There is No One Specific Way to Live a Good Life

Maybe some people do not believe it, but there is no one specific way to live a good life. Some experts feel that there are two basic paths to human development.

The First Basic Path to Personal Development

The first path is what others tend to The Surrender Yourself path of development. The philosophy of this model sees the lowest and most basic type of happiness as having the basic needs met – such as health and food. After that comes achievement—which is the joy that we derive from earned success. Then we have something called generativity, which are pleasures that we enjoy from our creative expressions and that have a positive influence on our communities. Finally, we have the most noble type of joy which is total surrender, and the complete satisfaction that is derived when we pursue a worthy cause.

The Second Basic Path to Personal Development

The second path is often referred to as the fully human path. In this model, all focus is placed on allowing you to discover your own personal path to enlightenment and fulfillment. The layering in this model is not in the order of least desirable to most desirable, but is arranged in hierarchy of prepotency. This model outlines the most basic needs as shelter, food, and safety. If we do not have these needs met, then people never get the opportunity to grow further as a human being. These prepotent needs demand no environmental instability or even environmental chaos, and no emotional, physical, or even sexual abuse from people they trust such as loved ones.

Once these needs have been met, then it is important that our love needs get met; this includes a sense of connectedness and belongingness to other people. And then when we possess that foundation, authentic forms of mastery can be earned, which will satisfy our need to be accepted by others. Having this personal security along with a sense of self-worth and competence, we can attempt to pursue our most personal and unique purpose.

Which Model of Personal Development Do You Prefer?

So at this point, we can ask ourselves which of these models we prefer. We have either surrender yourself path of personal development or we have a fully human path of personal development. The good thing is that either model is totally acceptable and will guide you to a good life.

In a most recent Op-Ed, Mister David Brooks proposed what he has named “The Four Kinds of Happiness”. According to his model, you have healthy development according to how far you are willing to “surrender” yourself to fellow humans. Additionally, we see Brooks misrepresenting Maslow’s famous needs hierarchy in addition to the theories and beliefs of fellow psychologist, Carl Rogers. These two models of personal development he has pitted against one another are actually more alike than he seems to realize.

If we begin with point number one of Maslow’s need hierarchies. It is actually quite clear, particularly in the later writings, where Maslow talked about things he strongly believed concerning the importance of moving beyond one’s self and discovering one’s unique personal purpose that will best help people. Why not examine the real truth about what Maslow really thought concerning self-actualization. And then later in life how he actually felt regarding the scope of self-transcendence.

The good news and most encouraging things about all this is there is no one specific way to live a good life.