What should a person do to build a good life?
Well that is the thing, you can accidentally put together a good life. It does involve hard work. But the experimenting wasn't working for me, so I decided to take a huge step back and drop what I knew, and try to build something from the ground-up...which, I was hoping, would still leave me enough time and resources to actually produce a good life =) I think it takes on average about 5 years to start having external indicators (financial support, recognition), but internally it can start almost instantly, and for larger world impact, probably 15-20 years.
Here's my approach below.
What a practitioner should know is that there are two parts: identifying and/or developing good taste, and being able to produce that yourself. It is like Ira Glass says about taste and producing a volume of work...but now applied to your life. As a practitioner of philosophy, you get a sense of what is good, then you have a sense of what is good from a financial and (for lack of a better word) "real world" life. With that, now you produce it. The taste is the killer. If you don't know where you're going, you can only get so far, but it is stumbling. That's where I was before, just stumbling around through successful accolades, hard work, and various fits and starts.
Self awareness comes into play. And also why people say you spend your life, not finding yourself, but making yourself.
How do you develop good taste?
So good taste, I mean you could randomly come upon a path from all the various things in media, from your family, from friends, and be directed or go after something that is good. Lots of people do. And then you may not need to know all the bad things, but just know this is good. But then again, there are plenty of poor emotional drivers or patterns out there. Good taste can come from hanging out with people with good lives, studying good lives, but you need exposure, and you need a sense of what is good. Philosophy can give you a sense of the emotional, moral, internal good, but like religion is incomplete without study.
For real world, you do the same thing, take a look at how people structure their time investment, their relationships, how they deploy financial resources, how it affects emotional state, and what they end up doing and experiences they have. Develop a sense. It can be harder because you need exposure to whole lives, up close. I gained that through interesting happenstance.
What are the tools of production?
Most people talk about hustle, hard work, grit, etc. but that doesn't apply to me. I know those tools already. I was raised on those tools of achievement.
That's why I'm talking about self-awareness.
I think this generation is the first to embrace therapy in the United States in a long time. We have the ability and desire to look for an edge, and the edge is in emotional state.
You can't produce really excellent work, long term, in a healthy state without emotional tools.
The next tool is identification of your problem solving method.
The next is embarking on a path devoted to increasing that method and also testing that method.
Then having done somethings with that method, your emotional goodness should drive something good to do with that method. The method is called a path or goal.
Then there is something like life work, but that's a whole other progression.