Book Reviews Health & Wellness

How To Live A Good Life: Soulful Stories, Surprising Science, And Practical Wisdom

How To Live A Good Life: Soulful Stories, Surprising Science, And Practical Wisdom

Author: Jonathan Fields


Let me start by saying that this book has recently become one of my top ten favorite books of all-time. I read it in about 3 days this past week because I genuinely could not put it down unless I absolutely had to. I have already incorporated many of the lessons I learned from this book into my life and I am seeing dramatic changes all around. The whole idea behind living a good life according to the author Jonathan Fields is pretty simple. He begins the book by explaining the most important parts of happiness in life and then goes on to describe how to attain this happiness in the easiest way possible. He has even started an online community of people who help each other live their good lives. This online community is known as The Good Life Project, and the people involved are referred to as “GLeePers.” Anyway, let’s talk about how you can get your good life started.

The Good Life Buckets

Fields explains that you have three “Good Life Buckets” and how important it is to have them equally filled in order to truly live your best life. These three buckets are the Vitality Bucket, the Contribution Bucket, and the Connection Bucket. For vitality, we want to think of our body and mindset. We want to feel energized, fit, strong, and happy. When we talk about our connection bucket we are talking about “our people,” the ones that we love and that love us back. These are the people we play and laugh with. Our connection bucket is about nourishing these various relationships, including intimate partners, close friends, and like-minded community. Lastly, our contribution bucket is about how we bring our gift(s) to the world. It’s about contributing to the world in a way that is meaningful. It’s about knowing that we’re doing that one thing we were put on this earth to do. These three buckets carry three laws as well:

  1. The buckets leak – Left alone, our buckets eventually run dry, as do our lives. That means we have a duty to continuously fill our buckets.
  2. Our emptiest bucket will drag the others down with it – All of our buckets are connected. That means we can’t fill one completely unless the others are being filled along with it.
  3. The buckets never lie – We often like to think our buckets are fuller than they actually are, but empty is empty. You can only fake it so long until the emptiness catches up to you.

How to Fill Your Good Life Buckets

Take a 60-second snapshot of your life; this will tell you how empty or full your buckets currently are. It helps you decide which bucket to start filling first. To take your snapshot, just think of each bucket individually. For your vitality bucket, think of how satisfied you are with your current level of physical ability, energy, well-being, etc. For your connection bucket, think about how satisfied you are with the quality of your loving relationships and friendships. For your contribution bucket, think about how satisfied you are with the way that you are bringing your gifts to the world and the meaning behind those gifts.

After you’ve completed this, it’s time to draft your team. Who else could really use a good life intervention right now? It’s almost always more effective (and more fun) to do things with friends rather than do them alone. Try to think of at least 2 other people that could benefit from this concept with you.

Lastly, join the virtual family of people who are also on their good life journey! The more support, the better.

There are countless ways to fill each bucket, but for time reasons I’m only going to share one way to fill each one from the many different ways listed in the book.

Make Exercise Better Than Sex – Vitality

In order to live a good life, we need to move our bodies. Exercise has proven to help prevent everything from heart disease and cancer to diabetes. Moving our bodies just makes sense. Get up, go for a walk, play games like basketball or baseball (not soccer because that’s boring), go swimming, play tag with your kids, etc. Just get moving! Too many people nowadays are under some impression that exercise is something that you have to force yourself to do, like a chore. It doesn’t need to be this way. Like I explained in the first few sentences of this section, exercise can be anything that involves moving your body. I am a huge advocate of CrossFit, which has become the fastest growing phenomenon in the history of the fitness industry. Studies have shown that sitting is the new smoking. Everybody is doing it more and more and dying from inactivity. Go for a 10-minute walk today. I dare ya.

Look Up! – Connection

This is a topic I’ve become almost obsessed with this year, long before I read this book: putting our god damn phones away and interacting with the people in the room. It’s one thing if you’re at home by yourself or in the backseat of a car, but when you’re out in the world, pay attention to it! Here are some fun facts:  77% of people with cell phones (that’s nearly 5 billion people) check their phone before they do anything else in the morning.  80% of us cell phone users are offended when someone we are talking to pulls out their phone during the conversation, but what’s scary is that even more of us, a whopping 82%, don’t give a shit and pull out our phones during a conversation anyway, even when we know it’s offensive. There’s something seriously wrong with that! Something Fields challenges his readers to do is to go a full 24 hours without checking their phones while walking or standing anywhere. Some of you may not believe me, but I purposely try to not be on my phone ever while in public. I leave my phone at home almost every time I leave.

Get Out of Your Head – Contribution

I bet you have a shit ton of ideas: ideas for businesses, ideas for workouts, ideas for clothing designs, ideas for songs, ideas for everything. Why haven’t you put any of these ideas into action? Why do so many people keep their ideas hidden from the world? According to Fields, the answer is fear. People are afraid of other people’s opinions about their ideas. Once you share an idea, it becomes real, it becomes more than just an idea. Then the reality of failure becomes real with it. Most people would do just about anything to avoid that failure. Here’s what myself and Fields think: so what? What if you share your ideas with the world and you fail? Whatever. Move on. At least you took the chance. People who are judging from a distance are 100% of the time just unhappy with their own lives and it makes them feel better when they tear other people down. Do you really want to be afraid of someone else’s insecurities? Get out of your head and get your ideas out there!

Final Thoughts

This will probably be pretty short since I shared most of my opinions about the book throughout this post. Like I said in the beginning, How to Live a Good Life has become one of my top ten favorite books of all time. It is so content-rich with wonderful ideas. I’ve always been a huge fitness fan, but after reading this book I have been even more active. By that, I don’t mean I’m working out more, but I’m going outside and enjoying the view, walking to the store or around the block with my beautiful girlfriend and my dog. I have been sharing my blog even more on social media without being afraid of anyone else’s opinions. I just feel that overall, this book will almost force you to become a better you. Now put your phone down, get up, and go for a walk.

Have you read this book? How do you fill your buckets? Let me know!

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Avid book reader obsessed with self-improvement and learning. I read an average of one book a week on topics like personal finance, health, character building, and so on.

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