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Living Your Best Life – Part 2 of a 6 Part Series Exploring Happiness and Contentment

If we are not willing to look inside our own lives to find our faults, there will be no growth.

To begin with, thanks to everyone for the responses to part 1 of this series. I was totally surprised at how many messages and comments I received regarding my little 300-word ramble. My original background is in journalism (feature and straight news…. not political propaganda) and it felt great to move back into that direction.

Ok, then. As the title implies, back to happiness and contentment.

I am going to backtrack a little and use the term “appropriateness”. I ran across the word in a book I was reading this past week by Richard Paul Evans. As we discussed last week, life is going to hit us with difficult circumstances daily. When something negative occurs, we are not supposed to feel happy about it. Throughout our lives we will have both tears of joy and tears of sorrow. These are appropriate feelings for the situations we face, and they are totally fine. It is simply not possible (nor expected) to be happy all the time. This feeling of appropriateness is a sign of a healthy mental state which leads us to three areas that I would like to focus on over the next few weeks.

Happiness/satisfaction/contentment (or whatever you want to call it) is based on our physical, emotional, and spiritual well-being.

As much as I would like to take credit for coming up with these three areas, I did not. Most motivational books and speakers I have read or listened to agree that these are the three key areas of our lives. All three are equally important as they work together to benefit or hurt us each minute of our existence. If one of the three is off or lacking in some way, then our lives suffer from it. We can be physically fit and spiritually strong but if we become frustrated with a problem, our lives suffer. We can be emotionally and spiritually powerful but if our bodies are not healthy, we cannot play with our grand kids or do things with our families that we would like to do. And we can be in good physical and emotional health but if we are spiritually dead or in a backslid state, then our lives are going to seem to be missing something. All 3 areas work together to build our core being.

So, with three separate concepts that we have already determined are equally important, where do we begin? That is a very simple answer. We do not begin with any of them. Instead, we start with a concept known as “self-accountability”.

David Goggins is an elite ultra-runner and former Navy Seal who currently stands out amongst the current group of motivational speakers/writers. Just mentioning his name will cause strong feelings to people who know (or have heard of) him as he is either revered to the level of almost a cult following or despised for his brutal language and perceived arrogance. Mr. Goggins will be running Badwater this year (the race I mentioned last week) in the elite wave. He is a strong runner who is a definite threat to win. While his manner of speaking and delivery is offensive to many people, I still love his message of self-accountability. We are the ones who control our reactions to what happens to us. The more difficulties we face (and overcome) the more we grow into strong human beings. In his world, there are absolutely no excuses. Zero. Nada. Zilch.

It is through this concept that we must begin. If we are not willing to look inside our own lives to find our faults, there will be no growth. We must see the areas in which we lack, analyze them in an objective manner and make a consistent effort to change.

In the third part of this series, we are going to look at the importance of the physical aspect of our lives (including taking care of our bodies through diet and exercise) as well as the difference between motivation and discipline. Thanks again! I look forward to any questions or comments that you have!

Shane Tucker is a guest columnist for All on Georgia. He is a retired teacher, ultra runner, and life-long resident of Chattooga County. He is also a member of Alpine Community Church and enjoys hiking/running with Cookie, the rescued Basset-Lab.

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