Martin Seligman, the father of the field of positive psychology, famously said in a 1999 speech that “psychology was half-baked.”
He was referring to the fact that psychology up to that point had really focused just on mental illness and on repairing damage. He then said, “…that’s only half of it. The other side’s unbaked, the side of strength, the side of what we’re good at.”
Seligman was ushering in a whole new era for psychology, one that focuses on more than mental illness, one that actually works to help people live more fulfilling lives.
For years, the world of psychology focused on getting people functional, but not flourishing. That changed dramatically over the past 20 years through the work in positive psychology of people like Seligman, Daniel Kahneman, Carol Dweck, Ed Diener and many more.
Jonathan Fields has long been an amateur positive psychologist of sorts. He’s been a wall street lawyer, a personal trainer, a successful gym owner, an entrepreneur, author, and media producer. Maybe you’ve heard of Jonathan through his Good Life Project podcast or YouTube interviews. Through all of his work, Jonathan has always been pulled back to the central idea of what makes a truly good life.
Jonathan’s last book Uncertainty: Turning Fear and Doubt into Fuel for Brilliance, was named the top personal development book in 2011 by 800-CEO-READ.
His new book How to Live a Good Life sports a bold title, and promise. Can instructions for living a good life really be boiled down into one simple book?
I had a chance to read Jonathan’s book before it came out this week, and I sat down with Jonathan for an interview about his new book and more.
What I discovered in our conversation and through the book is that living a good life shares a lot of similarities with building a business. They’re each actually fairly easy to explain, but they each take years to master. Years of practice, focus and dedication.
In Jonathan’s new book, he only needs about 30 pages to explain his framework for living a good life. He uses the concept of three essential “good life buckets:” contribution, connection and vitality. The framework is easy to explain, and in the rest of the book Jonathan shares 30 daily exercises you can use to fill each of your buckets.
Jonathan isn’t actually a big fan of the idea of “finding your life’s purpose.” He says it’s paralyzing for many people. Instead, it’s more effective to ask yourself “what can I do now with a sense of purpose?” We should seek to do something with purpose every day. Then, months or years down the road you’ll be able to connect the dots.
In this excerpt from our interview, Jonathan explains the three buckets, three simple rules for the buckets, and how to take a snapshot to determine how full each of your buckets is:
Hear Jonathan Fields’ Full Founder Story
In the full length version of this interview, published today as a Founder Story within the Fizzle Membership area, you’ll learn all about Jonathan’s entrepreneurial journey. You’ll hear why Jonathan decided to ditch his lucrative career as a wall street attorney to become a personal trainer. You’ll learn how he became a successful author and entrepreneur. Jonathan also shares how he built the Good Life Project into a podcast with over 300,000 listeners and a YouTube channel with over 5M video views.
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