good and happy life would look like and have different views on what really defines what it means to live in a virtuous and meaningful way.
According to the Stoics, their idea of virtue was moral goodness, doing what is right, just, honorable and wise, but I believe that being virtuous goes beyond being morally perfect. So, what does being virtuous actually mean to me? Being virtuous means consciously striving to do what is right, and learning from our mistakes, and continually growing to be a better person. In Joel Kupperman’s book, Six Myths About the Good Life, there is a quote that reads “There has to be a learning process; part of this inevitable will involve moral decisions, made by someone who is still inexperienced and who may be under pressure.
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I believe that making mistakes is part of our human nature, but that does not mean that we cannot be virtuous people. We can still live a virtuous life by learning from the mistakes that we have made. So, how does this view of virtue ensure that I live a good and happy life? Living a virtuous life require us to do what is right, and feel good about those decisions that we have made. It is important to learn from our mistakes, because in return, we will grow as people, and hopefully not continue to make those same mistakes.
A life full of doing bad things, will only leave us with a life full of regrets at the end, but living virtuously will prevent us from living a life of regrets and in return will ensure a good life. Someone might disagree by saying that virtue is not important because anyone could live a good and happy life by doing bad things and stomping on the people around them for their own good. But, what is this person going to think at the end of their lives? What good did they do here on earth? That person would not look back at their lives as a good life and would ultimately not end up happy with it.
Yes, I am sure this person was happy at certain points throughout their life, but the ultimate goal here is to end up with a good and happy life. A good and happy life means doing good things, and feeling joy through those good things that we have done. Aristotle believes that the most pleasant life, and presumably the happiest, is a life of virtuous or excellent activity. (Haybron p. 48) This means that a life of just doing good acts is just a part of the big picture. Doing good and also living a life full of meaningful and worthwhile activities is the key to a good and happy life.
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This leads into my second aspect of a good and happy life, which is living a meaningful life. How does one live a meaningful life? I believe that living a meaningful life means living beyond yourself, working towards something that has value to you and also to other people, and doing something that is worthwhile in the end. It means not just existing on this earth, but living a life that you would be willing to live over again. A quote from Haybron’s book reads “Any life devoted to worthwhile ends is meaningful.
This means that doing something that will have worthwhile end results for not only you but the people around you is doing something meaningful. How does living this meaningful life make our lives good and happy lives? Living a meaningful life is ultimately living an emotionally fulfilling life. We will find pride and happiness in doing things that are valuable and meaningful to us, and will ultimately lead to a good and happy life. Haybron goes as far to say that “The full measure of happiness requires that we connect, in our lives, with what seems to us to matter.
This means that we will not even experience our full potential happiness if we do not engage in meaningful activities. So, if a key part of a good and happy life is just doing something that is meaningful, then someone may argue that any useless activity that someone finds meaningful will lead to a good life. For example, someone who sits on the bathroom floor counting tiles because that is something that they find very meaningful and valuable, would not be viewed as someone who is living a good and happy life to most people.
This concept of doing meaningful things then must go farther than just doing things that are meaningful to us personally. This is where Haybron talks about finding something that is not only valuable to oneself but also other people. A quote from his book reads, “The most meaningful lives will combine subjective and objective meaning: appreciative engagement with what genuinely matters. ” The most meaningful life then must mean engaging in activities that have an equal balance between personal meaning and also meaning to others. Through my 20 years of age, I discovered what this meaning is for me.
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I plan to live a meaningful life by helping others through my nursing practices and also through my faith. Helping others and making a difference in their lives through the nursing skills that I have acquired, and also the knowledge that I share about my faith, is my passion in life. According the studies done my Mihaly Csikszentmehalyi people find the most pride and joy in doing activities that they can get caught up in. He refers to them as flow experiences, and explains that these flow experiences are important to our happiness.
I completely agree with what this stands for. I find that my true happiness comes from when I am engaged in situations of helping other people; not only physically but also spiritually. The feeling that I receive by giving others a better life, is a feeling of happiness that I do not find in anything else I do. I could not fill my life with enough pleasures, relationships, or belongings to ever feel as though I would be living as good and happy of a life as I plan on living, without living out my mission and passion for helping others physically and spiritually.
Although this is my plan to secure a good and happy life, this may not be applicable for everyone, but living a good and happy life is most definitely achievable. Like it states in our constitution, we have the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. This does not entail that our happiness is given to us, but rather it is something that we have the freedom to strive for, and find the things that will ensure us this good and happy life. In regards to my own life, I find this attainable by living virtuously and by living a meaningful life through my passion for helping others through nursing and also through my faith.
By living in such a way, I can live happily knowing that I am doing good and making a difference in people’s lives that will end in something that was worthwhile. Drawing from other readings and other’s opinions, I have been reassured that it is possible to live a good and happy life through just these two aspects of virtue and meaning. I plan to live in this way in hopes that when my life comes to an end I can believe that it was a good and happy life.