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The Art Of The Good Life – 5 Takeaways


I am always trying to explore and learn new ways to improve my life.  This way I can learn something for myself and having something positive to share with all you 5and2 guys and gals.  When looking for ways to improve my life, I came across this book by Rolf Dobelli titled The Art Of The Good Life:  52 Surprising Shortcuts To Happiness, Wealth, And Success.  It seemed like a good one to read so I gave it a shot.

This book was only 256 pages and was very easy to read.  It kept me engaged and wanting to read more.  The goal of the book was to help identify ways of thinking and ways of acting in order to enhance your life.  Not only with the things you can get done, but also how you think as well.  It shared little shortcuts you can implement to help you live a happier life.  Here are five key takeaways I believe had the most impact on my life and could have on yours as well.

“It’s not what you add that enriches your life—it’s what you omit.”

This is saying the same thing Bruce Lee was saying when he said, “It’s not the daily increase but daily decrease. Hack away at the unessential.”  We often are overwhelmed by taken on too many responsibilities in our lives.  We try to be everything to everybody.  The problem is that when we try to do everything, we don’t do anything well.  Things get dropped and we let ourselves and others down.  I know we have discussed this before, but are you really listening?  Have you set aside an hour to look at everything you do in your life to see what you don’t really need or like to do?  If you haven’t, set aside an hour.  Put it in your calendar and take inventory.  By removing the unessential and the unenjoyable from your daily activities, your life will be dramatically improved.

The Focusing Illusion

The Focusing Illusion says that nothing in your life is as important as you think it is while you are thinking about it.  Have you ever noticed how we tend to give a topic or issue more value and attention than it really deserves?  Think about it…when you are lecturing your son or daughter about something they have done wrong…do you spend way too much time on it?  What about that argument with a boyfriend or girlfriend for being late?  Do you turn it into a bigger deal than it actually is?  I know our frustration can do that at times, but we have to be able to step back and look at the situation.  Look at it in the grand scheme of things.  Sure, different things need to be addressed and said, but if we give it so much value that it causes unnecessary stress in our lives, then maybe we have gone too far.  That is what The Focusing Illusion is saying.  If you want to remove some stress from your life, remember The Focusing Illusion, step back from a situation, and put it into perspective.

Know What Your Good At And Stick With That

We all have things we are good at doing and things we are not good at doing.  The things you are good at can be referred to as your circle of competence.  For example, I am very skilled when it comes to techie stuff.  I can program computers, easily understand technology, and have a knack for fixing technical things.  Anything techie is within my circle of competence, or at least understanding.  Now, adding a deck, remodeling a room, or installing a water heater is not even a consideration for me.  I don’t know how to do those things, so I stay away from them.  By knowing what you are good at and what you are not, you will become more efficient because you won’t have to decide every time whether to accept or refuse a task when asked.  

Focus On The Input, Not The Output

It is important to understand the output of what you are doing.  You need to know the outcome of the work you are doing.  Once you know the outcome, identify the steps you need to get to that outcome.  Once the steps are identified, now you need to focus on the doing.  This means that you need to focus on the activity, the work, the input—not on the success, the result,  or the output.  By focusing on each step and giving it your best, the output will take care of itself.

We tend to be so focused on getting something done that we rush through each step, simply trying to reach the outcome.  This often results in stress and worry, not to mention an outcome that was built on stress and worry.  By focusing on the activity, each individual step, you can find the joy in each step.  Enjoy the process.  If you can enjoy each step in the process, you will be happier and end up with a better outcome.

Avoid Problems Before You Have To Solve Them

Problems are everywhere, and you will have your fair share.  The goal here is to not create any problems for yourself, by avoiding them.  Since other people will bring you their problems or cause you problems, why not do your best to not create any of your own?  With anything and everything you do, try to use knowledge and imagination to think through possibilities and consequences.  I am not saying you should run your entire life in slow motion and stress out about every little thing. That would not be the good life.  Your goal is to give the important things in your life the attention and forethought it needs in order to avoid problems.  For example…the battery in the smoke detector is going off again.  What a pain that is, especially at 2am in the morning.  You decide to unplug the smoke detector and put it in the closet.  Six months later, the smoke detector is in the closet and a fire breaks out.  See the problem???  Think things through so that you can avoid any problems rather than having to solve them later.

Final Thoughts

This was a great book with a ton of suggestions and recommendations on how to live the good life.  I picked just five from a book that had tons in it.  I believe these five are some of the best ones from the book and the ones that could really help you reach the good life if you think about them and try to use them.  Like anything else you read…if you don’t take any action, you are just learning.  Learning without action won’t give you the good life!!!

If you want to read this book for yourself, click the book below:

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