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Instead of checking items off a list, the Buddha suggests shining a light on yourself and others. “Dwell as a lamp unto yourself,” he advised his disciple Ananda. He meant that happiness comes from the illumination of your greatest virtues, thus showing the way for other people, and making visible to yourself your true purpose. This ancient wisdom is a near-perfect summary of what the research says will bring us true well-being as we make our way through life.

How to Feel Successful Without Keeping Score

To remember how little you matter, on a cosmic timescale, can feel like putting down a heavy burden that most of us didn’t realize we were carrying in the first place.

Four Thousand Weeks

Oliver Burkeman

If it is foolish to think that we can carry with us all the good things from the past—from our personal past or that of our culture—while leaving behind all the unwanted baggage, it is a counsel of despair and, I think, another kind of foolishness to think that if we leave behind the errors and miseries of the past, we must also leave behind everything that gave that world its savor. Wisdom lies in discernment, and utopianism and nostalgia alike are ways of abandoning discernment.

Breaking Bread With the Dead

Alan Jacobs

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