How Do I Live a Good Life?

April 16, 2017 • 5 minute read • by Saeed

“The good life is a process, not a state of being. It is a direction, not a destination.”Carl Rogers, American psychologist and one of the founders of the humanistic approach to psychology.

Johnny Depp likes to tell the story of when he met Marlon Brando before the filming of the 1994 romantic comedy-drama Don Juan DeMarco. Over dinner at Brando’s house, Depp began to recite the prologue to the William Saroyan play ‘The Time of Your Life,’ which he considered a road map for how one should live life. Halfway through, Brando finished the soliloquy for him verbatim. Depp then pulled out a dog-eared version which he’d carried around in his wallet for years to show him. At this point Brando got up to show Depp his own framed copy which he had also carried around for years in his wallet.

Go here to hear Depp telling the story. In the meantime, below is the prologue that guided the lives of two of the finest thesps the silver screen has seen. Enjoy!

The Time of Your Life (prologue) –  by William Saroyan

“In the time of your life, live — so that in that good time there shall be no ugliness or death for yourself or for any life your life touches.

Seek goodness everywhere, and when it is found, bring it out of its hiding-place and let it be free and unashamed.

Place in matter and in flesh the least of values, for these are the things that hold death and must pass away.

Discover in all things that which shines and is beyond corruption. Encourage virtue in whatever heart it may have been driven into secrecy and sorrow by the shame and terror of the world.

Ignore the obvious, for it is unworthy of the clear eye and the kindly heart.

Be the inferior of no man, nor of any man be the superior. Remember that every man is a variation of yourself. No man’s guilt is not yours, nor is any man’s innocence a thing apart.

Despise evil and ungodliness, but not men of ungodliness or evil. These, understand.

Have no shame in being kindly and gentle, but if the time comes in the time of your life to kill, kill and have no regret.

In the time of your life, live — so that in that in that wondrous time you shall not add to the misery and sorrow of the world, but shall smile to the infinite delight and mystery of it.”

Citation. Prologue from the play in three acts. Copyright ©1939 by William Saroyan.

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