Before we arrived on the planet, men have lived and died for ages. Many of these men have experienced living a good life. Isn’t it wise to learn from these men so we can design our own good lives?
So what does living a great life mean? While there’s no one universal definition of a good life, we can learn from the teachings of the great philosophers and stoics to define our own good lives.
Here are the top good life quotes to live by:
1. Be indifferent to what makes no difference
“To live a good life: We have the potential for it. If we can learn to be indifferent to what makes no difference.” – Marcus Aurelius
Nothing matters as much as you may think they do. Our wisest bet is to stop reacting to everything by looking at things from a larger perspective.
2. Focus on the essentials
“Most of what we say and do is not essential. If you can eliminate it, you’ll have more time, and more tranquility. Ask yourself at every moment, ‘Is this necessary?’ But we need to eliminate unnecessary assumptions as well. To eliminate the unnecessary actions that follow.” – Marcus Aurelius
Most things we do in life are habitual patterns we’ve been taught since childhood. You don’t have to do everything you’re supposed to do. Pick your essentials in life and stick with them.
3. Embrace your mortality
“Don’t behave as if you are destined to live forever. What’s fated hangs over you. As long as you live and while you can, become good now.” – Marcus Aurelius
You will die. That’s good news because now you have a deadline to do and be good while avoiding as many regrets as possible.
4. Have a good character
“A good character is the only guarantee of everlasting, carefree happiness.” – Seneca
A virtuous character will bring you the equanimity you seek in life.
5. Count each day as a separate life
“Begin at once to live, and count each separate day as a separate life.” – Seneca
Every day is a new opportunity to celebrate, give your best and learn new things for the next day. Don’t waste another day by looking at each day as a rebirth.
6. Live immediately
“Putting things off is the biggest waste of life: it snatches away each day as it comes, and denies us the present by promising the future. The greatest obstacle to living is expectancy, which hangs upon tomorrow and loses today. You are arranging what lies in Fortune’s control, and abandoning what lies in yours. What are you looking at? To what goal are you straining? The whole future lies in uncertainty: live immediately.” – Seneca
Procrastinating on your essentials is the biggest regret of life. Start now.
7. Live in accordance with nature
In the book, The Art of the Good Life, Rolf Dobelli tells how Epictetus defined the good life:
“A life that flows gently and easily.” – Epictetus
Your duty is to find your nature and truly live up to it. Every object in nature has a role to realize its potential. When you live according to your nature, life will flow like water.
8. Adopt a philosophy
“The best reason for adopting a philosophy of life, is that if we lack one, there is a danger that we will mislive” – William Ervine, A Guide to the Good Life
The power to think is the biggest gift to the human species. Make the best use of it by
9. Beware of a busy life
“Beware the barrenness of a busy life.” – Socrates
You don’t have to do more to live more. When you keep doing more without eliminating, you miss most of the gifts life has to offer.
10. Examine your life
“The unexamined life is not worth living.” – Socrates
A good life doesn’t exist without examination and reflection. Taking the time to reflect is one of the best uses of your time.
11. Set a direction
“The good life is a process, not a state of being. It is a direction not a destination.” – Carl Rogers
Humans are designed to create their own meaning in life. Setting a direction gives your life a meaning to strive for.
12. Pursue what you care about
“Life comes from physical survival; but the good life comes from what we care about.” – Rollo May
13. Use your signature strengths
“The good life consists in deriving happiness by using your signature strengths every day in the main realms of living. The meaningful life adds one more component: using these same strengths to forward knowledge, power or goodness.” – Martin Seligman
Life is too short to not leverage and work on your strengths. Your strengths are your gifts, and it’s your job to find and nurture them to bring out the best in you and share your best self with the world.
14. Change your perception
“Life is good when we think it’s good. Life is bad when we don’t think.” – Douglas Horton
Your subjective reality is created by your perception. That’s where happiness or suffering is found. The good news is that outside events may change, but your perception is within your control at all times.
Deriving meaning from these quotes on living a good life
Did you find these good quotes about life inspiring?
But it’s not enough to read these inspirational quotes once and be done with them. To make the most of these quotes, contemplate on them, go to their source, and derive your own meaning from them.
It’s one thing to read quotes about living a good life, it’s another to implement these quotes as we go about designing our lives.
According to Seneca, learning how to live is the hardest and most important thing to learn.