Former finance executive Rosie von Lila began practicing human flourishing when she left Wall Street after six years. Through studying and writing about human flourishing, Rosie has distilled the Seven Ingredients for Human Flourishing. Today we explore two of those seven essential ingredients.
Most people are curious when they hear the term human flourishing, and immediately ask, “What does that mean?” The definition of human flourishing has been debated for more than 2,400 years, dating back to the days of Aristotle, Plato, and Socrates. To be in ‘the ballpark’ of human flourishing means to live well. Human flourishing is subjective, and Rosie offers a two-part practical definition: “You are flourishing when most of the areas of your life are working sufficiently for you, according to you… AND you’ve developed the skills for resilience to navigate tough times.”
Of The Seven Ingredients for Human Flourishing, ingredient Five is: Be Creative and Explore “Puzzles” in Life and Community
“ It’s more fun and interesting to relate to my problems as puzzles,” says Rosie. Every day brings puzzles to you. Your train is late. You drop your phone and the screen cracks. Your child gets hurt at school. You receive a cancer diagnosis. Part of “solving” puzzles is about developing your own resiliency. “I’ve come to relate to resilience as ‘How quickly can I down-regulate my stress level? How quickly can I use my inner tools to return to center, so that I can think clearly?”
Ingredient Six is to “Endeavor in Personally Meaningful Ways”
Rosie uses “endeavor” as an all-encompassing description of how mental and physical effort are applied, and uses it as a replacement for the word “work.” Endeavors can be paid or unpaid, scientific or artistic, technical or intuitive. Endeavoring is how a person chooses to live their time on this planet. A significant aspect of human flourishing is the process of experiencing meaning in life. As Rosie says, “Meaningful endeavor emerges from self-determination, curiosity, engaging with ‘puzzles,’ and being a contribution.”
Rosie’s preferred method for sharing what academia teaches on flourishing is via theatre and comedic storytelling. This preference was born in 2022, when Rosie delivered her first comedic performance on human flourishing at the largest innovation summit in Central America to a captivated audience of 500 people. “I told the conference founder, I didn’t know if my comedy would work for a primarily Spanish-speaking audience, but it went over well! I made some very silly jokes in Spanish, but they loved it.”
Using art and popular culture to share that a person can choose to start their own practice of flourishing is proving an effective way to reach people. In 2025, Rosie’s creative team will deliver the theatrical production FELLOW HUMAN: a play on mass human flourishing.
Rosie speaks internationally on human flourishing, and with her creative team hosts events across the United States. When attendees ask how they can flourish, Rosie replies, “Flourishing is a practice.” At these flourishing events, participants are given a pre-stamped postcard, to address to themselves, which asks the question: “What is one small action I will make today before bed that will add to my flourishing?” After the event, Rosie mails out the postcards for the attendees, which they receive a few days later. The cards serve as a reminder of those small actions, which when done over time build habits for flourishing.
The idea of mass human flourishing, which the FELLOW HUMAN theatre show address, starts small. It begins with every individual discovering their own flourishing. It begins with the self, and then ripples out to one’s family, and then one’s communities. Rosie shares, “No one can teach you about your own flourishing. You have to discover yours for yourself. And that process of self-discovery is available to every human being who chooses it.”