Contrary to popular belief, fame and fortune are not synonymous to the good life. Even the rock stars have their faults, problems, pains, and disappointments. Britney Spears for example has the fame and the fortune, but is in the middle of an ugly divorce and a custody battle for her two sons. The money she has cannot get her away from these pains and problems. Does that mean that the people without problems have the good life? Not necessarily, everyone is going to have his or her problem, that’s a part of life. To describe what the good life is, we have to look at how a person responds to an overwhelming experience.
Overcoming your shortcomings is how people work through problems. This is finding a way to solve them, or to work with them. Currently I have been experiencing chronic headaches. These make leisure activities burdensome and necessary activities, such as school, formidable. In spite of the headaches, I try to live my life as I used to. By trying to continue living normally even when attacks of any kind occur a person will find their life is better. Another way to describe this would be to have stability. A person who has a safe home and the financial means to provide for the basic necessities food, clothing, and shelter are considered to have a stable life. This is part of overcoming shortcomings because it’s not always easy to achieve stability. For example my dad works in California and only comes home once or twice a month. This sacrifice of never seeing his family is one he made to get the money needed to support us. Many people tell my family how perfect our lives are because we do have that additional money for material items and activities. However, we would be happier with him at home with us every day. With him being gone we don’t have the stability that many families have. We never know if he’ll be able to come home when disaster strikes or for a family vacation. But when people view how my family lives they see the extra items we have and then think that we have the good life because of these materialist things. It’s obvious that if we were living by worldly standards, we would have the good life. But without that stability we find ourselves really having to overcome certain shortcomings.
Along with being able to overcome the shortcomings in life, a person needs to be able to maintain flow throughout their everyday lives. This is being able to get lost in an activity. Flow mainly comes in when a hard task is at hand, like writing an English essay or resolving a conflict with a friend. Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi explains how maintaining flow will bring happiness. He explains that while in the middle of a hard task a person usually will not be happy. However, once a distraction occurs or once the task is finished that is when the happiness will be apparent. This helps a person get through the hard problems knowing that at the end there will be happiness, which is the basis of the good life.
The key to the good life isn’t to have the materialist things that society has ranked so high. Instead it is being able to overcome life’s problems and maintain flow within everyday life. Happiness wouldn’t be experienced without having to face a challenge to achieve it. With these standards, the good life can be achieved by anyone.