“Don’t ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive, and go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.” – Howard Thurman
You can live and operate at a higher-level if you know what to focus on.
The challenge is there are a lot of distractions and it’s easy to lose your way, especially if you don’t have a North Star. What is the North Start for living, leading, and learning at a higher level?
Lucky for us, Martin Seligman outlined 3 path of happiness long ago. The three paths are: 1) The Pleasant Life, 2) The Good Life, and 3) The Meaningful life.
You can use these three paths as a guide to think about three levels of living, as you learn and grow your way forward.
Level 1 Living: Meaningful Moments
This is pleasure in the moment.
Level 1 living is really just taking what comes your way. The good, the bad, and the ugly. If you are lucky, then you get more good than bad, but mostly it’s about going with the flow.
Level 1 living is really about finding happiness in the moment. If you can learn to enjoy the journey and if you are flexible and adaptable, you can gradually learn to enjoy more of your moments. If life throws you lemons, turn them into lemonade.
The more you master your ability to respond to challenges, and raise your frustration tolerance, the more you can thrive in Level 1 Living.
With Level 1 Living, you learn to thrive in the moment.
Level 2 Living: Living Your Values
This is where you take control of your life and you create your own happiness and fulfillment.
This is where you choose to spend more time in your values. You can think of this as “the Good life.”
To spend more time in your values, you first need to identify your top values. Once you prioritize your top few values, you can then use your values to design your lifestyle and guide your life.
You can use your values to prioritize your time and to simplify decisions. You can choose to do things that will help you spend more time in your values.
For example, if you like to learn, then find ways to make the small things you do each day, all about learning. If you value excellence, then with each task you take on, you can focus on mastering your craft. If you value adventure, then turn your projects into epic adventures.
With Level 2 Living, you thrive on your values.
Level 3 Living: Living Your Contribution
The simplest way I put this is one sentence to remember the main idea:
“Give your best where you have your best to give in the service of others.”
It’s the highest form of living. It means you use your strength to make your dent in the universe while lifting others up and helping the “greater good” (whatever that means for you).
This is a deeper level of living. Level 3 Living is where you give your best where you have your best to give, in the service of others.
When you focus on the greater good, and when you focus on your unique strengths and talents, you create a deep sense of fulfillment.
Whether you think of it as moving up Maslow’s stack, or you think of Stephen Covey’s 8th Habit to find your voice, and help others find theirs, or if you think of Tony Robbins and his focus on servant leadership, the beauty is that Level 3 Living is accessible to all of us.
The key is to find your strengths. The next key is to figure out a purpose that makes you come alive.
You 2.0 is a free and simple guide to helping you live at Level 3.
With Level 3 Living, you thrive on contribution.
One of the most useful questions I’ve found to guide me on all paths is:
“Who do you want to be and what experiences do you want to create?”
It’s a simple, but profound question that helps me shape my work in progress.
In all cases, the key thing to keep in mind is that when it comes down to it, many people find that what really counts is the people whose lives they touch.