Dave Kim

The Good Life Manifesto

When I was at ?What If! Innovation, one of my favorite parts of any innovation project was the design research phase. The inner anthropologist in me loved the opportunity to meet new people and learn about their lives. Who were they? What mattered to them? How did they make sense of / sense-make the world?

Whether it was learning about how someone managed her financial life or seeing how someone wrangled an overwhelming medication regimen, I loved the peek into their lives. I think of each of these moments as an incredible gift, and I cherish them to this day.

In one project, I was lucky enough to travel around the United States and meet with older Asian, Hispanic, and African Americans to hear their stories. I was looking to understand how they perceived their life today and how they were thinking and feeling about the next phase of their lives. The Good Life Manifesto emerged from their stories.

Let’s jump in.


The Good Life Manifesto

A good life is not about chasing instant pleasure or leading a life of mindless happiness. It is not about the pursuit of the quick high or the cheap laugh.

A good life is not selfish. It is not petty. It is not cruel.

A good life, a true good life, comes from the satisfaction of a life built on good, honest work. It comes from the warm embrace of your family, the love of your fellow Man, and the belief and recognition that there is dignity in every single life, no matter who you are, where you’re from, or where you’re headed.

A good life comes from growing, learning, stretching, accepting, teaching, and trying new things.

A good life is in the heart-exploding joy of your first, second, and maybe even your third grandchild. And it is in holding your loved one’s hand and remembering a life well-lived, one full of dreams, hopes, accomplishment, contentment, laughter, and love.

It can be easy to miss that you’re living a good life.

A good life comes from the wisdom that we’re all human and that making mistakes is a natural part of who we are and that even the best of us can stumble. And a good life comes from the ceaseless wonder that in the most extraordinary circumstances, we get back up, dust off our pants, and try, try again.

A good life is about truly connecting with others and showing that through a million tiny acts that all say: I see you. I thank you. I love you.

And when you strip it down to its very core, a good life, the type that has inspired poets and singers, artists and dreamers, and builders and doers, is one full of love.

Love for yourself. Love for your family. Love for your community. And love for what it means to be alive.

A good life is one of love. A good life is love.