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Discussion #40 - Quality of Life

Every human alive has a very unique and personal definition of what quality of life really is. Some are looking for a more extreme stimulation lifestyle and some a more peaceful. Some prefer big city living, and some prefer more of an outdoorsy, natural or country life experience.

Many are looking for more major challenges in life and are looking to achieve amazing things. Some are far more concerned with finding inner peace and true happiness. Many people prefer being part of a larger social community or family, and some prefer a more individualistic lifestyle. Some are more passionate about learning and thinking, and some more about doing things and being more active.

None of these preferences are right or wrong, better or worse, just different. It's a big part of the human ego to think that our way is naturally the better way. However you define quality of life for you, there are a few scientific facts that do apply to all of us in this department. They are as follows:

Enjoyment, excitement, stimulation, satisfaction, social interaction, generosity, compassion, love, work, and feeling healthy. Just a few of the key ingredients that combine to produce quality of life. The quantity and intensity level of the ingredients necessary varies from person to person. These minimum requirements also change as we age. This discussion is assuming that basic survival needs are being met.

Many people (until retirement) are living the typical lifestyle of TGIFing their way through the work week (or school week), partying on the weekends, and then TGIVing (the "V" stands for vacation) their way through the year. This typical lifestyle does get the job done to a degree, but there is a much better one to be had, and it's not that difficult to achieve.

The harsh reality of this typical lifestyle, is that roughly half way through the weekends and the vacations, there is the inevitable let-down of returning to the daily grind (not to mention the grind itself). This does NOT have to be your reality at all (without losing any productivity whatsoever), and in a few short paragraphs I'll explain why. (Wealth or a flashy career are not required).

It's so simple, it's unbelievable. Choose to enjoy virtually every minute of your day, and virtually every day of your life. The subtleties, the nuances, every little (and big) thing. It's simply a choice and an attitude. All you need is a little will power and practice, and it will be your reality. Stress is always a challenge to deal with, but this attitude will eat stress for breakfast. I'm probably starting to sound like some kind of motivational speaker or health guru (not the case), but this really does work.

We all have a different appetite for the key ingredients necessary for ultimate quality of life. Some crave more excitement than others, some more social interaction, some more challenge, etc. Even though the perceived minimum requirements do vary a lot, it really doesn't matter. Imagine for a minute that you are a billionaire, and do not have to work another day of your life. You can afford to do anything you want at any time - total freedom. If you are the type that craves virtually constant extreme stimulation, you will likely choose to do something different and exciting almost every day of the year. While this is indeed the fantasy of most lottery players, even this lifestyle will actually become fairly routine after a few years. You will grow accustomed to this level of stimulation and this would become your new normal.

There is nothing inherently wrong or evil about this lifestyle (as it is the fantasy of most people), it's just that it's completely unnecessary. Incredible QOF can be achieved on an incredibly modest budget, with an incredibly modest lifestyle. It's about controlling your mind and thoughts, and not letting them control you. The world around us is pushing us to think and feel a certain way about ourselves, and about our perception of how others view us (mostly for profit). Unfortunately, most of it is BS. On top of that is the fact that most people are far more concerned about themselves to care much about our perceived significance anyway. After all, we are living in the "selfie" era.

Our best chance for ultimate quality of life is to choose to enjoy it, regardless of the ambient daily level of stimulation. It's not so much about the activities as it is the attitudes. Virtually any activity can be extremely enjoyable with the right attitude. Keeping this fact in mind could also help to prevent potential substance abuse as well. People who are searching for the ultimate rush may find that it actually comes from the natural chemicals produced in our very own chemical factory, the endocrine system.

Thanks to my lovely wife's "encouragement", we've been on many cruises, but it was on one over 25 years ago, that I had an epiphany I will never forget. I got off the ship at a port in The Dominica, (an extremely poor island in the Caribbean), and hired a local fellow who was looking for odd jobs to give me a walking tour of the island (the places he was most proud of). We quickly became friends as we walked along, and compared notes about our lives. What was fascinating to me was that although he was fully aware that we felt sorry for them (as they had nothing), they actually felt sorry for us (the rich tourists), because of our stressed-out lifestyles.

Immediately I realized how right he was, (this is normally the big tradeoff). I vowed to myself that if there was a way of living life in our affluent community without the ambient high level of daily stress (and still be financially successful), I was going to find it. It took me and my wife over 20 years to figure out a way, but I can honestly and humbly say that we have succeeded in that quest. (I will admit that our three children are now adults, and this definitely makes a huge difference as well).

Many look to their "significant others" or loved ones for much of this "life stimulation". This is a big mistake. In the beginning of any relationship this usually works fine, as things are fresh and exciting. As the years roll on by, it becomes increasingly difficult for this expectation to stand. There are far too many familiarities, re-runs and "been there/done that's". People have to learn to entertain themselves, and not rely on their loved ones for this (very important) job. This generally becomes more of an issue towards retirement, and once the kids are grown. Until then, commonly the problem is over-stimulation. Finding your unique "sweet spot" in this area can be tricky, but once you find it life just gets really sweet.

There are many of us who are very lucky that we were born when we were born. Just a few hundred years earlier, and we would have lived our lives with no plumbing, no electricity, no cars, air travel or technology (to speak of). On top of this, an average lifespan of 40. It was definitely some hard living. Medical treatment options were extremely primitive, where infections often led to amputations. Numerous wars, a great depression. Then there were the dark ages (500 to 1500 AD), which were just a delightful time to be alive. Most of us just take this good fortune for granted, but I personally am extremely grateful. It may not seem like it (mainly thanks to the media), but life on Earth has never before in history been this good, and will continue to get better.

We hear about all the crap that goes on all over the world, and this makes it seem like things are pretty rough, but this is simply not the reality. Obviously this also varies a lot depending on where we live in the world, but even the developing nations are improving economically in many cases. The richer countries, as well, still have problems to solve, but they are solvable. The pandemic being job #1, but there is even light shining through at the end of this tunnel.

The quickest and easiest way to improve your quality of life, & therefore your health, at any age, and at any stage, is to always look for the romance. By that I do NOT mean just the love between romantic partners. I'm also referring to things like the smells in the air in spring, the mist coming off bodies of water early in the morning, the look & feel of a bright, sunny day, or the stars & moon at night, etc.

My personal favourites are things like birds chirping in the morning (minus the crows), water flowing in a creek, & crickets serenading on a summer night. Much of life's romance is from nature, but not all. Think about how enjoyable just watching a train go by can be (when not in a rush), or soaking up the sounds at a ball game, regardless of who's winning.

There are so many in this world, who are so busy grinding away every day, that they miss out on so much of the real gold in life. It's definitely fun, and important to get ahead financially, but there is a magical balance that can be achieved, that makes life on Earth so much richer. I really think that Ferris Bueller was onto something!

Even things like the background music in a store or mall, or the smells (& sounds) of food cooking in the kitchen, on the BBQ, or in your favourite restaurant, are also great examples. I like to call this "big picture romance", or "spiritual romance", and it's the pure joy of being alive as a human being on this planet.

This advice is far more important for the "doers" in this life, who are often so caught up in activities, that this form of romance can be largely overlooked. We all get caught up in this habit though, and the more "grindy" our life is, the more this happens. Again, it's all about our attitude. We either choose to enjoy virtually every minute of life, or we don't. It really is that simple.

Also, keep in mind that the ultra-rich can often be just as miserable as the vast majority (usually more), and this attitude has absolutely nothing to do with our level of wealth. Proactively, seeking out this form of romance, is definitely one of the best methods there is of minimizing our overall stress levels in this life, along with improving our overall happiness.

For all you guys out there, who may be thinking this not to be the most "manly" or "macho" thing to do, just try it, secretly, no one needs to know. Also, it translates well & helps improve the lovey dovey type of romance as well. If you're married or dating, you'll undoubtedly experience many "additional benefits" to this improved lifestyle.

Romance (of all types) devours stress. There is definitely a massive chemical process happening in our endocrine system when we experience it. This could possibly also be one of the reasons why women (on average) live longer than men.

Quality of life is definitely different for everyone, but keep in mind that the romance in life can often be far more challenging to experience in the bigger cities. With all of the light pollution, and often air pollution, there are many in this world who have never even seen the stars at night. Then, when you factor in things like global pandemics, spreading out a little might not seem like such a bad idea.
Discussion #40 - Quality of Life

Every human alive has a very unique and personal definition of what quality of life really is. Some are looking for a more extreme stimulation lifestyle and some a more peaceful. Some prefer big city living, and some prefer more of an outdoorsy, natural or country life experience.

Many are looking for more major challenges in life and are looking to achieve amazing things. Some are far more concerned with finding inner peace and true happiness. Many people prefer being part of a larger social community or family, and some prefer a more individualistic lifestyle. Some are more passionate about learning and thinking, and some more about doing things and being more active.

None of these preferences are right or wrong, better or worse, just different. It's a big part of the human ego to think that our way is naturally the better way. However you define quality of life for you, there are a few scientific facts that do apply to all of us in this department. They are as follows:

Enjoyment, excitement, stimulation, satisfaction, social interaction, generosity, compassion, love, work, and feeling healthy. Just a few of the key ingredients that combine to produce quality of life. The quantity and intensity level of the ingredients necessary varies from person to person. These minimum requirements also change as we age. This discussion is assuming that basic survival needs are being met.

Many people (until retirement) are living the typical lifestyle of TGIFing their way through the work week (or school week), partying on the weekends, and then TGIVing (the "V" stands for vacation) their way through the year. This typical lifestyle does get the job done to a degree, but there is a much better one to be had, and it's not that difficult to achieve.

The harsh reality of this typical lifestyle, is that roughly half way through the weekends and the vacations, there is the inevitable let-down of returning to the daily grind (not to mention the grind itself). This does NOT have to be your reality at all (without losing any productivity whatsoever), and in a few short paragraphs I'll explain why. (Wealth or a flashy career are not required).

It's so simple, it's unbelievable. Choose to enjoy virtually every minute of your day, and virtually every day of your life. The subtleties, the nuances, every little (and big) thing. It's simply a choice and an attitude. All you need is a little will power and practice, and it will be your reality. Stress is always a challenge to deal with, but this attitude will eat stress for breakfast. I'm probably starting to sound like some kind of motivational speaker or health guru (not the case), but this really does work.

We all have a different appetite for the key ingredients necessary for ultimate quality of life. Some crave more excitement than others, some more social interaction, some more challenge, etc. Even though the perceived minimum requirements do vary a lot, it really doesn't matter. Imagine for a minute that you are a billionaire, and do not have to work another day of your life. You can afford to do anything you want at any time - total freedom. If you are the type that craves virtually constant extreme stimulation, you will likely choose to do something different and exciting almost every day of the year. While this is indeed the fantasy of most lottery players, even this lifestyle will actually become fairly routine after a few years. You will grow accustomed to this level of stimulation and this would become your new normal.

There is nothing inherently wrong or evil about this lifestyle (as it is the fantasy of most people), it's just that it's completely unnecessary. Incredible QOF can be achieved on an incredibly modest budget, with an incredibly modest lifestyle. It's about controlling your mind and thoughts, and not letting them control you. The world around us is pushing us to think and feel a certain way about ourselves, and about our perception of how others view us (mostly for profit). Unfortunately, most of it is BS. On top of that is the fact that most people are far more concerned about themselves to care much about our perceived significance anyway. After all, we are living in the "selfie" era.

Our best chance for ultimate quality of life is to choose to enjoy it, regardless of the ambient daily level of stimulation. It's not so much about the activities as it is the attitudes. Virtually any activity can be extremely enjoyable with the right attitude. Keeping this fact in mind could also help to prevent potential substance abuse as well. People who are searching for the ultimate rush may find that it actually comes from the natural chemicals produced in our very own chemical factory, the endocrine system.

Thanks to my lovely wife's "encouragement", we've been on many cruises, but it was on one over 25 years ago, that I had an epiphany I will never forget. I got off the ship at a port in The Dominica, (an extremely poor island in the Caribbean), and hired a local fellow who was looking for odd jobs to give me a walking tour of the island (the places he was most proud of). We quickly became friends as we walked along, and compared notes about our lives. What was fascinating to me was that although he was fully aware that we felt sorry for them (as they had nothing), they actually felt sorry for us (the rich tourists), because of our stressed-out lifestyles.

Immediately I realized how right he was, (this is normally the big tradeoff). I vowed to myself that if there was a way of living life in our affluent community without the ambient high level of daily stress (and still be financially successful), I was going to find it. It took me and my wife over 20 years to figure out a way, but I can honestly and humbly say that we have succeeded in that quest. (I will admit that our three children are now adults, and this definitely makes a huge difference as well).

Many look to their "significant others" or loved ones for much of this "life stimulation". This is a big mistake. In the beginning of any relationship this usually works fine, as things are fresh and exciting. As the years roll on by, it becomes increasingly difficult for this expectation to stand. There are far too many familiarities, re-runs and "been there/done that's". People have to learn to entertain themselves, and not rely on their loved ones for this (very important) job. This generally becomes more of an issue towards retirement, and once the kids are grown. Until then, commonly the problem is over-stimulation. Finding your unique "sweet spot" in this area can be tricky, but once you find it life just gets really sweet.

There are many of us who are very lucky that we were born when we were born. Just a few hundred years earlier, and we would have lived our lives with no plumbing, no electricity, no cars, air travel or technology (to speak of). On top of this, an average lifespan of 40. It was definitely some hard living. Medical treatment options were extremely primitive, where infections often led to amputations. Numerous wars, a great depression. Then there were the dark ages (500 to 1500 AD), which were just a delightful time to be alive. Most of us just take this good fortune for granted, but I personally am extremely grateful. It may not seem like it (mainly thanks to the media), but life on Earth has never before in history been this good, and will continue to get better.

We hear about all the crap that goes on all over the world, and this makes it seem like things are pretty rough, but this is simply not the reality. Obviously this also varies a lot depending on where we live in the world, but even the developing nations are improving economically in many cases. The richer countries, as well, still have problems to solve, but they are solvable. The pandemic being job #1, but there is even light shining through at the end of this tunnel.

The quickest and easiest way to improve your quality of life, & therefore your health, at any age, and at any stage, is to always look for the romance. By that I do NOT mean just the love between romantic partners. I'm also referring to things like the smells in the air in spring, the mist coming off bodies of water early in the morning, the look & feel of a bright, sunny day, or the stars & moon at night, etc.

My personal favourites are things like birds chirping in the morning (minus the crows), water flowing in a creek, & crickets serenading on a summer night. Much of life's romance is from nature, but not all. Think about how enjoyable just watching a train go by can be (when not in a rush), or soaking up the sounds at a ball game, regardless of who's winning.

There are so many in this world, who are so busy grinding away every day, that they miss out on so much of the real gold in life. It's definitely fun, and important to get ahead financially, but there is a magical balance that can be achieved, that makes life on Earth so much richer. I really think that Ferris Bueller was onto something!

Even things like the background music in a store or mall, or the smells (& sounds) of food cooking in the kitchen, on the BBQ, or in your favourite restaurant, are also great examples. I like to call this "big picture romance", or "spiritual romance", and it's the pure joy of being alive as a human being on this planet.

This advice is far more important for the "doers" in this life, who are often so caught up in activities, that this form of romance can be largely overlooked. We all get caught up in this habit though, and the more "grindy" our life is, the more this happens. Again, it's all about our attitude. We either choose to enjoy virtually every minute of life, or we don't. It really is that simple.

Also, keep in mind that the ultra-rich can often be just as miserable as the vast majority (usually more), and this attitude has absolutely nothing to do with our level of wealth. Proactively, seeking out this form of romance, is definitely one of the best methods there is of minimizing our overall stress levels in this life, along with improving our overall happiness.

For all you guys out there, who may be thinking this not to be the most "manly" or "macho" thing to do, just try it, secretly, no one needs to know. Also, it translates well & helps improve the lovey dovey type of romance as well. If you're married or dating, you'll undoubtedly experience many "additional benefits" to this improved lifestyle.

Romance (of all types) devours stress. There is definitely a massive chemical process happening in our endocrine system when we experience it. This could possibly also be one of the reasons why women (on average) live longer than men.

Quality of life is definitely different for everyone, but keep in mind that the romance in life can often be far more challenging to experience in the bigger cities. With all of the light pollution, and often air pollution, there are many in this world who have never even seen the stars at night. Then, when you factor in things like global pandemics, spreading out a little might not seem like such a bad idea.
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