In all that I do, there is an overarching goal, which can be best described as thriving or flourishing. As is made clear on the sidebar, eudaimonia–-a Greek word which translates most closely in English to “human flourishing”—is defined as “a contented state of being happy and healthy and prosperous.”
There is a lot in there. Implied is that happiness is not fleeting or momentary, but rather a state of contentment. And then more than merely an emotional state, the concept includes health and prosperity. It is an integrated state of successful living, the highest possible to a living entity. I don’t want to be happy. I want to flourish.
But what of the components of a flourishing life? Let’s unpack this concept and consider them. For one, as most of us have observed, happiness is not simple. I’ve learned over years of ups and downs that pursuing whims, chasing pleasure, seeking to impress others, and many other things which might be associated with attempts at being happy lead to self-destruction and general frustration.
Yet, I have known times of what I can recognize as genuine happiness. There was a quality in it, a cleanliness, an untouchable pride, and knowledge of its rightness—my rightness. And then, I’m certain that I’ve known other people who seem to live in a constant state of what I felt in those times, as if part of their character. I must define this quality. I must understand its source. This will require thinking and study. Lots of thinking.
And just as happiness has a particular nature to be studied and understood—and is a monumental achievement—it is perhaps even more obvious to most people that health is such. With inconsistent to conflicting to clearly false claims from fitness and nutrition “experts,” doctors, and other professionals and gurus, and with years of successes and failures in terms of my own health, it is clear that I’ll have to do more of my own rigorous thinking and study—including self-experimentation—on the subject if I’m to achieve maximum health. And how do I even define maximum health? Is it strength, speed, flexibility, energy? Where does longevity fit in? And do I have to give up some of the former toward the latter? How important is sleep in all this? What a big subject on its own…And this, just a part of flourishing? Wow, have I got some thinking to do.
And if we might regard happiness as a kind of mental or emotional prosperity, the “prosperity” encompassed in the concept of human flourishing would seem to refer to material success, including finances and the objects and experiences money can buy. It is hardly necessary to argue here that achieving material prosperity is not the result of following the latest financial trends or random advice. No, this is going to take some careful independent thinking.
One thing is clear. A flourishing human life seems to have one ultimate requirement: thinking. To create and maintain meaningful and life-enhancing relationships, to create a comfortable, energizing, inspiring environment to live in, to discover what kind of society is good for me to live in, to decide the optimal way to organize my free time, to choose what I ought to pursue for entertainment, to the more simple choices which add up to my character and my life, I can’t go by public opinion or by random feelings. I have to choose wisely.
The good news is that this is not a completely new revelation for me. It came a little later than it might have, but later is better than never. I have been thinking this way for years—only more precisely and consciously so now–and I have discovered, developed, and applied many good ideas toward living a better life. But I see them being constantly improved, and I know there are also countless things yet completely unknown to me. This project, which is my life, is an ongoing one, and the thinking and learning never stop. So how can I be even more deliberate about it?
At a recent conference, I had the pleasure of meeting an impressive young man, Derek Magill, who was a speaker. While he delivered a wide scope of advice to mostly young people, a concrete takeaway I’ve adopted for myself is to document one’s thinking. With that, this site is a place to document my thinking and progress on my way to building a happier, healthier, more prosperous, flourishing life. But this doesn’t mean the site is populated with “life hacks”—although documenting and discussing successful strategies in various areas is an essential part of its goal.
But more, I want to share things I love—movies, books, characters, sports–and tell stories of interest, relating values common to most people. And while the content might range from a philosophic issue to life in Korea to commentary on sports or an historic event to cute stories of my cat to anything that falls under the category of Life, I hope that a consistency is apparent, as implicit in their presentation is my own integrated life perspective, which I hope proves interesting, and at times illuminating or otherwise of some value to you and others. In any case, I know it means a lot of fun and learning for me!
I’m very excited to have made another big choice in pursuit of my own flourishing, and I wish the most for everyone who wants to make the most of their own lives. I know this will lead to insights for myself and other consequences which I can’t see at present, but I have already tasted the rewards in simply setting up and writing this intro. And I hope that, as is the result with most productive individual pursuits, you and others can derive some benefit from the project, too. Enjoy!
Check out a shorter, more standard bio.