Map for life
Map for life

Wisdom: The Key to a Healthy Life

If you examine our culture closely you cannot help but notice that modern people are not very healthy. There is extraordinary dysfunction, and many adults, teenagers and children struggle to cope with life.

Unhealthy people are unhappy people

When I speak of being healthy, I am referring to our mental, emotional, psychological and spiritual well-being. We seem to have lost our way and I contend that our lack of healthiness is what is causing people to be so unhappy. The bottom line is unhealthy people are unhappy people.

Dr. Scott Peck gives great insight into this issue in his bestselling book, The Road Less Traveled. His opening words in the book are, “Life is difficult.” Dr. Peck proceeds to explain how life is a series of problems. We can complain and ignore our problems, or we can seek to solve them. Confronting and dealing with problems can be painful. However, Dr. Peck believes the process of facing and solving problems is key to achieving mental and spiritual health. He then shares what is key in becoming a healthy person. Dr. Peck calls it “being dedicated to the truth.”

He says:

The more clearly we see the reality of the world, the better equipped we are to deal with the world. The less clearly we see the reality of the world—the more our minds are befuddled by falsehood, misperceptions and illusions—the less able we will be to determine correct courses of action and make wise decisions.

Like Stephen Covey, Peck believes our view of reality is like a map, negotiating the terrain of life. He says:

If the map is true and accurate, we will generally know where we are, and if we have decided where we want to go, we will generally know how to get there. If the map is false and inaccurate, we generally will be lost.

If we are committed to the truth, it is like an accurate map for our lives. This map tells us:

  1. Where we are.
  2. Where we need to go.
  3. How to get there.

On the other hand, if a person does not have the right map, he or she will be lost, finding life to be very difficult and incoherent.

Why we develop a habit of having trouble living

Truth, however painful it might be, is our friend, leading to our wellbeing. True wisdom is to discern the truth and seek to live in accordance with it. Philosopher Dr. George Graham made this interesting observation:

It takes a tremendous amount of courage to face the truth. People who have the habit of not facing the truth have a habit of having trouble living in every aspect of their lives—in their jobs, in their personal relationships . . . being centered on the truth is critical to a healthy, vital, human life.

When I speak of the importance of facing the truth, I am talking about confronting the truth about ourselves and our circumstances. We generally like the truth until it begins to lead us in a direction we do not want to go.

So I would ask you to look at your life and do your own evaluation.

Ask yourself:

  • Am I a (mentally, emotionally and spiritually) healthy person?
  • Are my relationships healthy?
  • Do I have serious flaws that remain hidden from everyone else?
  • What about destructive habits in my life?
  • Is my work suffocating or consuming me?
  • Am I growing and developing as a person?
  • Do I have problems that I am afraid of and refuse to deal with?
  • What is the state of my spiritual life?

Do you want to get well?

In the New Testament, John, chapter five, Jesus encounters a crippled man and asks the man an unusual question:

Do you want to get well?

This is a question we all should ask ourselves. Do I want to get well? Do I want to be healthy? Unfortunately, many delude themselves into believing that everything will eventually work out and end up doing nothing.

To me, it is clear that wise people love the truth. They recognize that truth is their friend.


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