A Quality Of Life Manifesto
Quality Of Life is, simply, the “goal” in the One Goal Rule. In that section I spelled out why this is crucial to your success in life. This section is no longer about the why, this is about the what.
It’s pretty clear that we all have some input into the life we choose to live. Exactly how much and what kind of input we have will vary depending on who you ask, but the plain fact is that whatever the answer an individual gives, he or she is right. In other words, it appears that we have some control over every area of our life, as long as we believe we do.
Likewise, when we are lacking in any of the areas of life that make up our current experience, it is always because we believe that there are outside factors determining it, and that we don’t actually have much say in the matter. This would be the first belief that I would ask you to question.
It might be confusing when I use words like “experience”, “possibility”, and “life” to identify a pursuit. This is by design; those are open-ended words that likely won’t contain any preconceived limitations. As you read in The Language Of Life elsewhere in the Wisdom Papers, language always limits the possibilities for Quality Of Life. It does this through a number of mechanisms, but primarily through preconceived notions of the meaning given to the words used. Relative to what most people experience day to day, the possibilities of life are boundless. The person you are today, compared to the person that will change the world tomorrow, might feel like they are light-years apart; so much so that you can’t even imagine yourself in the word “you”. Limitation.
Once you really get that you are in charge of your life, the search for the highest possible Quality of that life begins by knowing with certainty and clarity what you’re searching for. This is pretty much a matter for your imagination. You are not a prisoner of your current surroundings or circumstances; they are temporary matters just waiting for you to imagine something new.
As you consider what you’d like from life, remember that the concept of “quality of life” is different than “being happy”, “being healthy”, “being successful”, or any number of other ‘beings’ that often are mistaken for experiences, and for which we are already striving? Quality Of Life is an all-inclusive experience-based concept that lives above all others and that you might not have ever known existed.
Your only guide is what feels best to you personally. In other words, what you want. In my opinion, the word “want” is one of the most undervalued words in our language. The awareness of what you want, and the sum total of all of your individual wants, makes up the picture of who you are. And nothing else does that. So you begin to see why it is important to scan the horizon for anything and everything that may create that distinct feeling of ‘want’ in you, and to verbalize those choices as often as possible, imagining your life with them present as you do.
While you’re up to imagining that, remember that there are at least 6 major disciplines that make up our experience. These are subcategories of life that should each get our attention on a daily basis if we want to get the most from life. Bringing this balance into your intentions is one of the greatest keys to a rich life that I know. Be aware of where you want each of these to go in your life, and do one thing everyday to raise the level at which you experience the following:
As I mentioned in the One Goal Rule, the preceding list is a somewhat hierarchical. By “somewhat”, I mean that addressing any item on the list to its fullest won’t completely determine the level of the items below it, but it will make those items much easier to master.
Yes, the world has always worked, or else we wouldn’t be here. In the time of early man, people were healthy, happy, fulfilled, and vital. We know this because we wouldn’t have survived as a species unless they were. Throughout our history as a species we have had within our grasp the ability to create an exceptional experience for ourselves. Keep in mind that the vast majority of that history contained no scientists, doctors, pharmaceutical companies, computers, psychologists, cell phones, automobiles, or virtual reality goggles. So achieving this lofty goal has nothing to do with things that bring us temporary pleasures or have entertainment-only value. That’s another great distinction to keep in mind as you move through this process.
Since there were no outside sources of information, we had to get by on something called innate wisdom; a practical form of logic that is built into each and every one of us from birth. That practical logic is still in us, yet so many of us commonly believe that we cannot act on on any goal without subjecting ourselves to vast amounts of information first. After all, we don’t want to get it wrong, and having as much information as possible is the brain’s best idea for not getting something wrong. Except that, when it comes to a quality life, it doesn’t work. In our quest for ever more data, eventually that information becomes contradictory, and we fall into a sort of malaise and paralysis, and fail to act at all.
Innate wisdom not only tells us what to do, it tells us how much of everything to do. Because getting it wrong also includes concentrating too much energy and resources on smaller goals, e.g., relying too much on data, while neglecting other crucial pieces. That is just one thing that knowledge will not reveal; to the brain, more is always better.
Another way the information gets it wrong is in the overall outcome. Quality Of Life that is created from innate wisdom brings you a better experience than Quality Of Life derived from data. IOW, information will impair the level of your experience of life as compared with experiencing it. In the game of life, less is often better.
To address everything that contributes to your quality of life, you need to bridge the gap between the spiritual and the physical worlds.
The spiritual world is a fluid and eternal place, where the possibility for never-ending growth and enlightenment exists. It’s easy to see that the physical world is a temporal place full of corrosive elements and eventual decline.
I’ve done my best in all of these writings for clarity’s sake to boil down the goal of being alive to one thought that would indicate a life maximally-lived. That thought is this:
“That the individual participates fully in the direction of his/her life, and he/she is able leave this world at any time with no regrets.”
That is, of course, a tall order to even comprehend, let alone claim, and it doesn’t suggest that the individual would leave his/her life with no sadness, just no sense of loss or disappointment. Not many of us, I venture, could make such a certain claim. I submit though that it is within the realm of possibility, and that it has actually been a reality for quite a number of people throughout history.
Knowing then that it is within the reach of human capacity to accomplish such a thing, lofty though it may be, we can hold it up with confidence as a standard—a benchmark, if you will—by which we can compare our own lives and assess our progress.