Have you ever asked yourself the question: How Do I Live A Good Life?
If you’re like most people, you want the secret to fulfillment in life…
If you want to jump STRAIGHT into the 8 Keys to Living a Happy Life, scroll down to where I say “Physical Fitness is only ONE COMPONENT of Integral Fitness”
I spent 4 years in college at the University of Southern California (USC) obsessed with this question. In essence, I wanted to know how to be happy. I wanted to cure my depression. I wanted to learn how to live the perfect life.
At the time, I was pretty lost…
ARE YOU MAKING THINGS TOO COMPLICATED?
It’s not that complicated.
Simplicity is Felicity…
… and I believe that clarity is the ultimate power.
More often than not, when I am struggling with an idea, I am struggling because I haven’t adequately clarified the problem.
In the preface of Principia Ethica, a seminal work in the history of 20th century philosophy, G.E. Moore writes
It appears to me that in Ethics, as in all other philosophical studies, the difficulties and disagreements, of which its history is full, are mainly due to a very simple cause…
the attempt to answer questions without first discovering precisely what question it is which you desire to answer.
Moore understood that the secret to getting a better answer is: asking a better question.
But what does this mean for you if you want to be happy?
Oftentimes, the pursuit of certain questions presupposes the very problem you are trying to solve. In fancier language, we could say: the presupposition of a question can affirm its consequent. It’s self-undermining.
For example: Try not to think of a pink elephants.
WHERE ARE THE PINK ELEPHANTS IN YOUR LIFE?
“Try to pose for yourself this task: not to think of a polar bear, and you will see that the cursed thing will come to mind every minute.”
— Fyodor Dostoevsky, Winter Notes on Summer Impressions, 1863 
But, who cares? Why is this relevant? And when are we going to talk about the 8 Keys to Living A Good Life?
All will be revealed shortly!
Firstly, here’s why you should care about Pink Elephants.
Tony Robbins says that the questions we ask ourselves and others compose 1/3 of the forces that control and determine the quality of our lives. He teaches that we each have a “primary question” which we ask constantly.
The problem is: the question we ask will determine the quality of answer we receive.
For example, Tony says that if I ask myself: “Why can’t I stop eating” — I’m going to get an answer like “because I’m a fat pig (obviously).”
EVERY QUESTION WE ASK PRESUPPOSES AN ANSWER
So, what happens if we ask a different question?
Instead of asking questions like: “why can’t I stop eating” or “why am I not happy” or “why am I such a loser“….
We can ask questions like: “How am I disciplined with food” or “why could I be happy now” or “in what ways am I a winner“?
If you’re thinking: YES BUT I’M NOT [fill in the blank here]… so I can’t ask THAT question!
Then you’re only proving my point further: if you’re committed to seeing yourself as undisciplined, unhappy, or undeserving … you will be!
Man is unhappy because he doesn’t know he’s happy; only because of that.
Whoever learns this will at once immediately become happy, that same moment…
If you’re going to understand the power of The 8 Pillars of Integral Fitness and why they are the keys to living a fulfilled life… then you have to first understand the question that spawned them.
THE PARADOX OF SELF-HELP
So often, it’s the very belief that we “LACK [X]” [happiness, love, discipline, or whatever] which motivates the pursuit to “FIND [X]” the first place. It’s BECAUSE I don’t have kale that I go to the grocery store to buy it.
But… if I fundamentally believe that I don’t have [X] [happiness, etc.] then I won’t.
Therefore, by presupposing the deficiency I risk that which I fear to lose.
“I am a happy camper so I guess I’m doing something right.
Happiness is like a butterfly; the more you chase it, the more it will elude you, but if you turn your attention to other things, it will come and sit softly on your shoulder.”
Henry David Thoreau
You have to ask a higher quality question.
Instead of asking: how do I live a happy life… let’s back up a step.
We don’t want to risk falling into the paradox of a poor question!
Step #1 - Start with where you’re at
So, let me ask you a VERY simple question….
How do you get to the Pantheon in Rome?
LOS ANGELES TO ROME — 11 H 55 MINS
Is this how you would get there?
Why? Because step #1 is: you have to KNOW WHERE YOU’RE AT!
You can’t follow MY directions for getting to the Pantheon — you have to follow your own.
Step #2 - Find a Helpful Map
Once you know where you’re at, you can start to figure out how to get where you’re going.
To do this, you need a map.
I can’t tell you how many people think they can skip this step. They think they can just “start driving” and expect to find what they’re looking for.
It doesn’t work that way.
Have you heard of the restaurant, The French Laundry? It’s considered the #1 restaurant in the world.
Can you find it on this map?
THIS IS BASICALLY WHAT YOU WOULD EXPERIENCE IF YOU JUST STARTED “DRIVING THERE”
How about on this map?
A MAP IS NOT THE TERRITORY
(THAT’S WHY IT’S HELPFUL!)
So, what map do you have for getting what you want out of life?
Now… THAT’S a question!
We’ll get there a bit later in this post… don’t worry!
Step #3 - Follow the Map
This last part is easy.
If you’re like me, this is how you navigate:
- I open iMaps.
- I figure out where I am.
- I plug in the start location.
- I enter my destination.
- I click “go” to find the route.
- I follow the route.
This isn’t rocket science!
Once I have a map…
I know where I am….
and I know where I am going…
getting there is easy, right?!
The problem is… Most of us don’t have a map.
Well, actually, we DO… but it’s incomplete.
WE ALL KNOW WHAT IT MEANS TO BE “PHYSICALLY FIT”
There are over 21 MILLION pages on google about Physical Fitness…
There are comprehensive resources like www.bodybuilding.com with in depth articles like this:
Physical Fitness is only ONE COMPONENT of Integral Fitness….
(but don’t don’t worry… we have you covered)
So, instead of asking any question that presupposes that we DON’T already have happiness, love, confidence, serenity, (etc.)…
That is, instead of asking a question that presupposes that WE ARE NOT living a good life
- because if we DO, we may never find it -
Let’s instead ask a different question:
Where am I in my life?
… And where could I be?
And without further ado…
Here are the 8 Keys to Living a Happy Life!
You can check out this video about the 8 Keys to Living a Happy Life - or you can read on below.
Integral Fitness is based on exercising the 8 core pillars of life:
The Emotion Pillar is about your quality of life. Ask yourself whether or not you feel like you have emotional mastery, resilience, strength, and feel more positive feelings like love, joy, inspiration, and gratitude than negative feelings like shame, doubt, fear, and anger.
The Body Pillar represents your current level of health and vitality. Are you living an active lifestyle, eating a healthy diet, and exercising?
The Mind Pillar is about your cognitive frameworks, knowledge, and skills. It’s about how insightful you are about yourself, others, and the world. It’s also about how much time and energy you invest in learning and growing yourself and your skillset.
The Environment Pillar is about your physical environment and relationships. What do your friendships, community, relationships, family and environment look like? Are these exactly where you would want them or is there something you want to change?
The Communication Pillar represents the tools and abilities you have to express yourself & relate to others. It’s also your ability to feel comfortable in a variety of social settings, influence yourself & others, and see/understand others clearly without layers of projections.
The Business Pillar represents your professional life. It covers everything from your career, your finances, your leadership, your decisiveness, and your ability to take a dream and turn it into reality. Are you achieving the things you want to be achieving?
The Spirit Pillar represents your relationship to Nature — your own true nature, the flow of life, and something greater than ourselves. This involves practices to “tune” into your own inner voice, intuition, and creativity. It also involves your ability to recognize guidance, subtle forces, and possibility.
The Contribution Pillar represents your impact on the world. High contribution is providing massive value to benefit the world, humanity, friends, and family. Your contribution also relates to your environmental footprint & the sustainability of your practices.
 Principia Ethica - G.E. Moore - Defining and Understanding The True, The Good, and The Beautiful - link to the full text [not recommended unless you like hardcore 20th century analytic philosophy]
 Questions are often presuppositions that affirm the consequent of an implied conditional. [not recommended unless you are fascinated by analytic philosophy and linguistics]
 “Suppressing the ‘white bears'”. apa.org. American Psychological Association.
 What is Integral Fitness: Part 1 of 9