The Six Attributes of a Life Well-Lived
by Isaac B Watson
As creative entrepreneurs, we tend to focus largely on developing business skills becoming more successful as independent small business owners. But what if we took a step back and set the money-making business aside to examine what it means and what it takes to flourish?
A few months ago I discovered a new word—eudaimonia—something better and more complex than happiness. It’s about a life well-lived, doing well and living well. The ancient Greek term has resurfaced in recent years, often in reference to psychological well-being, sometimes related to economics. But as creative entrepreneurs, the balance of work and the well-lived life is always a struggle. Let’s look at six aspects* and areas of improvement which create the perfect foundation for a state of eudaimonia.
Have confidence in your opinions. Question the status quo. Never stop asking why. Own your authority. Don’t let common belief or societal pressure lead you to doing something that goes against your own beliefs.
2. Personal Growth
Believe in the importance of new experiences that challenge how you think about yourself and the world. Assimilate, devour, steal like an artist. Grow your business (and your life) with intent. Make calculated decisions. Admitting that you don’t know the answer is okay—doing so opens your mind to the possibilities.
Know yourself, your strengths, your weaknesses, your limits. Learn from your mistakes instead of blaming yourself. Feel whole as a person and be honest with yourself.
4. Purpose in Life
Some people wander aimlessly through life—don’t be one of them. Epiphanies are those key moments when we’re realizing that something is true. These epiphanies help guide us, and as we identify what they are and how they’ve come to us, we can start to thread together a path and a trajectory. Epiphanies can help you determine your WHY.
5. Environmental Mastery
Take charge of the situation in which you live. Being able to adapt to your surroundings allows for flexibility and agility in an ever-changing landscape. Identifying opportunity and using observation, analysis, and wit to your advantage will allow you to see what others do not and do what others can only dream of.
6. Positive Relations with Others
Believe in being a giving person, and be willing to share your time with others. Technology is incredible and helps us in countless ways, but we must remember that the Internet can sometimes be nothing more than electronic high fructose corn syrup. Don’t isolate yourself in your creative cloud—get out of the house into situations where you’re interacting with people face to face. You’ll be more attuned to the needs of your community, to those around you, and you’ll be more likely to reach out and give of your time to your peers.
The Eudaimonic Life
We may be seeking in the immediate to amplify our creative businesses, but without a strong foundation, we won’t be successful in our long-term, subconscious quest for the life well-lived. It’s not just hedonism, and it’s not pure virtue. Eudaimonia is about autonomy, personal growth, self-acceptance, purpose in life, environmental mastery, and positive relations with others.
Eudaimonia is a life well-lived. It’s more than just happiness, it’s more that just financial success. Eudaimonia is doing well and living well. Eudaimonia is flourishing.
So go forth and flourish!
*Based on the work of Dr. Carol Ryff at the University of Wisconsin.
This article was abridged from “Flourish: The Pursuit of a Life Well-Lived.” Read the full article on The Ambidextrous Brain blog.
Isaac B Watson has an ambidextrous brain and enjoys wearing lots of ridiculously stylish but fantastically professional hats. In addition to a full-time job managing design projects at an art college and museum and several side projects, Isaac is working feverishly to launch Maker’s Nation, a new nonprofit educational program and community platform for creative entrepreneurs. He is passionate about community and doing his part to make the world a better place. But most of all, he wants you to flourish. Visit his website.