Sunday, October 8, 2017

Death from Overwork? The Importance of Defining the Good Life For Yourself

A good life is an amoebic concept that is fundamentally tied to our collective conscious and pursuits. For many of us we believe life is good when we own more items and have higher status to strut among our friends. A seemingly important theme of all societies but an especially important in Western leaning societies. As 31 year-old Miwa Sado found out, putting in 159 hours in overtime a month in pursuit of the good life can kill you!

The good life can be defined so many ways by as many slices that we can only begin to ponder its complexity. One culture may place more emphasis on relationships, another on status and still another money. Much of our images of an ideal life are socially constructed.

For many of us, the good life is very personal but is often matched against the wishes of our social networks. Where one group of friends may seek sports glory another group could view musicians as having the ideal life. Our needs often seek a type of alignment with the needs of our group.

The good life is that which makes us feel as though we are living meaningful lives of value where you wake up every morning excited to pursue your goals. It is a life we would be happy to live again if given the chance. Our lives are seen as valuable when compared to the lives of others and we find out we are "winning".

Work is important but so is the enjoyment of life from the fruits of one's work. Unless you are engaged in deep and meaningful work pursuits chances are your complex interests have outlets beyond your daily tasks. It is rare to find a job that fulfills all your needs. It is likely even rarer to find old people wishing they worked more hours.

Thus the good life is only partly work but also partly something else such as family, friends, travel, health, spiritual, and meaning. The good life is a culmination of at least a few things of which money and status are only a few. Its subjective difference apparent when comparing good life perceptions among simple and more complex societies that maintain similar psychological streams across different times and places.

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