By Michael Stern
What does it mean to live a good life? And how does one actually do it?
As a teenager growing up in New York City I became disillusioned with the dominant cultural narrative that urged me to follow a “straight and narrow” path to a conventional definition of success. At 24, I was introduced to the teachings and practices of Buddhism, which provided great insights into some of the questions with which I had been struggling for several years.
But I couldn’t figure out how to fully reconcile those insights with my life as a twenty-something New Yorker who still had plenty of worldly challenges and ambitions.
A Personal Turning Point
At a friend’s suggestion I read a book, “A Theory of Everything” by the American philosopher Ken Wilber. This was a pivotal moment for me – the spark that lit the fuse that propelled me into the next phase of my life.
I immersed myself in learning about the possibilities of human potential in every area, from nutrition and exercise to psychology and neuroscience to purpose and productivity to psychedelics and mysticism.
My desire to answer those timeless questions of what it means to live a good life and how to live my own best life has been fueling my journey for the last twenty years. My passion for learning continues to lead me into new, exciting, and challenging territory.
Why bring emotional intelligence skills to readers?
One of my biggest (ongoing) lessons has been that a healthy, conscious relationship with my emotions is an essential key to my health, happiness, and success. Developing my capacity for emotional self-awareness, self-management, and empathy, has helped me become more effective at achieving my goals and creating meaningful connections with others.
As a life, career, and leadership coach, the essence of my job is helping others clarify what it means to live their own best life and achieve their goals of being healthier, happier, and more successful according to their own definitions of those words.
The one thing that has had a consistently transformative impact on every single client I’ve ever worked with is developing their emotional intelligence. Out of all the tools, theories, and practices I’ve encountered and experimented with, working with emotional intelligence ties it all together in a way that is coherent, accessible, and practical.
My intention is to use this monthly column to explore the meaning and value of emotional intelligence.
My focus will be on the practical application of emotional intelligence skills to real-life issues many of us encounter on a daily basis at home and at work.
I invite you to join me in this exploration and use whatever insights you might gain to develop your own emotional intelligence and achieve your goals to create a happier, healthier, and more successful life.
If you’re interested in an experiential introduction to the Foundational Skills of Emotional Intelligence, I invite you to register for my workshop on Saturday, March 14, from 10 a.m. – 12 p.m. at Good Medicine Collective (231 York St., Portland).
Details can be found at: https://goodmedicinecollective.org/event/foundational-skills-of-emotional-intelligence/.
Michael Stern (www.IntegralAlignment.com) is a certified Emotional Intelligence coach whose mission is to support others in creating a better life and a more beautiful world.