3 Essential Components to a Life Well Lived

Today’s post is a guest post from self development blogger Ken Wert who runs the Meant to be Happy blog.

“Things which matter most must never be at the mercy of things which matter least” ~ Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Here’s the bottom line: There are things that inherently matter even if no one agrees. There are also things that have little-to-no inherent value even if the world is aflame about them.

Celebrity-gawking shows, celebrity rags and the whole Hollywood culture makes the concept of celebrity appear important.

The thing is, it doesn’t matter how big the celebrity-following crowd is, popularity can’t add substance to the meaningless.

And so every day of every year, all around the developed world, a breathtaking amount of money is spent and time wasted pursuing things that add nothing to the value of living.

But there is only so much time for doing only so many things. Finite resources are limited. Sometimes, very limited. And so decisions have to be made about when, how and on what to spend our time, energy and other resources if we’re to optimize our lives and happiness.

This is an article identifying three of those things that matter in life.

And here’s why it’s so important: The more we spend our time on things that deeply and inherently matter, the more deeply we’ll experience a sense of joy and satisfaction, meaning, purpose and happiness in life.

The deeper our lives are, after all, the deeper our experiences will be living it.

3 Things that Matter … a lot!

1. Integrity

“If you have integrity, nothing else matters. If you don’t have integrity, nothing else matters.” ~ Alan K. Simpson

Integrity is much more than honesty. It’s the persistent commitment to your values. It’s walking the talk and living the walk.

Consistency to our principle-centered values defines the inner core of who we are.

Both trust and trustworthiness are the naturally occurring side effects of a life lived with integrity. Not only does it foster trust from others; it fosters self-confidence in ourselves as wel

There is an inner sense of peace and joy at living true to a high set of standards that are consistent with True North principles.

Integrity gives depth and substance to our words. Likewise, the lack of it robs our words of credibility. Integrity matters because what we say and stand for matters, especially to those closest to us and most dependent on us.

2. Wisdom

“By three methods we may learn wisdom: First, by reflection, which is noblest; Second, by imitation, which is easiest; and third by experience, which is the bitterest” – Confucius

If knowledge is the accumulation of information, wisdom is the ability to recognize the degree to which that knowledge is important. It is the correct understanding and use of knowledge.

There is such a social premium placed on intelligence. Parents brag about how smart their kids are, their grades and GPAs and class rank and Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT) scores and which universities sent acceptance letters.

We even put stickers on the bumpers of our cars to declare our kids’ honor roll status … in elementary school!

But few ever brag about their child’s wisdom. No school I’m aware of prints bumper stickers for kids who make the Wisdom Roll. There are no Wisdom Point Averages to measure. And no Wisdom Aptitude Tests to prepare for. Why is that?

I would rather my child be a wise average student than an unwise smart one. How about you? If your child excelled in only one, which would you prefer?

Here’s the thing. A smart person knows about stuff. A wise person understands how and when and why and if that stuff should be used.

Where an intelligent person knows how to clone a human, a wise person knows whether humans should be cloned.

Smart people have advocated unwise utopian ideologies that have robbed people of their freedom since the dawn of time. It was never the lack of intelligence that kept some of those ideologies alive in academia.

Rather, it was the lack of wisdom that ignored or misunderstood human nature and the human impulse to freedom. It was the lack of wisdom that closed blind eyes to mounting evidence that utopia was something much closer to hell than heaven on earth.

Wisdom, in other words, is the right application of knowledge. It’s the difference between understanding the intellectual argument behind a bad idea and advocating it.

The bottom line is that our world needs much more wisdom today than intelligence.

3. Happiness

“Happiness is not something ready made. It comes from your own actions” – Dalai Lama

Happiness acts a lot like a thermometer or barometer that takes the moral and social temperature of a person and measures the barometric pressure of habitual thought and attitude. How well we’re thinking and living is reflected in the level and persistence of our happiness.

While it’s true that our happiness at any given moment may not be indicative of much, our happiness over time reveals the quality of our thoughts, the nature of our choices and the state of our character.

Besides, life is simply lived better happier. Happy people make better parents and children. They are better neighbors, employees and employers. They enjoy life more and give and serve others more than the unhappy do.

Consider happy parents versus unhappy ones; happy neighbors versus unhappy neighbors; a happy boss versus an unhappy one. The difference is obvious.

In short, the world would be a better place with happier people in it. Our happiness therefore matters greatly.

There is even a moral dimension to it. If we make better parents, spouses and neighbors when we’re happy, then it seems we have a moral duty to work on being happier. This is not to induce guilt in the unhappy, but to lay a moral foundation for its pursuit.

Our happiness simply matters and matters a whole lot.


Life is largely what we make of it. But when we spin our wheels in the sands of things that don’t really matter, we end up with less traction to make a go of those things that truly do.

Perhaps it’s time we reevaluate, recommit and begin living our lives a rung or two higher than yesterday. I believe that by applying more of our time and energies to acquiring and living with more integrity, wisdom and happiness, we can get the boost we need to get there.


So, what are the things that matter most to you?

Please share in the comments below

Ken Wert is a personal development blogger at Meant to be Happy where he inspires readers to live with purpose, act with character, think with clarity and grow with courage. Sign up for his free eBook, A Walk Through Happiness! Connect with him on Twitter.

Is The Woo-Woo Weekend Dead?

Well maybe it is and it’s only a week old!

The first post I ran generated a lot of negative comment and whereas I genuinely get that, although I’m not sure I want to encourage it.

I’d still welcome posts (in fact I’m looking for guest posts in general), but I may need to be a bit more careful with what I publish because I don’t want anybody to take the kind of flak the first author did.