If you’re like most people, you probably didn’t start today by taking a mindful moment and thinking about how grateful you are for the gift of life… for who you are, for what you have, for the relationships, for the opportunity.

And again, if you’re like most people, you probably didn’t take a mindful moment to accept the ups and the downs that life has and will present to you, and you probably haven’t taken a mindful moment to acknowledge that in reality, you have very little control over most things in your life, including sometimes how you think and feel about things (despite your efforts to be positive).

However, what you do have control over (most of the time) is your intentional actions on how you will react to what life sends your way… and this is an inescapable truth.

I start this post with that assessment because it takes serious work to acknowledge, accept and be ready to take intentional action, on the reality that this inescapable truth leaves us with little, if any excuse, not to be taking intentional actions toward living a happy, flourishing and prosperous work and personal life.

Having personally (from a passionate interest perspective) and academically (from a scientifically validated perspective) researched what it means to live a ‘Good Life’, and while my research continues to gain deeper and broader perspectives and understanding, I have no hesitation in restating in this post that I am convinced the purpose of life is for us to take intentional action that will promote a more happy, flourishing and prosperous life for ourselves and for those we impact through our various life roles.

I’ve been watching with interest a minority group of naysayers, who typically are attacking a limited view of happiness, or a limited view of positivity, or optimism, who often seem almost totally opposed to the idea that any of us ought to pursue a happy, flourishing and prosperous life… a good life… one that’s based on character, trust, and good intention.

One thing that I’ve certainly learned from my academic studies is there will almost always be exceptions to the rule when it comes to human life.

For example, while the research I’ve studied validates that setting and pursuing intentional aspirational goals can increase our overall sense of wellbeing, there will always be exceptions to the research findings. For some people setting and pursuing intentional aspirational goals may be counterproductive.

And certainly the academic research I’ve studied leaves no doubt in my mind that positivity and optimism will increase our overall sense of wellbeing and have many other related benefits, there will always be the exception to this where for some, trying to be more positive or optimistic may lead to frustration and confusion.

I was watching a documentary the other day when Australian comedian Carl Baron said “I’m happy being miserable.”

My point is simply this. If you look hard enough for evidence to validate a point of view that is contrary to mainstream thinking and the findings of the majority of academic research, you’re more than likely to find the exceptions to the rule to validate what you’re looking for.

What confuses me most, and it’s certainly part of my continuing research, is if we’re not meant to live a good life… a life that is happy, flourishing and prosperous… a life that embraces the reality of the good times and the not-so-good times, then surely all we’re left with is an existence.

And certainly I’m convinced that life is for living… not for merely choosing to exist.