For the past many weeks I've pondered a single question more than any other, "Why is it important to lead a great life?" I've fallen on a potential answer; it is my responsibility to those that came before me and those who will follow. However, as important as it is to ponder the contributions made by those before us that have to lead to the base freedoms we get to enjoy while attempting to extend those same freedoms and more to those who will follow, we have a life of our own to honour. A life that we must live for ourselves.
It is only in honouring this life that we manage to both, lead a great life and pay homage to those before and those to come. This means that leading a great life is a base responsibility we owe to ourselves. So then, if this is our base responsibility, the question must change, "How and what is a great life?" Let us answer the latter part of this question — What is a great life?
I've begun to see life as being in one of 2 modes at any given time: progression or regression. You are becoming better or becoming worse. You are consistently becoming — becoming something else, becoming someone else. This can either be you rising within your greatness or falling towards your worst self. A great life is not determined by the progress made towards a destination. A great life is determined by the direction we are walking.
A woman born into poverty who acquires a life of comfort for herself and her family has undoubtedly achieved great things, but if this life becomes a prison of her own making — jostling for status, fearful of change, frozen by discomfort — does she lead a great life?
Now that we have the seeds of what a great life is, how do we live one? A pose that there is a single answer to that question: a great life is lived with intention. Life is only made great when we make it so. Life does not give, it gives back. When we plant seeds of confidence, we harvest confidence. As we cultivate ownership of our lives — especially for that which is not our fault but is our responsibility — we gain autonomy. For me, autonomy is the ultimate representation of a great life. The freedom to define life for yourself.
There can be no autonomy without ownership. The discipline of leading a life of intention rewards you with the freedoms of autonomy. In this way, discipline is freedom. Freedom is autonomy. Autonomy is ownership. Ownership of self is greatness.
The answer many artists give as to why they create is often the same. I create because I must!
This is true for why a great life must be pursued. It is important to lead a great life simply because we must! To not lead a great life is to allow a lesser life — a life allowed to go to waste. Generational blessings laid to rest among regrets.