Think of your life as three buckets, says Jonathan Fields in How to Live a Good Life.
The first bucket is called Vitality, and it’s about the state of your mind and body. The second is Connection; this one is about relationships. The third, Contribution, is about how you contribute to the world.
The fuller your buckets, the better your life.
THE GOOD LIFE BUCKETS
1. Your vitality bucket.
“None of the other stuff is going to work if the animal that you live in is just a broke-down mess.” –Elizabeth Gilbert.
Vitality is an optimal state of body and mind.
- Fit, strong, and flexible enough to participate in life
- As free from pain, disease, and disability as possible
- Aware of and capable of being in the moment
- Optimistic about the future and what it holds
- Peaceful and calm, able to dissipate stress
- Able to bounce back from adversity
- Immersed in a process of growth
- Grateful for what’s right in life
- Fueled by a sense of meaning
2. Your connection bucket.
“There is nothing I would not do for those who are really my friends. I have no notion of loving people by halves, it is not my nature.”—Jane Austen.
Our connection bucket is about nourishing relationships. It’s about intimate partners, family, close friends, colleagues, coconspirators, and like-minded community.
It’s about love and lust, passion and compassion, resonance and belonging.
It’s also about how well we know and relate to ourselves.
In order to fill our connection buckets, we need to find and be with ‘our people’.
When we think about the relationships in our lives, we want to feel like:
- We give love and receive love, without condition
- We belong—we’re seen, understood, and embraced by friends with shared values, interests and aspirations (and sometimes culture)
- We are connected to something bigger than ourselves, be it natural or ethereal
3. Your contribution bucket.
“Imagine immensities. Pick yourself up from rejection and plow ahead. Don’t compromise. Start now. Start now, every single day.”—Debbie Millman.
Your contribution bucket is about how you bring your gifts to the world. It’s the answer to the poet Mary Oliver’s gorgeous question,
Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?
It’s about contributing to the world, even if that world is a single person, in a way that is meaningful, in a way that matters and allows you to feel like you matter. It’s about that deep knowing that you’re doing the thing you’re here to do.
It’s about feeling like you’re accessing:
- Your full potential
- Your strengths
- Your gifts
To fill our contribution buckets, we need to cultivate these feelings.