How to Not Quiet Quit and Live Your Best Life
What "living your best life" looks like, what's in the way, and how to overcome them
Within this article, the reader will learn the following insights:
The three traits that a successful life needs to have
The three weaknesses that prevent the current generation from success
How daily changes lead to a successful life
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As I stated in the last Modern Philosophy article, the Academy of Ideas (AOI) had a video breaking down the characteristics of a successful life. With quiet quitting (and now quiet firing) occurring in today’s workforce, it’s evident that many of us aren’t finding success in living a successful life.
In today’s article, I’ll highlight the AOI video and the tenants of a successful life. In future articles, we’ll explore the individual tenants more in-depth, but today, we’re simply reviewing what a successful life - aka your best life - looks like.
To start, let’s define the characteristics of what your best life should have.
Step One: Your Life Should Be Interesting
"Either we have no dreams or our dreams are interesting. We should learn to arrange our waking life the same way: nothing or interesting."
A third of our life is spent sleeping, and with this time, we either have fascinating dreams or don’t. We tend to remember the dreams that we’ve had over time, at least the next day. The times we don’t dream, we don’t remember anything.
If we apply this analogy to our life, our waking conscious moment, it should be the same. We need to have an interesting aspect of our lives to where we know what we need to do daily, so it drives our thoughts and actions for that day. By doing this, we can reflect and remember the meaningful work we did yesterday, the day before, the week prior, etcetera.
If not, these days will become the same and run into each other. Eventually, we won’t recall what we did yesterday, last week, or even last year. The sad part is that these are years of our lives going unaccounted for.
To avoid this, we need to ensure that our lives are interesting, and we address this later on, but for now, let’s touch on the other characteristics a successful life needs to have.
Step Two: You Should Make Money
“We need to make money, as poverty is limiting and acts as a barrier to many of life’s great experiences.”
You need to make money not only to have a successful life but also to live. This statement isn’t anything new, but it does serve as a reminder for us to evaluate our current standards.
For one, are I making enough money to get by, or do I have enough money to make my life interesting? We must reevaluate our current income strategy if we’re only making enough money to get by. If the answer is yes, then how do we get more money?
This self-elicitation exercise engages our minds, and we evaluate our current circumstances. Can we get more income from our current occupation, or do we need more skills to land better income opportunities?
Money alone is a topic in itself, but it’s crucial for a successful life, not just to make money to live, but enough money to take part in the interesting experiences that life offers. Money alone isn’t all that’s needed, and we go to our third characteristic of a successful life.
Step Three: You Need Intrinsically Rewarding Challenges
“We need to consistently take part in challenging but intrinsically rewarding activities.”
Making money that pays you a lot but has no motivating challenges isn’t going to cut it. If we’re sitting and punching numbers and getting no thrill, we’re making money; however, it’s not leading to the interesting aspect of our lives we need.
Yes, we need to ensure that we’re making money, but there should be an intrinsic aspect of producing income that pulls at us to keep going. This intrinsically rewarding aspect challenges us to work harder, go longer, and succeed more.
It needs to be intrinsic because these drive us at the core, spirit level. External rewards such as materialistic items can’t necessarily move us forward here. Still, those challenges we want to solve because we want to solve or figure them out are the intrinsic challenges that yearn and pull at our souls.
Suppose we can successfully get paid in a way that supplies all our bills and provides us with excess funds for experiences. In addition, we experience intrinsic challenges that grow our souls and characters on a deep, mentally satisfying level. In that case, we have the overlaying foundation for a successful life.
However, to even start any of this, we need something that ties in all parts of our lives. How do we connect our soul to our income? This question is a fundamental question that we need to address before moving further, and it leads us to the weaknesses we must address to live this successful life.
What’s interesting to note about these weaknesses is that they are generational weaknesses. No other society may have had these weaknesses, which is why this topic is specific to the millennial and gen-z population.
So, as we address these weaknesses, it’s vital to keep in mind that they specifically affect our current generations.
Weakness One: You Lack a Life Purpose
“The first of these weaknesses is a lack of purpose. Most people drift through life and fail to harness the power of effective goal setting.”
A life purpose is the most crucial step in a successful life. Lack of this is the first weakness to overcome and the first step to living your best life. A life purpose ties everything you do towards it - it provides focus like never before.
Finding your life purpose itself is a challenge in itself. For this reason, I wrote the article How To Find Your Life’s Purpose In Three Simple Steps. It’s not easy, and we don’t know where to start, but hopefully the tips I pieced together help begin that process because a life’s purpose is vital to everything else.
Once we have our life’s purpose, we can break that down into goals that we move towards. These can be financial goals, physical goals, and many more. With these goals, we begin to craft and draw what aspects we want of our lives. We can genuinely make our lives interesting - meeting the first requirement - with the goals we place in our lives.
This new-found engagement with life shows why we must overcome this first weakness, the lack of a life’s purpose. Once we have this purpose and create goals to craft the life we want, we encounter the second generational weakness.
Weakness Two: You Fail to defeat Resistance
“Resistance is our tendency . . .to yield to procrastination, self-doubt, fear, impatience, self-inflation, self-denigration, distraction, laziness, arrogance, complacency, and perfectionism.”
One of the biggest challenges to living our best life is ourselves. We shoot ourselves in the foot before we even start. What’s interesting about all of this is that it all happens within our heads. Hardly is there ever a physical barrier to us living a successful life; more times than none, it’s all mental.
This mental blockade is known as resistance. As stated in the video, it’s our generation’s proclivity to consistently give in to energies such as procrastination, self-doubt, fear, laziness, perfectionism, and so many more. We often give in to these energies, seldom overcoming them; hence, why there are so many self-help books on how to overcome these.
However, the simplest way to overcome resistance is to “pick up our tools” as the ancient carpenters did. Whatever you want to do towards that goal, what is the tool needed for it, and do you have it in your hands?
If your goal is to be a writer, do you have your pen and notepad? If your goal is to create that app, do you have the code on your screen? By simply picking up the tools tied to our goals, we focus our attention on the objects in our hands. As cognitive scientist Guy Claxton states:
“[We have] this inbuilt tendency to lock our attention on to objects that are [in] or near our hands . . . [and] it is hard for us to shift our attention away from such objects to something else.”
So, to overcome resistance, we simply need to put our hands on our tools. This step, however, leads us to our next generational weakness.
Weakness Three: You have a Short Attention Span
“One form… that is essential for uncommon success is distraction-free concentration… We need to learn how to fully engage in our work by focusing on single tasks for extended periods of time.”
If there is one generational weakness that genuinely speaks to millennials and gen-z is the inability to concentrate for long periods and a very short attention span. Only a few years back was it reported that the average American had a shorter attention span than a goldfish: eight seconds.
This short attention span is the weakness we must overcome. If we want to find success in solving intrinsically rewarding challenges - that make our lives interesting and offer us great financial rewards - we must solve these problems at a high, value-providing level. To do this, we'll need to be able to focus at a much deeper level.
By developing our lengths and levels of focus, we’ll be able to see opportunities that otherwise would have been missed. We’ll be able to dive deeper into these opportunities, overcome resistance, gain those intrinsic qualities, and produce better quality and quantity work towards our goals.
However, our generation faces a technology challenge unlike ever seen before. From Author Oliver Burkeman, we read:
“[Smart phones and the social media industry] is essentially a giant machine for persuading you to make the wrong choices about what to do with your attention, and therefore with your finite life, by getting you to care about things you didn’t want to care about.
As the statement reads, social media and smartphones are the tools in our hands designed to take our attention away from our lives to things we don’t care about. We have a finite life and this proclivity to focus on what is in our hands. If we fail to address this, our lives will pass by us like those dreamless nights. By being aware of these weaknesses, we can work at them daily to overcome them.
Consistently overcoming these weaknesses leads us to our ultimate goal, our daily routine.
How to Live Your Best Life Daily, Starting Now.
“One hour a day is seven hours a week, thirty hours a month, 365 hours a year. Three hundred and sixty hours is nine forty-hour weeks.”
Nine forty-hour weeks is two work months and one work week. If you decide for one hour every day to give your life’s purpose and the goals that come with it, your undivided focus and attention, what would you have to show for it after a year?
Would you be smarter, stronger, bolder? Would you have grown in areas that you never had before? What about days when you have more time? What happens when you focus on yourself for two, three, or four hours on the weekends?
Your life begins to change, and chances are, it changes for the better. This growth is reminiscent of the message I echo in the article, How To Prepare For The Collapsing Economy. If we focused on ourselves for three years, what would we look like at the end of that tunnel?
Only you can be the one to answer that, and within this article, you’ve been presented with the steps and challenges to avoid as you go out to live your best life. Consistency is key, and by daily, for one hour, putting the tools of your goals into your hands daily, you become like the modern-day craftsman, building and molding the very life you desire.
I wish you luck and nothing but the best. See you on the other side of greatness and success.
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Questions to Think On
Based on the characteristics of a successful life, could some of those characterstics be improved upon within our own individual lives?
Based on the three generational weaknesses defined, are there weaknesses in which we struggle with more than others?
Close your eyes and imagine the following: if we focused on ourselves, for an hour a day, two work months from the year, would we be pleased with the person that we would turn out to be?