Robert Kennedy on Measuring Quality of Life

rfk

“The gross national product (of a country) does not allow for the health of our children, the quality of their education or the joy of their play. It does not include the beauty of our poetry or the strength of our marriages, the intelligence of our public debate or the integrity of our public officials. It measures neither our wit nor our courage, neither our wisdom nor our learning, neither our compassion nor our devotion to our country. It measures everything, in short, except that which makes life worthwhile.
— Robert Kennedy, March 18, 1968

How are we measuring a life well lived?

Is it quality of life based on a personal assessment of what makes us happy? Or are we allowing media and popular culture, systems that know nothing about us, to steer us to false measurements?

What are the things that need to be happening for you to feel great? Making enough income so you don’t have too much financial stress? Spending lots of time with family for personal enjoyment plus the sense of harmony that comes with a house “in order”? Helping others less fortunate? Making time in your life to count your blessings? Having adequate alone time so you can assess things in your life, work and personal? Spending time in nature? Doing things you love whether travel, going to the movies, listening to music, playing sports, watching a ballgame on TV? Having a short commute? The list goes on.

You might not have arrived yet at your ultimate quality of life. For example, you have a goal of working within five miles of home and perhaps right now it is not practical. The point is to know what your quality of life drivers are so you can arrive at them as soon as possible but reckoning with

So going back to 30,000 feet, what does quality of life mean to you?

 

 

 

 

Quality of Life Perspectives: Mario Morino on Deprogramming Yourself When You Leave the Office

Mario Morino

Mario Morino

Mario Morino is a man for whom I have great respect for.  He is one of the most accomplished entrepreneurs and philanthropists I have come across:  he cofounded and built Legent Corporation and Venture Philanthropy Partners, his latest creation.

However, the reason people have great respect for Mario is the person he is.  Despite all of his accomplishments, you will not meet a more grounded person.  You can tell he is the same person he always was and that he treats people based on their character and not their station or resume.

In my interview with Mario he made the following comment which I think is a great bit of wisdom we should all think about for a minute.

“Sometimes the characteristics that served me in the business world, “a hard charging, driving force” tend not to be  the best characteristics for husband and father. So I have made strides in deprogramming myself from the characteristics that are not great to use around the house.”

http://www.qualityoflifeproject.org/articles/mind-article/854/

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The Hero’s Journey (On Living in the World) by Joseph Campbell

Joseph Campbell (1904-1987)

Joseph Campbell (1904-1987)

I hadn’t read Joseph Campbell in awhile.  When I came across this essay last week, I got sucked in.  This is inspiration.  Please share.

The Hero’s Journey (On Living in the World) by Joseph Campbell

The privilege of a lifetime is being who you are.
What you have to do, you do with play.
Life is without meaning. You bring the meaning to it.
The meaning of life is whatever you ascribe it to be.

Being alive is the meaning.

The warrior s approach is to say “yes” to life: “Yea” to it all.

Participate joyfully in the sorrows of the world.
We cannot cure the world of sorrows, but we can choose to live in joy.
When we talk about settling the world s problems, we re barking up the wrong tree.
The world is perfect. It s a mess. It has always been a mess.

We are not going to change it.
Our job is to straighten out our own lives.

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Essay by Norman Lear, More Reflections on the Meaning of Life

norman-lear1
Norman Lear

I came across this essay that Norman Lear wrote in Life magazine in 1992.  It is great. I mean really great.  For those of you that have not heard of Norman Lear he is a hugely talented entrepreneur and humanitarian.  Best known for creating All in the Family and The Jeffersons.  He’s also the founder of People for the American Way.

More Reflections on the Meaning of Life

 

 

Published by the Editors of Life Magazine, 1992

Rome fell, according to historian Lewis Mumford, not through political or economic or military ineptitude.  Rome collapsed through “leeching away of meaning and a loss of faith”.  Mumford might just as well have been speaking about our culture, a society afflicted by cynicism, selfishness and an erosion of civility, a society that has lost faith in its leaders and institutions and hungers for a greater sense of human connectedness.

It is no coincidence, I submit, that ours is a society fixated on the externals.  We are preoccupied with the pursuit of bottom lines, consumption, careerism” and winning.  We pursue a vision of human salvation through “progress,” one of the most powerful unifying myths of our 20th century life.  We place our faith in what we can see, touch and hear, and instinctively grasp for numbers to understand the world.  We remain suspicious of the unquantifiable, the intuitive, the mysterious.

Yet a culture that becomes a stranger to its own inner needs” which are, for better or worse, unquantifiable, intuitive and mysterious” is a culture that has lost touch with the best in its humanity, its sense of shared moral values, its ethics, creativity, passion, wonder and joy.

Could it be that, individually and collectively, we are failing to address one of our most basic human needs” the exploration of our mysterious inner life?

However wondrous, useful, ingenious and economically profitable the fruits of “progress,” none of them satisfy the needs that relate to the inner life, where the capacities for awe, wonder and mystery abide and seek nourishment.  Our failure to look within ourselves is directly related to our knowing destruction of the life-sustaining capacities of the planet, The logging of ancient forests, the frequent oil spills at sea, the perpetual creation of garbage, the extinction of 10,000 species per year” the whole litany of slow-motion environmental catastrophes from acid rain to the ozone layer to global warming” are acts of a society that has lost its sense of identity as a mortal, endangered species on a fragile little planet in a vast cosmos.  How else could a society show such little regard for posterity and commonweal, and engage in such flagrant acts of psychic self-mutilation?

The hunger in the American psyche for connectedness and spiritual renewal is not confined to our nation.  It extends to the peoples of third-world nations, many of whom have been made to feel estranged” by progress and politics, by poverty and famine” from the spiritual world their ancestors held dear.  It extends also to the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe, where the suppression of the spirit has been deliberate for decades.  This is, in fact, a global hunger.

Vaclav Havel, Czechoslovakia’s dissident-turned-President, points out that the most dangerous walls are not political or military boundaries but, as he puts it, “the walls that mutually divide individual people and that divide our own souls.”  As a corrective, Havel announced that his presidential agenda would be “to bring spirituality, moral responsibility, humaneness and humility into polities and, in that respect, to make clear that there is something higher above us.”

Why has no American politician dared to speak similarly, let alone adopt such a platform?  How surprised would they be to learn that most Americans would

welcome a call to make commitments to higher values, to bring spirituality, moral responsibility, humaneness and humility into politics?

Too squeamish to confront these issues, mainstream secular culture has instead surrendered this territory to those on the fringes” the revivalists, the New Age swamis, the self-help ego boosters, the religious right.  This has been a mistake.  The desire to lead a more purposeful life, to search for ultimate meanings, is a central theme of human experience.

We need to reclaim this domain as a legitimate and urgent cultural concern.  In so doing, we must respect each other’s faiths, of course.  And let us standby the traditional First Amendment wall that separates church and state.  But let us not be so skittish or parochial as to think that one of the great human imperatives” the rediscovery and reinvention of a common spiritual life in our desolate modern age” can or should be suppressed.  If we think of our nation’s diverse religions as uniquely different streams that each feed into a single thousand-mile river” a river of humanity – can we agree to discuss that river openly and freely, as a common source of values that nurtures all of our spiritual traditions?

This spiritual urge is undeniable.  From the beginning of human history, we have been embarked on a search for transcendent meaning.  It is as if we were genetically coded to believe that there is a greater force and mystery framing our lives.  Which is why the next great improvement in the human condition will occur not through a millennial faith in technology but by uncovering a new, more spiritually satisfying notion of “progress,” one that requires a vertical leap of faith, a leap in our inner development.  The answer is not to ignore these issues in schools and other institutions.  It is to fling open the doors” and find new ways of learning more about our myriad values and spiritual traditions in order to realize what we all hold in common as a species.

Norman Lear, television producer, writer and director, created All in the Family and is a founder of the civil rights organization People for the American Way.

Top Ten Quality of Life Contributors by Gil Gerstein

fQuality of life to me is living and loving consciously, embracing life s experiences, making small yet attainable goals and enjoying all the little moments that life brings.

1.  Think Positive
I believe that people are inherently good, things are always getting better and all challenges can be turned into accomplishments. By embracing struggle as a learning experience, all events can be positive.

 

2.  Honor Thy Sleep
I take sleeping very seriously. I get about eight hours every night and much more on the weekends. It is so vital for our health and happiness yet so overlooked. It heals the mind, soul and the body. It keeps you young and happy. Respect pillow time and you will feel the difference.

3.  Find Your Soulmate

Being with the right partner is the best feeling in the world. I waited to find my true soul mate and she only came when I was ready and felt truly deserving. She enriches my life, gives me purpose and fills my days with serenity and love.

4.  Verbalize Gratitude

Being grateful is a wonderful quality but verbalizing gratitude has a much more powerful effect. It is a self-fulfilling prophecy and when you express your gratitude towards others they often strive to attain even higher levels of the qualities you admire.

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Walt Whitman On Why Nature Brings Out Our Best

 

Walt Whitman

“Now I see the secret of the making of the best persons.  It is to grow in the open air and to eat and sleep with the earth.”

– Walt Whitman, “Song of the Open Road.”

This passage is from Walt Whitman’s Leaves of Grass.  The poem is called “Song of the Open Road.”

Afoot and light-hearted, I take to the open road,

Healthy, free, the world before me,

The long brown path before me, leading wherever I choose.

 

Henceforth I ask not good-fortune: I myself am good fortune;

Henceforth I whimper no more, postpone no more, need nothing,

Strong and content, I travel the open road.

 

The earth: that is sufficient;

I do not want the constellations any nearer;

I know they are very well where they are;

I know they suffice for those who belong to them.

 

(Still here I carry my old delicious burdens;

I carry them, men and women: I carry them with me wherever I go;

I swear it is impossible for me to get rid of them;

I am fill d with them, and I will fill them in return.)

 

You road I enter upon and look around! I believe you are not all that is here;

I believe that much unseen is also here.

 

Here the profound lesson of reception, neither preference or denial;

The black with his woolly head, the felon, the diseas’d, the illiterate person, are not denied;

The birth, the hasting after the physician, the beggar s tramp, the drunkard s stagger, the laughing party of mechanics,

The escaped youth, the rich person s carriage, the fop, the eloping couple,

The early market-man, the hearse, the moving of furniture into the town, the return back from the town,

They pass: I also pass: anything passes: none can be interdicted;

None but are accepted: none but are dear to me.

 

You air that serves me with breath to speak!

You objects that call from diffusion my meanings, and give them shape!

You light that wraps me and all things in delicate equable showers!

You paths worn in the irregular hollows by the roadsides!

I think you are latent with unseen existences: you are so dear to me.

 

You flagg’d walks of the cities! you strong curbs at the edges!

You ferries! you planks and posts of wharves! you timber-lined sides! you distant ships!

You rows of houses! you window-pierc’d facades! you roofs!

You porches and entrances! you copings and iron guards!

You windows whose transparent shells might expose so much!

You doors and ascending steps! you arches!

You gray stones of interminable pavements! you trodden crossings!

From all that has been near you, I believe you have imparted to yourselves, and now would impart the same secretly to me;

From the living and the dead I think you have peopled your impassive surfaces, and the spirits thereof would be evident and amicable with me.

 

The earth expanding right hand and left hand,

The picture alive, every part in its best light,

The music falling in where it is wanted, and stopping where it is not wanted,

The cheerful voice of the public road: the gay fresh sentiment of the road.

 

O highway I travel! O public road! do you say to me, Do not leave me?

Do you say, Venture not? If you leave me, you are lost?

Do you say, I am already prepared: I am well-beaten and undenied: adhere to me?

 

O public road! I say back, I am not afraid to leave you: yet I love you;

You express me better than I can express myself;

You shall be more to me than my poem.

 

I think heroic deeds were all conceiv’d in the open air, and all great poems also;

I think I could stop here myself, and do miracles;

(My judgments, thoughts, I henceforth try by the open air, the road;)

I think whatever I shall meet on the road I shall like, and whoever beholds me shall like me;

I think whoever I see must be happy.

 

From this hour, freedom!

From this hour I ordain myself loos d of limits and imaginary lines,

Going where I list, my own master, total and absolute,

Listening to others, and considering well what they say,

Pausing, searching, receiving, contemplating,

Gently, but with undeniable will, divesting myself of the holds that would hold me.

 

I inhale great draughts of space;

The east and the west are mine, and the north and the south are mine.

 

I am larger, better than I thought;

I did not know I held so much goodness.

 

All seems beautiful to me;

I can repeat over to men and women, You have done such good to me, I would do the same to you.

 

I will recruit for myself and you as I go;

I will scatter myself among men and women as I go;

I will toss the new gladness and roughness among them;

Whoever denies me, it shall not trouble me;

Whoever accepts me, he or she shall be blessed, and shall bless me.

 

Now if a thousand perfect men were to appear, it would not amaze me;

Now if a thousand beautiful forms of women appear d, it would not astonish me.

 

Now I see the secret of the making of the best persons,

It is to grow in the open air, and to eat and sleep with the earth.

 

Here a great personal deed has room;

A great deed seizes upon the hearts of the whole race of men,

Its effusion of strength and will overwhelms law, and mocks all authority and all argument against it.

 

Here is the test of wisdom;

Wisdom is not finally tested in schools;

Wisdom cannot be pass d from one having it, to another not having it;

Wisdom is of the Soul, is not susceptible of proof, is its own proof,

Applies to all stages and objects and qualities, and is content,

Is the certainty of the reality and immortality of things, and the excellence of things;

Something there is in the float of the sight of things that provokes it out of the Soul.

 

Now I reëxamine philosophies and religions,

They may prove well in lecture-rooms, yet not prove at all under the spacious clouds, and along the landscape and flowing currents.

 

Here is realization;

Here is a man tallied: he realizes here what he has in him;

The past, the future, majesty, love: if they are vacant of you, you are vacant of them.

 

Only the kernel of every object nourishes;

Where is he who tears off the husks for you and me?

Where is he that undoes stratagems and envelopes for you and me?

 

Here is adhesiveness: it is not previously fashion: it is apropos;

Do you know what it is, as you pass, to be loved by strangers?

Do you know the talk of those turning eye-balls?

 

Here is the efflux of the Soul;

The efflux of the Soul comes from within, through embower d gates, ever provoking questions:

These yearnings, why are they? These thoughts in the darkness, why are they?

Why are there men and women that while they are nigh me, the sun-light expands my blood?

Why, when they leave me, do my pennants of joy sink flat and lank?

Why are there trees I never walk under, but large and melodious thoughts descend upon me?

(I think they hang there winter and summer on those trees, and always drop fruit as I pass;)

What is it I interchange so suddenly with strangers?

What with some driver, as I ride on the seat by his side?

What with some fisherman, drawing his seine by the shore, as I walk by, and pause?

What gives me to be free to a woman s or man s good-will? What gives them to be free to mine?

 

The efflux of the Soul is happiness: here is happiness;

I think it pervades the open air, waiting at all times;

Now it flows unto us: we are rightly charged.

 

Here rises the fluid and attaching character;

The fluid and attaching character is the freshness and sweetness of man and woman;

(The herbs of the morning sprout no fresher and sweeter every day out of the roots of themselves, than it sprouts fresh and sweet continually out of itself.)

 

Toward the fluid and attaching character exudes the sweat of the love of young and old;

From it falls distill d the charm that mocks beauty and attainments;

Toward it heaves the shuddering longing ache of contact.

 

Allons! whoever you are, come travel with me!

Traveling with me, you find what never tires.

 

The earth never tires;

The earth is rude, silent, incomprehensible at first: Nature is rude and incomprehensible at first;

Be not discouraged: keep on: there are divine things, well envelop d;

I swear to you there are divine things more beautiful than words can tell.

 

Allons! we must not stop here!

However sweet these laid-up stores: however convenient this dwelling, we cannot remain here;

However shelter d this port, and however calm these waters, we must not anchor here;

However welcome the hospitality that surrounds us, we are permitted to receive it but a little while.

 

Allons! the inducements shall be greater;

We will sail pathless and wild seas;

We will go where winds blow, waves dash, and the Yankee clipper speeds by under full sail.

 

Allons! with power, liberty, the earth, the elements!

Health, defiance, gayety, self-esteem, curiosity;

Allons! from all formules!

From your formules, O bat-eyed and materialistic priests!

 

The stale cadaver blocks up the passage: the burial waits no longer.

 

Allons! yet take warning!

He traveling with me needs the best blood, thews, endurance;

None may come to the trial, till he or she bring courage and health.

 

Come not here if you have already spent the best of yourself;

Only those may come, who come in sweet and determin d bodies;

No diseas d person: no rum-drinker or venereal taint is permitted here.

 

I and mine do not convince by arguments, similes, rhymes;

We convince by our presence.

 

Listen! I will be honest with you;

I do not offer the old smooth prizes, but offer rough new prizes;

These are the days that must happen to you:

 

You shall not heap up what is call d riches,

You shall scatter with lavish hand all that you earn or achieve,

You but arrive at the city to which you were destin d: you hardly settle yourself to satisfaction, before you are call d by an irresistible call to depart,

You shall be treated to the ironical smiles and mockings of those who remain behind you;

What beckonings of love you receive, you shall only answer with passionate kisses of parting,

You shall not allow the hold of those who spread their reach d hands toward you.

 

Allons! after the GREAT COMPANIONS! and to belong to them!

They too are on the road! they are the swift and majestic men; they are the greatest women.

Over that which hinder d them: over that which retarded: passing impediments large or small,

Committers of crimes, committers of many beautiful virtues,

Enjoyers of calms of seas, and storms of seas,

Sailors of many a ship, walkers of many a mile of land,

Habitués of many distant countries, habitués of far-distant dwellings,

Trusters of men and women, observers of cities, solitary toilers,

Pausers and contemplators of tufts, blossoms, shells of the shore,

Dancers at wedding-dances, kissers of brides, tender helpers of children, bearers of children,

Soldiers of revolts, standers by gaping graves, lowerers down of coffins,

Journeyers over consecutive seasons, over the years: the curious years, each emerging from that which preceded it,

Journeyers as with companions, namely, their own diverse phases,

Forth-steppers from the latent unrealized baby-days,

Journeyers gayly with their own youth: Journeyers with their bearded and well-grain d manhood,

Journeyers with their womanhood, ample, unsurpass d, content,

Journeyers with their own sublime old age of manhood or womanhood,

Old age, calm, expanded, broad with the haughty breadth of the universe,

Old age, flowing free with the delicious near-by freedom of death.

 

Allons! to that which is endless, as it was beginningless,

To undergo much, tramps of days, rests of nights,

To merge all in the travel they tend to, and the days and nights they tend to,

Again to merge them in the start of superior journeys;

To see nothing anywhere but what you may reach it and pass it,

To conceive no time, however distant, but what you may reach it and pass it,

To look up or down no road but it stretches and waits for you: however long, but it stretches and waits for you;

To see no being, not God s or any, but you also go thither,

To see no possession but you may possess it: enjoying all without labor or purchase: abstracting the feast, yet not abstracting one particle of it;

To take the best of the farmer s farm and the rich man s elegant villa, and the chaste blessings of the well-married couple, and the fruits of orchards and flowers of gardens,

To take to your use out of the compact cities as you pass through,

To carry buildings and streets with you afterward wherever you go,

To gather the minds of men out of their brains as you encounter them: to gather the love out of their hearts,

To take your lovers on the road with you, for all that you leave them behind you,

To know the universe itself as a road: as many roads: as roads for traveling souls.

 

The Soul travels;

The body does not travel as much as the soul;

The body has just as great a work as the soul, and parts away at last for the journeys of the soul.

 

All parts away for the progress of souls;

All religion, all solid things, arts, governments,: all that was or is apparent upon this globe or any globe, falls into niches and corners before the procession of Souls along the grand roads of the universe.

 

Of the progress of the souls of men and women along the grand roads of the universe, all other progress is the needed emblem and sustenance.

 

Forever alive, forever forward,

Stately, solemn, sad, withdrawn, baffled, mad, turbulent, feeble, dissatisfied,

Desperate, proud, fond, sick, accepted by men, rejected by men,

They go! they go! I know that they go, but I know not where they go;

But I know that they go toward the best: toward something great.

 

Allons! whoever you are! come forth!

You must not stay sleeping and dallying there in the house, though you built it, or though it has been built for you.

 

Allons! out of the dark confinement!

It is useless to protest: I know all, and expose it.

 

Behold, through you as bad as the rest,

Through the laughter, dancing, dining, supping, of people,

Inside of dresses and ornaments, inside of those wash d and trimm d faces,

Behold a secret silent loathing and despair.

 

No husband, no wife, no friend, trusted to hear the confession;

Another self, a duplicate of every one, skulking and hiding it goes,

Formless and wordless through the streets of the cities, polite and bland in the parlors,

In the cars of rail-roads, in steamboats, in the public assembly,

Home to the houses of men and women, at the table, in the bed-room, everywhere,

Smartly attired, countenance smiling, form upright, death under the breast-bones, hell under the skull-bones,

Under the broadcloth and gloves, under the ribbons and artificial flowers,

Keeping fair with the customs, speaking not a syllable of itself,

Speaking of anything else, but never of itself.

 

Allons! through struggles and wars!

The goal that was named cannot be countermanded.

 

Have the past struggles succeeded?

What has succeeded? yourself? your nation? nature?

Now understand me well: It is provided in the essence of things, that from any fruition of success, no matter what, shall come forth something to make a greater struggle necessary.

 

My call is the call of battle: I nourish active rebellion;

He going with me must go well arm’d;

He going with me goes often with spare diet, poverty, angry enemies, desertions.

 

Allons! the road is before us!

It is safe: I have tried it: my own feet have tried it well.

 

Allons! be not detain d!

Let the paper remain on the desk unwritten, and the book on the shelf unopen d!

Let the tools remain in the workshop! let the money remain unearn d!

Let the school stand! mind not the cry of the teacher!

Let the preacher preach in his pulpit! let the lawyer plead in the court, and the judge expound the law.

 

Mon enfant! I give you my hand!

I give you my love, more precious than money,

I give you myself, before preaching or law;

Will you give me yourself? will you come travel with me?

Shall we stick by each other as long as we live?

The Wisdom of Dichotomies: The World is a Mess and Life Optimism Reconciled

Photograph by eNil via Flickr

Photograph by eNil via Flickr

I was talking with our housekeeper Fany this morning about an earthquake that hit Honduras the day before.

In non-negative way, she was saying how this is just another example of all that is happening in the world today.  I made a joke, something to the effect of “El fin del mundo esta muy cerca!”  She sort of shrugged and mentioned that she does think the end of the world may be not too far out.

The next thing she said was what struck me.  She said this belief makes it easier for her to live each day to the fullest.  The feeling that the world is a crazy, unstable place meant for her a greater sense of calm and day-to-day optimism.

While I don t agree about a pending cataclysmic event, it does make sense why these two seeming opposite mindsets actually interplay so well.    I can see how a doomsday philosophy could simultaneously someone a more passionate, optimistic person.

This exchange is also a perfect illustration of the power of an optimistic mindset.  A negative person would let a doomsday belief translate to apathy and cynicism, while an optimistic person works off of the belief to introduce more passion into each day.

All of this (both the “world is in constant flux” theme and the dichotomy concept) reminds me of a Joseph Cambell quote:

“When we talk about settling the world s problems, we re barking up the wrong tree.  The world is perfect.  It s a mess.  It has always been a mess.  We are not going to change it.  Our job is to straighten out our own lives.”


The more I experience life the more I come across the wisdom of dichotomies.


Top Ten Quality of Life Contributors by Avil Beckford

sdfds

Quality of life for me is doing the things that bring joy. Over the past five years I have learned a lot about what does not work for me and I have turned over a new leaf.

1.  Reading

I am an avid reader, and reading is one of the simple pleasures in my life. I go through phases where I will focus on one genre until I am ready for a change. Right now, I am reading books across genres, and one of the unique things is that I have the ability to make connections among disparate pieces of information. I am an active reader so I get emotionally caught up with the words on the pages as I interact with them.

2.  Meditation

Twice a day I meditate, which helps to bring peace to my life. I retreat to the quiet place within, where I listen to hear what my inner voice is trying to tell me. This practice helps me to become the person I was meant to be.

3.  Raja Yoga

I recently discovered Raja Yoga, the highest form of yoga and it has made such a difference in my life. I have received tools to help me to achieve self-mastery. I see simple yet profound changes in myself. Things that used to bother me no longer do, and I view difficult people as my “Tests.”

4.  Flourishing

I have been in many situations, both personal and professional where I felt a piece of me wither and die each day. Now I know how to quickly identify situations where I flourish and blossom. This allows me to be my best self, which contributes to contentment and happiness.

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Top Ten Quality of Life Contributors by Cynthia Chin

rWe live in a time when more and more people realize that life is not just about existing but absolutely be about living to the fullest. Most of us perceive ourselves to be stuck in whatever rut that we cannot possibly get out of at the moment, for whatever reasons. I d like to think otherwise. Quality of life is something that I experience, pursue and maintain at all costs because I believe that if we don t love, enjoy and LIVE life, than our short time on earth will be sadly wasted.

So, what drives me? These are 10 contributors to what I especially love about my life, in no particular order. I m working on all of them. Doesn t mean I don t fall off the wagon. But as with all things, we need to pick ourselves up, brush ourselves off, and jump on again. Enjoy!

1. Discovering and Rediscovering Passions

When I was 14, all I wanted to do was to study abroad, get a degree in something wildlife or environmental related, and save the world. I did that (not the save the world bit, but I m still in the wildlife conservation industry). I m 36 and I ve realized it s time for me to discover, rediscover and pursue other passions in my life. I m in the process of doing this, and I m excited about it. I thrive on the process of discovery. I have a lot of things I can be passionate about. I just haven t found one I want to pursue just yet.

2. Exercise and Keeping Healthy

I don t look super fit. I m not in great physical shape and I certainly am not drop-dead gorgeous Miss Athlete. But I tell ya, I looove working out, I loooove getting out in the jungle and trekking around, I loooove swimming, and I loooove sharing these activities with my friends. Exercise and activity keep me focused; eating well (as much as possible, anyway) makes me feel good about myself. I come to a place of quiet and inner reflection during a trek in the forest, on the treadmill, with every stroke of my swim. My focus is always on the exercise and fitness. Whether I lose weight or anything else is never the goal. I believe that s the key philosophy on exercise.

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Top Ten Quality of Life Contributors by Paul Mallory

Hi Everyone, this is the first of many future submittals.  This one comes from Paul Mallory, a fan of the site for some time.   We were introduced through Arvind Devalia a few months back and Paul is now doing some volunteer work for Quality of Life Project as well.  We will be publishing submittals from friends of the organization every two weeks going forward.  If you haven’t sent yours yet, we would love to receive it.

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By Paul Mallory

People often talk about work/life balance. I realized one day (in middle age) that my work life is a huge percentage of my time on earth, and that I wanted my life to be as meaningful, contributory and joyful as I could make it. The key for me is to have work that feels like I am using my gifts to the full, and making a difference. That s when I formed my company, Soul Work, to coach people on finding more fulfillment at work.

Children

I have four beautiful, bright, happy and hilarious children, ranging from a school leaver to a middle-school starter. These are my favorite people in the world, and they are the people who bring joy to my weekends and through their aspirations and achievements, some huge, some tiny. They come before everything else for me, but I also realized that to support, mentor and make them happy, I needed to be happy in myself and that I therefore needed to feel good about myself and find fulfilment in my work.

Mission

I am happiest when I feel ‘on-purpose , i.e. that my daily work is me being who I authentically am, at my core, and using my unique strengths for the benefit of others. When we re lost in our work, we are ‘in flow , and that s a great feeling. I formed my company ‘Soul Work to research the question of how we can increase our fulfilment at work, by either changing our mindset around our current role, or by finding a new role that allows the possibility of alignment to our life purpose.

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