Eudaimonia: The Act of Living Well
There’s an ancient Greek word, frequently associated with Aristotle, called eudaimonia. Aristotle meant it as living virtuously. It’s best translated in modern English not as “happiness”, but as “flourishing” or “living well”. Let’s face it, chasing happiness is a fools game (for happiness is an evasive and subjective pursuit, and without purpose, empty), but pursuing eudaimonia—living well—is a lifestyle choice. And it begins with knowing what living well means to you.
The spirit of eudaimonia, going back to Aristotle, is to make the most of yourself in your short time here. That making the most of yourself business is what you and I have been chasing for a long time, isn’t it? To live virtuously, to flourish in the art of living, to learn and grow and travel and build something better of yourself. To be fit and vibrant and sharp as a tack. To be articulate and passionate and the eager student in this master class of living.
We are all in the pursuit of eudaimonia, we just don’t use that particular word to describe our objective. Maybe we should. There’s another Greek word, Arete, meaning excellence, that comes to mind. If Arete is the ultimate goal, eudaimonia is the path to get us closer to it. We may never reach the former, but we can certainly flourish and live well and strive to maximize our potential. And isn’t that the point of living in the first place?