A Life Well-Lived

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patandkattieSubmitted by: Patricia Bubash, M.Ed., Licensed Professional Counselor

While sitting in a meeting with a close friend, she commented on the facial features of one of the male members in attendance.  The word “stately” came to my mind as I glanced over at the man she was referring to.  My friend, noting his kindly demeanor, gracious manner, stated, “he has the look of a life well lived”.

Since that evening, I find my mind returning to her comment, “a life well lived”.  It reminded me of one of the best selling books of the 90’s, Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, written by Dr. Stephen Covey.  Everyone (seemed to me) was reading and quoting from the profound words of the author. I am an avid reader, but typically, I chose books about relationships.  So, going by the title of the book, I decided it wasn’t for me.  Didn’t I remember the old adage, you can’t tell a book by its cover, or in this case, title?

Years ago, I stopped making my annual New Year’s resolution to “get organized”.  It was too discouraging when the next year came around, and I was again going for the same resolution.  So, when I first heard of Dr. Covey’s book, I discounted it with the thought it was another organizing your life theme.

As hype for the book continued I decided I needed to give this book a second look, after all, I didn’t want to be out of the loop.  Revisiting the book this week, I think somewhere in the chapters, a chapter should have been included entitled, a life well lived.  Easily such a chapter would have meshed with the content. And, what would such a chapter say.  I think it would describe the man at our meeting.  A person who in Dr. Covey’s words is “principle centered”.

What, is a principle centered person?  One component is being proactive; seeking to serve and build others- wanting to see others succeed.  Certainly, this fits our man.  He was instrumental in setting up a food pantry in the city.   He and his wife participate in a tutoring program for at risk children.  They serve on boards for non-for profits, and they are active in their church, which promotes outreach.  Their lives center around community service, outreach, and family.  Watching this busy, active couple who run circles around those much younger, I felt compelled to ask,  “what brand daily vitamins do you take”?

Another example of a principle-centered person is one who sees the world in terms of what they can do for the world and its people.  Without a doubt, the man at our meeting has taken on this attitude.   And, he is changing the world, simply, by giving of himself to benefit others.

This man is not swayed by the “reactive” world, which criticizes and complains about deplorable situations, he moves ahead, and makes a difference.  There is no time in his day for negativism, only action.

Dr. Covey writes that a principle centered person is guided by a compass that enables him or her to see where they want to go in this life, and how to get there.  Have you ever participated in a group activity where you were asked to write your eulogy?   An insightful activity which fits right into knowing where you want to go – what do you want to be remembered for after departing this world?   I think it would be a great epitaph to have someone say of me, “hers was a life well lived”.

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The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People on Amazon


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