The Ultimate Goal in Life that We all Share by Shari Leid
We have grown up in a society that has conditioned us to believe that our ultimate goal in life is to achieve a fancy title, live in a beautifully manicured neighborhood, and drive a fancy car. We idolize celebrities and the rich and famous. If we rely on these material markers as our ultimate life goal, we’ll always feel disappointed because wealth, fame, a fancy title, and a collection of high-priced possessions is never enough and they all can be easily lost.
If wealth and fame are not the ultimate goals in life, what is?
The ultimate goal in life for EVERYONE in this world is HAPPINESS.
So how can we achieve the goal of happiness if fame and fortune don’t get us there? The good news is that obtaining happiness is accessible to all of us, according to the groundbreaking work by Gianni Pes and Michel Poulani outlined in the Journal of Experimental Gerontology which grew into the concept identified in the book The Blue Zones: Lessons for Living Longer from the People who’ve Lived the Longest. In each of these studies, family relationships and relationships to the community are proven to be a very strong indicator of happiness and well-being. There are social foundations for happiness. High family satisfaction levels and regular social interaction provides for more daily positive moments. The recognition of the importance of happiness is now found in college classes.
I recently completed a certification course in happiness taught by Dr. Tal Ben-Shahar, who taught two of the most popular courses in Harvard’s history, Positive Psychology and The Psychology of Leadership. He also taught Happiness Studies at Columbia University. In the certification course that I completed, the studies on happiness that were shared throughout the course all circled back to the importance of human connection and the importance of relationships.
You may be thinking, “This sounds great, but how do I strengthen and build my relationships?” There are two simple components that can greatly contribute to building relationships, and they don’t cost money: the gift of time and finding the common story.
Set aside time each day or each week and make an intention to connect with someone, whether it be through sharing a meal, making a video call, or simply picking up the phone for a voice call – make it a regular intentional practice.
Then, find the common story with everyone you meet. Life is much too precious and far too short to spend time focusing on our differences – focusing on our differences simply gives them strength. When we focus on our similarities, things that bring us together, we strengthen those bonds, which allow us to effectively work together. Focusing on the common story that I share with another person instead of what doesn’t agree with me allows me to move forward and find connections in every relationship. I love the friendship shared by the late justices, Justice Antonin Scalia and Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, because their friendship reminds me that if they were able to find the common story and create their friendship despite their fundamental differences, then we all can.
Here are three useful steps to strengthening and starting relationships:
- Make a commitment to reach out to a family member, friend, or colleague once a week by phone, video call, or in person. Set aside that time to either share with that person what they’ve meant in your life, the lessons learned, or plan to ask a question to learn their story.
- Simply decide to smile and say, “Hello” to one stranger each time you leave your home.
- Look for the common story and recognize that everyone you meet is both your teacher and your student.
As you practice these three simple steps, notice that your relationships with others increase, both in quality and volume, you’ll form a habit of naturally looking for the common story in everyone, and as you have more of these positive relationship interactions each day, you will notice that your happiness level naturally increases – bringing you towards the ultimate goal in life: happiness.
Shari Leid received her Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from the University of Washington in 1992 and graduated from Seattle University School of Law in 1995. A former litigator, she currently owns and operates An Imperfectly Perfect Life, LLC, a professional life coaching business serving women, helping guide them towards recognizing their power. She married her law school boyfriend, and they are the parents of two grown children. Now in her early 50s, she believes all of her life experiences and challenges were placed in her life to allow her to share what she has learned. She lives in Seattle, Washington. Her debut book, The 50/50 Friendship Flow: Life Lessons From and For My Girlfriends [Capucia Publishing, October 6, 2020] offers a conscious path to not only maintain friendships but to deepen those relationships to support connection while bringing joy and a sense of purpose to both of you. The book details the personal challenge the author embarked on by sitting down one-on-one with 50 friends over the course of one year to share the positive impact they had made in her life.
Personal LinkedIn: linkedin.com/in/shari-leid-51a53b10
Business LinkedIn: linkedin.com/company/an-imperfectly-perfect-life