Jonathan Fields | Good Life Project (Episode 584)

Jonathan Fields | Good Life Project (Episode 584)

Jonathan Fields | Good Life Project (Episode 584)

Jonathan Fields (@jonathanfields) is a dad, husband, entrepreneur, and award-winning author — most recently of How to Live a Good Life: Soulful Stories, Surprising Science, and Practical Wisdom.

The Cheat Sheet:

  • How do we make sure we’re not overextending ourselves in some areas of our lives while neglecting others?
  • A good life is more about meaning than happiness — happiness is a byproduct.
  • What’s the Good Life Bucket model, and how can we apply it to our own lives?
  • Learn how to break out of autopilot and live a more reactive life that gives back in proportion to what you put into it.
  • Take the Snapshot360 Quiz to discover how your buckets of vitality, connection, and contribution currently score (and how you can improve them).
  • And so much more…


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We all hope to live a good life — whatever that happens to mean to each of us. But rather than defaulting to a fuzzy notion of what this might entail, How to Live a Good Life: Soulful Stories, Surprising Science, and Practical Wisdom author Jonathan Fields has a Good Life Bucket model that helps us get more specific about how to balance our needs with our desires to live such a life.

Join us on this episode of The Art of Charm as Jonathan shares this model, practical exercises, and a quick quiz to figure out where we are now and how we can get closer to where we want to be. Learn and enjoy!

More About This Show

When we self-examine our lives and try to determine if we’re succeeding or failing, it’s common to focus on one aspect that seems to be going well and make the call based on that sole aspect. But if we want to really be honest with ourselves, we need to be aware of the aspects we’re likely neglecting — and sacrificing — in order to make that one aspect shine.

The truth is, we’re not gaining anything by making such sacrifices. Ideally, we should be balancing these aspects in a way that they support and strengthen each other. For instance, you can’t endure a job you hate for a third of your day and expect the other two thirds to make up for it — that’s an ordeal, not a life.

How to Live a Good Life: Soulful Stories, Surprising Science, and Practical Wisdom author Jonathan Fields has some great ideas for gaining perspective and keeping these aspects balanced by what he calls the Good Life Bucket model.

The Good Life Bucket Model

“The idea’s really simple,” says Jonathan. “Think of your life as three buckets. One is called your vitality bucket. That’s about optimizing your state of mind and body. The second is called your connection bucket. That’s about cultivating deep and meaningful relationships. The third is your contribution bucket. That’s about how you bring your strength, your gifts, and your beliefs to the world. It’s about how you contribute to the world around you. And that may be the way you also earn your living, but interestingly it may also not be the primary source of income for you.”

“The good life, then, is when you basically do the work to make all three buckets as full as you can get them and then develop a daily practice of…every day taking a quick look and saying, ‘Okay, so how full is each one of these three buckets, and what can I do today to fill them?’

“Or if one is exceedingly low — which very often happens with people — ‘Where do I need to focus my energy so that I can actually bring that one back up a little bit?'”

Get Objective

We love to pretend that everything’s okay. If we’re working too hard, we tell ourselves that we’ll sleep when we die. If we’re living on a steady diet of junk food and sitting at a desk for fourteen hours a day, we tell ourselves we’ll take better care of our health when it becomes an issue.

“It’s really helpful to take a snapshot of how full your buckets are or how empty these three buckets are on any given day,” says Jonathan. “I like to do this as a ten-second scan in the morning. It’s good to do it more detail once a week and then in even more detail once a month. It keeps you honest.”

If you want to get an honest assessment of where your buckets are right now, take Jonathan’s Good Life Bucket: Snapshot360 Quiz here. This will give you the snapshot that may open your eyes to what you’re unduly focusing on at the expense of all else and help you take steps to improve.

Listen to this episode of The Art of Charm in its entirety to learn more about the importance of metrics for lasting life change, where most people’s bucket levels lie (are they half-empty or half-full?), why purpose beats happiness in pursuit of a good life (though happiness is a natural result of finding purpose), how the buckets relate to one another, how buckets leak (and which bucket seems to leak quickly for most of us), how empty buckets can artificially cap our potential, why buckets never lie, why science supports the benefits of practicing gratitude, what a monthly gratitude visit is and what it can accomplish, and lots more.


If you enjoyed this session with Jonathan Fields, let him know by clicking on the link below and sending him a quick shout out at Twitter:

Click here to thank Jonathan Fields at Twitter!

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