Mario Villalobos

How Do We Live Well?

We never learned how to live well, did we? It’s not something we learned in school, and honestly, I don’t think many of us had role models we could have looked up to who lived or were living a great life. I at least didn’t. Do any of us know how to recover from our mistakes? Or know what the worst part of ourselves is? Do we know when it comes out and how to live with it in a positive and productive way? How many of us even ask ourselves these questions? If you’re anything like me, then I’m sure you rarely if ever asked yourselves these questions. I think that’s more normal than not, and I don’t know if that’s a good thing. Shouldn’t we know these things? Shouldn’t we have at least broached these subjects in school in some manner?

There’s more to life than knowing mathematical formulas and grammar. I’ve always believed in that, and that’s why I’ve always tended to gravitate toward expressing myself and self-improvement. The unexamined life is not worth living, as Socrates said, one of the best examples of a man whose life was lived well I’ve ever come across. I always loved Philosophy. I wanted to minor in it when I went to USC, but I would have had to pay for another year of school, and I just didn’t want to. I’ve been delving into it off and on since I graduated, and I’ve discovered some great philosophers, like Socrates, Marcus Aurelius, Confucius and Buddha, and Seneca. I’ve always been a fan of Leonardo da Vinci, and even Bruce Lee has taught me a lot. One thing I’ve learned from all this is that living life is hard. Big revelation, right?

When you live alone and there’s no one there to push you, it’s hard to find the motivation and willpower to fight for a well-lived life. Modern life has too many distractions and things to do to make things easy. I can see why people want to live an eremitic life in the mountains or in monasteries. A well lived life is simple and fulfilling. That’s why I gravitated so much toward Minimalism. It forced me to focus on what was important, to throw away the unessential and be left with only those things that bring me joy. The things that don’t bring me joy aren’t physical possessions but choices I’ve made that haven’t contributed toward a joyful life.

What’s the worst thing about myself? I’m too arrogant to learn from my mistakes, I think. It seems that I repeat the same mistakes over and over and over again, and then I beat myself up about it again and again and again. I’m stuck in that cycle again, and I need to get out of it. I need to fight for the life I want, and I gotta do it every day. The question I need to ask myself now, though, is what kind of life do I want?