To increase our happiness, we need better questions than “What accomplishments should be on my scorecard?” Let me suggest a few that will lead to answers that can deliver authentic well-being.
1. Who has the intrinsic characteristics that I admire and want to emulate?
2. What do people most need from me, and how do I provide it?
3. What is my life’s purpose?

Arthur C. Brooks

I was inspired by this article from Arthur C. Brooks that tackles questions of meaning and happiness.

So there you are, standing at life’s metaphorical edge, squinting at your so-called scorecard. You’ve been keeping tabs on all the usual suspects—career milestones, the kind of car that silently screams ‘I’ve made it’, and those little plaques and trophies that gather dust faster than your interest in them.

But let’s try something different, shall we? Let’s chuck that dusty old scorecard into the bin and scribble down something new. Something that doesn’t sound like it was plagiarized from a motivational poster featuring a soaring eagle.

First off, “Love your family.” Yes, even (perhaps, especially) your Uncle Anthony insists on discussing politics at Thanksgiving. They’re your tribe, your circus, the people who know your most embarrassing childhood stories and still choose to be seen with you in public. Embrace the chaos, the noise, the unsolicited advice. One day, you’ll miss it. Or so they say.

Next, “Love your friends.” They’re the chosen family, the ones who didn’t get a bloodline veto. They’ve seen you at your worst and still haven’t blocked your number. Remember, these are the folks who will help you move a body or at least a couch, no questions asked. That’s love, in its most unfiltered form.

And then, “Do what’s in front of you.” Not in a ‘stare blankly at your inbox’ kind of way, but really do it. Whether it’s perfecting your grandmother’s meatball recipe, finally fixing that wobbly table leg, or just listening—really listening—to someone who needs it. It’s about being present, not just physically, but with your whole being. It’s less glamorous than chasing after the next big thing, but surprisingly satisfying.

So, there you have it. A new game plan for life that doesn’t involve climbing any ladders or stepping on any toes. It’s about finding joy in the mundane, the everyday, the perfectly imperfect world of family, friends, and the things right under your nose. It’s not flashy, but it’s real. And in a world full of filters and facades, real is something to hold onto.

Stephen Boudreau serves as VP of Brand & Community at Virtuous Software. For over two decades, he has helped nonprofits leverage the digital space to grow their impact. To that end, Stephen co-founded RaiseDonors, a platform that provides nonprofits with technology and experiences that remove barriers to successful online fundraising. He is an avid (but aging) soccer player, audiobook enthusiast, and the heavily-disputed UNO champion of his household.

Copyright ©2024 Stephen Boudreau.