A Chicago public school teacher who had her class watch our movie No Impact Man reached out to me and asked me to write a letter to her class. After I wrote it, I realized it is exactly the advice I strive to follow in my own life and which you, whatever age you are, might find helpful–at least if, like me, you are looking to lead an authentic, impactful, good life.
Happiness and Life Satisfaction
A simple stack of handwritten “vision cards” that I look at and work with every day has helped me more than any other personal management tool to achieve goals in every area of my life from being a successful author to helping others to live according to their values to building an income that sustains me to living environmentally to being an effective climate change and social change activist to being a good dad. This post is about how to create and use your own set of vision cards. I hope it helps you as much as it has helped me.
When I was No Impact Man, people asked me all sorts of questions but the underneath motivation was almost always, “How do I make efforts that matter to the problems in the world I care about? How do I feel, if I must struggle in life, that my struggle at least matters to others?” Here are some questions that can help you build your legacy.
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Back before I did the No Impact Man lifestyle experiment–in which I completely deconstructed my life and then put it back together, small choice by small choice–I worried mostly about getting the right job, the right relationship, the right home. It was all about making the right HUGE choice. It was scary–because what if you get a huge choice wrong?–and hard–because the HUGE choices take so much energy to change. Then, I learned that life is lived just as much in the smaller choices as the big ones. And I could make smaller choices to make my life happy and helpful now (instead of later, when I could change the big choices).
When Freud, Jung, Rogers, Perls and others developed analysis and therapy in the last century, so many of them–and their patients–lived in stable, safe, happy worlds. If they were personally unhappy, there was something wrong with them and they needed to change themselves. But what if our unhappiness comes not from something we need to fix in ourselves but from something that needs to be changed in the world? Here are some hints.
We contribute more to our individual and world happiness when we are interconnected with and contribute to larger groups of people. Here are concrete directions for building or strengthening a really cool, individualized version of your own personal community. This is Part II of a two-part post.
True fact: A huge body of research shows that we contribute more to our individual and world happiness when we are interconnected with and contribute to larger groups of people. Here are some directions for building or strengthening a really cool, individualized version of your own personal community.