What is Quality of Life?
Once you have done enough to reasonably meet the basic needs of your lifestyle, the next jump in the quality of your life is not going to come from external factors. It will depend on what you cultivate inside of you — the quality of your thoughts.
It is easy to assume that life in another country with better infrastructure will correlate to a better quality of life. This is true, however, only to a certain extent. Having access to an economy that fairly values your skill, a clean pollution-free environment, stable infrastructure for your children’s generation, and access and means to lead a life you want are all important but they do not guarantee the quality of life.
Through experience and learning, I now believe that quality of life is the quality of your consciousness.
You could own a mansion on Beverly Hills but still could make choices leading to poor quality of life. Or, you could find the exact opposite in between exploding shells and flying bullets defending your country with a clarity of thought and purpose that most of us seldom find. So how do you elevate the quality of your thoughts?
Are you working on high-quality problems?
The following definition of high-quality problems is contextual to this thread and very subjective to each individual’s unique situation.
A high-quality problem enables you to self-discover a first principle that brings a material shift in how you perceive the world around you. On the other hand, low-quality problems leverage your strengths and do not influence the make-up of who you are as a person.
The pursuit for a high-quality problem is intrinsic motivation, creates space to embrace your vulnerabilities, and expands your worldview. Low-quality problems have extrinsic triggers based singularly on your strong suits and strengthen your existing biases.
Let’s unpack. Life lessons emerge from a deep-rooted underlying shortcoming. Such situations often require extended experiential learning. If done right, life lessons create such a paradigm shift that the learnings become an integral part of your identity.
High-quality problems help you build your identity. Self-discovery is critical.
Firstly, the pursuit for solving a high-quality problem has to be your intrinsic motivation. If you are chasing something because that’s the latest trend, that ain’t a high-quality problem for you. Secondly, high-quality problems are not solved through self-help books, best practices, or expert guidance (or a thread like this one). You solve them through intermingling phases of “investigation, desperation, and understanding”.
So it is not just enough to stay authentic in finding a high-quality problem. To solve them, read as many books or newsletters as you want or listen to as many podcasts as you wish, however, unless you commit to a “how” that you have crafted for yourself, you will either accomplish chasing someone else’s checklist and still find a void in your life (best case) or you will tire yourself and give up (worst case).
To summarize again, discover high-quality problems you are convinced of beyond a shred of doubt that is worth solving and carve your own path to do so. This will open up gates for experiences to elevate the quality of your thoughts. Your quality of life will be an organic by-product.
(The article that started this thought was a reflection on the move to India after spending a decade in the U.S.: To Return or Not to Return (to India), That is the Question)