A recent article in the Washington Post wrote about a talk that was given for TED at The Future You conference. They mentioned something that I think is very important. There are some things that seem so trivial and yet turn out to be so important to living a happy healthy life. So here in a condensed version are three things that we need to prioritize in life to make life worth living.
First, we must have face to face social interaction. This is missing in many techies who live glued to a screen and who think Facebook friends are real friends. It turns out that close relationships and social integration lead to longer lives. This involves intimacy, face to face interaction with real people, and good support groups to help us. This is essential to be healthy physically and emotionally. There is no substitute for person to person interaction. It doesn’t even have to be in long deep conversations. Just being around people and interacting with them is good. A handshake, eye contact while speaking, a high-five, all benefit us.
Second, technology is our servant, not our master. We need to know when to turn it off. We do not need to be connected 24/7 no matter what your boss says. You cannot live a fulfilling satisfying life while carrying your phone around with you. There is a bigger world beyond your social media app. Let me just say that you will become happy when you turn off your phone.
Third, it’s meaning that makes us happy. Trying to be happy is a sure way to be depressed. Living for Fun is an empty life. Living for pleasure will leave you empty inside. We need something bigger than ourselves to be a part of. We get meaning in our lives through four channels. Belonging, purpose, transcendence, and storytelling. We need people in our lives who love us and care about us. Having a reason to get out of bed in the morning to do something constructive. Finding something that will force you outside of yourself without altering your mind. And telling your story, not letting others tell their version of it for you.
This is by no means all there is to life. But it is a good start.