Boris’s Recipe to a Good Life

A few tips on how to find purpose and happiness in everyday life



Preface: I’ve watched one season of BoJack Horseman. Currently on S2 E6.


As we all approach the end of the academic year, work loads fluctuate between minimal and extreme. Seniors polish up their research projects, Juniors finish the Myers psychology textbook, Sophomores open their chemistry textbooks, and Freshman discover the AMHS finals grind (good luck). The necessary attention span devoted towards school progressively decreases, and many students find themselves lost with this newfound abundance of free time. 

As a general pattern, I’ve noticed that a sort of depression can often accompany this empty space. Studies at the University of Pennsylvania affirm this assumption, as they have found that having too much time is associated with lower subjective well-being due to a lacking sense of productivity and purpose. In this article, I aim to deliver my personal recipe on how to fill this void that every highschool student will run into at one point or another. 


Let’s start with self fulfillment. Arguably the meaning of life, I believe that any form of happiness is unattainable without a sense of purpose. The most troublesome times of my life have been deeply rooted in the lack of goals, as I often looked to replace a drive to do or create with sources of instant gratification.

Yikes. Let’s play a game: count up the number of social media apps on your phone— specifically the ones with a never-ending “feed” such as Instagram. Now open the Settings app, and check your screen time on all of them. If your daily average exceeds the time you’ve spent doing anything personally productive, for example practicing a skill or a hobby, you’ve lost the game.

I would like to admit that I am a hypocrite. Proudly one year clean from TikTok, my Instagram usage oscillates between a five minute and three hour daily average every month. Be it college lacrosse highlights, Family Guy edits, or Hoodville wisdom, my Instagram always offers a consistent flow of information and funnies. I’ll mindlessly scroll through at the end of my classes, or before going to sleep. It’s a habit. Consciously, I am aware that this “networking” application is nothing more than a metaphorical button of instant gratification. Every time I find myself bored, I open up Instagram instead of doing something with my life. Okay, here’s the thesis: Creativity and the drive for creation become stagnant because the desire to change and fulfill are constantly substituted by sources of instant gratification. 

So what’s the solution? Honestly, try to live a few days with screen time restrictions. Delete social media apps, lock away your phone if you have to. In my experience, the results are stellar. A few days in, you will feel a thirst harbored deep within the anxiety of missing your precious social media apps— a thirst to finally do something. I’ve picked up everything from wood whittling to behavioral finance books in these instant gratification detoxes. Yes, it can be hard to quit because Instagram and TikTok have full time employees working to make their applications as addictive as possible, however it is totally worth the effort. The first steps necessary to living a good life are to 1. Remove major sources of instant gratification and 2. Pick up any sort of interest, any goal that you can wake up to in the morning with a newfound feeling of excitement and purpose. I think a common misconception is that you have to flip a switch and do something world changing, when in reality it can be anything: playing the guitar, walking a local nature trail, reading a super interesting book called “Why We Sleep” by Mathew Walker (highly recommended). Try to delete a few apps and attempt a new hobby, and watch your life drastically change for the better. With a little less instant gratification and a little more unstifled boredom, I promise that you can truly find yourself. 

I’m very glad I deleted Tiktok

— Ransome Hudson


Next, I’d like to delve into the mental side of things. I believe that mentality is crucial to a healthy lifestyle. Life is nothing more than your perception of it, and therefore reality is entirely what you make of it. 

The importance of mentality ranges across a variety of life disciplines. Confidence, for example, is a form of positive self-belief that I find essential in both sports and first dates. More importantly, however, is how you prime your perception of the unfortunate events in your life. 

Many Seniors have already begun to do this, as the melancholy phrase “Rejection is redirection!!” is heard more and more often in the last two weeks of March. The brutal months of college decisions are not the only time where this mentality is essential. In my experience, asking myself “what is this trying to teach me” instead of “why is this happening to me” has improved my outlook on everything, leading to immense emotional growth. A solid example could be a challenging time during a friendship or relationship, where you are evidently distressed by the situation. Yes, it is important to mourn or be sad or whatever else the situation calls for; But you can also look for the teaching moment in that stage of your life, for instance learning how to communicate about a certain sensitive topic, or finding out who cannot be trusted.

I’d like to note that this quote has gotten me through the toughest of times:

Just know that you are Him

— Chase Roberts

I would advise to not take this optimistic lens too far, as you may end up in a rabbit hole of over-rationalization. Some things are just straight up horrible, plain and simple. Milk the good out of everything you can, though, given the chance. 


This positive mentality leads into my next argument: to live a good life, it is probably a good idea to enjoy it. Take life one day at a time and remember to ground yourself in the present, do not live in the future or past. While it is absolutely important to set goals, as mentioned before, it is very easy to get caught up in the future. I constantly peek at my calendar, looking forward to the upcoming Pink Floyd concert or Spring Break. At some point, however, I start living just to pass the time, instead of enjoying every day leading up to the exciting event. Moreover, dwelling on the past has also done me no good. Life moves on, and it can overtake you if you don’t move with it.

If you are depressed, you are living in the past. If you are anxious, you are living in the future. If you are at peace, you are living in the present. – Lao Tzu


Find joy in the “little things” of life, as insignificant as they may seem. I personally catalog the good things that have happened to me throughout the day, combined with a list of things that I am looking forward to. This can include anything from an excellent leg day rewarded with a grilled Chikfila sandwich to the W&L decision coming out tomorrow to the lacrosse scrimmage after school to pizza in Bortz’s room at lunch to DMing random people on the USC premed frat Instagram pages to— the list goes on. There are a ton of things I wake up to every day, and I am always looking forward to something with immense enthusiasm. 

Still, the little things often go overlooked. I discovered a banger EST Gee track this morning. I also had an excellent muffin. There are endless details I can choose to enjoy as I go about my day, making it feel so much more alive and real. Experience joy and appreciation in every little thing in your life, and try not to take anything for granted. 


Finally, I’d like to address the physical aspects of living happy.

1. Sleep

I feel like I can do anything in the world when I go to sleep by 9:30. Productivity, physical ability, and basic mental processes are tenfold enhanced compared to the groggy shell of a human I become with five hours of sleep. There are studies on studies I could paste into this article supporting the assertion that good quantity and quality of sleep are some of the main ingredients to living a happy life, but I’m sure all of my readers already know this. Neurochemicals, brain science, etcetera. Just go to sleep earlier. Deleting Tiktok helps.

2. Eat healthy

Once again, I won’t bore you to death with the plethora of research available all over the internet about how eating well is essential in being mentally well. Neurochemicals, brain science, etcetera.

3. Exercise

This one is a bit more subjective, as the benefits of exercise expand beyond the science: Everyone knows being physically active is very beneficial to being happy (NEUROCHEMICALS, BRAIN SCIENCE, ETCETERA), however having the routine of going to the gym, playing a sport, or running every day is vital. Getting into the rhythm of holding healthy habits while simultaneously bettering yourself is honestly one of the most influential initiatives you can take to living a better life. 


Yes, we all go through an illusory midlife crisis in highschool. Sometimes it isn’t illusory, and we actually have a midlife crisis in highschool. Regardless, I believe that these steps are very effective at moving your life in a good direction, wherever you might currently be. Deleting Tiktok and Instagram has had drastic effects on my everyday life, and I believe that it is something everyone should try. In our modern day and age, corporations are focused on hooking the attention span of every second you have to spare, so it can be healthy to disconnect and try to remember who you really are. Find yourself, improve your mentality, and enjoy every single moment. 

Bro check

— Walker Bauknight