The Three-Piece Formula for Living “The Good Life”

Why do you invest?

There are lots of good answers to the question. We invest to make more money. We want to be free. We yearn for security. And who doesn’t want to kiss the working world goodbye?

But is there more to it?

Recently, I’ve spent a lot of time studying why we do what we do. And let me tell you, the results are fascinating and quite useful.

If forced to find an answer to our question that everyone can agree on, it would be this…

We invest so we can live a better life.

We all want to live “the good life.”

Agree? If so, keep reading.

I want to show you a simple formula that will make this goal much easier to reach.

Recent studies – particularly from psychologists at the University of Rochester – show there are three core needs that must be met in order for a person to truly feel that they are living a “good life.”

Allow me to paraphrase the rather dense science…

Before I reveal the three core needs, let me remind you that these needs were found to stretch across cultures, time and age. They’re universal.

In other words, you’re included.

Once you understand each of them, you’ll agree.

The first – again, we’re simplifying the science – is all about liberty. It’s a topic we discuss in this column a lot. The idea isn’t to live on your own, outside of society. (You’ll see in a minute why we can’t live alone.) Instead, liberty is about doing what you want when you want.

To be truly happy, we mustn’t have somebody dictating our choices.

As we’ve discovered, wealth plays a large role in our personal liberty. It allows us to call our own shots.

Second, perhaps the most overlooked of the three, is know-how. To be truly happy, we must have the knowledge and skills to aptly go about our daily lives. We must feel like we’re effective. We need to be able to do things for ourselves (like build things for our wives).

Finally, we need positive connections. This is key. And if we look at the evolution of our culture, it’s undeniable. The bottom line is that people need to have affection for others, and they need others to have affection for them.

But we’re not talking about intimate love. No, it’s much broader than that. In order to feel truly content, we need to be part of a larger group. Think of our tribal past or our innate desire for strong familial ties.

Better yet, think of how lousy you feel when you’re not part of a larger group.

These are vital ideas to understand, especially as today’s culture works to make fulfilling these three core needs more and more difficult.

For example, as governments grow, our liberties tend to wane. My neighbor was recently told he can’t build a house on his own land. You can bet he felt less than fulfilled.

And as we spend more of our working years focused on a single skill, our competency in others disappears. Your boss may be able to whip up a fancy spreadsheet, but that doesn’t mean he knows how to keep his…

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