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5 Simple Actions That Make a More Fulfilling Life

5 Simple Actions That Make a More Fulfilling Life

Despite our differences, we all share a common desire to live a fulfilling life. It’s one of the things that make us humans — well, human. As social beings, we crave for meaning in everything we do. We want to get the most out of our experiences and so we intentionally seek purpose in things we go through.

The question here is: what does a fulfilling life look like to you? Is it one where you’ve got a lot of money for everything you want and need? Or is it where you have the best relationships with the people you love and those around you? Or is it a life of peace, wellness, and contentment? The following are five helpful tips that will help you create a happier and more fulfilled life.

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1. Live in the moment.

Our physical body resides in the present, but from a mental standpoint, things don’t often go this way. Even though we are physically here at this very moment, most of our thoughts drift far away to the distant past or the imagined future. Because of this, we’re losing connection with the present moment — with the important “NOW.”

Psychologists believe this is the reason why so many people feel like they’re trapped in the past or scared of the future. It’s also the reason why we may feel like days are so short, or that we’re always running out of time. What we fail to notice is these small moments that make up our memories — this is our life. It’s what happens now that should be your greatest concern. What happens now has the greatest impact on who you will be.

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2. Don’t follow the herd; tread where your heart takes you.

The world needs more brave people who can stand up for their own decisions — people of principle and determination who are willing to dig in their heels because they know that it’s the right thing to do. People like Mahatma Gandhi, Nelson Mandela, and Nikola Tesla who stood up for their own beliefs and made great things happen.

We all lead different lives. Each one of us has his own desires and needs. To live fully and become the best version of ourselves, we must discover where our true passions lie. Follow your own path; work with your core purpose; be a ray of light in this otherwise blindingly dark world.

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3. Acknowledge different forms of success.

In our money-driven society, it’s quite a common misconception to measure success by how much you make, how big your house, or how nice your car is. Money is important — no need to argue about it. However, there are other forms of success that prove more valuable. Success in relationships, health, and career are better source of happiness and fulfillment than financial wealth.

4. Learn how to use obstacles as compasses.

What stands in the way becomes the way. The things we call obstacles are not things we must “overcome.” These are things that will point us to the right direction; in other words, they are our pathways to success and fulfillment. Great things come before a turning point — people often encounter difficulties before they achieve success. The next time you have problems, try to see them as a compass, and use it to achieve what you want.

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5. Aim for progress not perfection.

On the surface, both progress and perfection are good things; however, one of these two things breeds fear and undoing, while the other cultivates confidence and creativity. Can you guess which is which?

It’s simple. While aiming for perfection is really admirable, it’s not always good. Perfectionism can be paralyzing, and most of the time, it only leads to fear, avoidance, and undoing. Because you want to make something “perfect,” you fear for flaws, so you avoid doing the task because it creates so much stress — ultimately, it will make you abandon the work.

Progress on the other hand allows you to make mistakes; it emphasizes that there is no need for utmost perfection as long as you make progress every day. And this is really good. As you gain progress, you feel better, more confident, and more trustful of your skill — which leads to more happiness and fulfillment.

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Armela Escalona

Freelance Writer

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Last Updated on September 18, 2020

13 Helping Points When Things Don’t Go Your Way

13 Helping Points When Things Don’t Go Your Way

For the original article by Celestine: 13 Helping Points When Things Don’t Go Your Way

“We all have problems. The way we solve them is what makes us different.” ~Unknown

“It’s not stress that kills us, it is our reaction to it.” – Hans Selye

Have you ever experienced moments when things just don’t go your way? For example, losing your keys, accidentally spilling your drink, waking up late, missing your buses/trains, forgetting to bring your things, and so on?

You’re not alone. All of us, myself included, experience times when things don’t go as we expect.

Here is my guide on how to deal with daily setbacks.

1. Take a step back and evaluate

When something bad happens, take a step back and evaluate the situation. Some questions to ask yourself:

  1. What is the problem?
  2. Are you the only person facing this problem in the world today?
  3. How does this problem look like at an individual level? A national level? On a global scale?
  4. What’s the worst possible thing that can happen to you as a result of this?
  5. How is it going to impact your life in the next 1 year? 5 years? 10 years?

Doing this exercise is not to undermine the problem or disclaiming responsibility, but to consider different perspectives, so you can adopt the best approach for it. Most problems we encounter daily may seem like huge issues when they crop up, but most, if not all, don’t have much impact in our life beyond that day.

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2. Vent if you have to, but don’t linger on the problem

If you feel very frustrated and need to let off some steam, go ahead and do that. Talk to a friend, complain, crib about it, or scream at the top of your lungs if it makes you happy.

At the same time, don’t get caught up with venting. While venting may temporarily relieve yourself, it’s not going to solve the problem ultimately. You don’t want to be an energy vampire.

Vent if there’s a need to, but do it for 15 to 20 minutes. Then move on.

3. Realize there are others out there facing this too

Even though the situation may be frustrating, you’re not alone. Remember there are almost 7 billion people in the world today, and chances are that other people have faced the same thing before too. Knowing it’s not just you helps you to get out of a self-victimizing mindset.

4. Process your thoughts/emotions

Process your thoughts/emotions with any of the four methods:

  1. Journal. Write your unhappiness in a private diary or in your blog. It doesn’t have to be formal at all – it can be a brain dump on rough paper or new word document. Delete after you are done.
  2. Audio taping. Record yourself as you talk out what’s on your mind. Tools include tape recorder, your PC (Audacity is a freeware for recording/editing audio) and your mobile (most mobiles today have audio recording functions). You can even use your voice mail for this. Just talking helps you to gain awareness of your emotions. After recording, play back and listen to what you said. You might find it quite revealing.
  3. Meditation. At its simplest form, meditation is just sitting/lying still and observing your reality as it is – including your thoughts and emotions. Some think that it involves some complex mambo-jumbo, but it doesn’t.
  4. Talking to someone. Talking about it with someone helps you work through the issue. It also gets you an alternate viewpoint and consider it from a different angle.

5. Acknowledge your thoughts

Don’t resist your thoughts, but acknowledge them. This includes both positive and negative thoughts.

By acknowledging, I mean recognizing these thoughts exist. So if say, you have a thought that says, “Wow, I’m so stupid!”, acknowledge that. If you have a thought that says, “I can’t believe this is happening to me again”, acknowledge that as well.

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Know that acknowledging the thoughts doesn’t mean you agree with them. It’s simply recognizing the existence of said thoughts so that you can stop resisting yourself and focus on the situation on hand.

6. Give yourself a break

If you’re very stressed out by the situation, and the problem is not time sensitive, then give yourself a break. Take a walk, listen to some music, watch a movie, or get some sleep. When you’re done, you should feel a lot more revitalized to deal with the situation.

7. Uncover what you’re really upset about

A lot of times, the anger we feel isn’t about the world. You may start off feeling angry at someone or something, but at the depth of it, it’s anger toward yourself.

Uncover the root of your anger. I have written a five part anger management series on how to permanently overcome anger.

After that, ask yourself: How can you improve the situation? Go to Step #9, where you define your actionable steps. Our anger comes from not having control on the situation. Sitting there and feeling infuriated is not going to change the situation. The more action we take, the more we will regain control over the situation, the better we will feel.

8. See this as an obstacle to be overcome

As Helen Keller once said,

“Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through experiences of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, vision cleared, ambition inspired and success achieved.”

Whatever you’re facing right now, see it as an obstacle to be overcome. In every worthy endeavor, there’ll always be countless obstacles that emerge along the way. These obstacles are what separate the people who make it, and those who don’t. If you’re able to push through and overcome them, you’ll emerge a stronger person than before. It’ll be harder for anything to get you down in the future.

9. Analyze the situation – Focus on actionable steps

In every setback, there are going to be things that can’t be reversed since they have already occurred. You want to focus on things that can still be changed (salvageable) vs. things that have already happened and can’t be changed. The only time the situation changes is when you take steps to improve it. Rather than cry over spilt milk, work through your situation:

  1. What’s the situation?
  2. What’s stressing you about this situation?
  3. What are the next steps that’ll help you resolve them?
  4. Take action on your next steps!

After you have identified your next steps, act on them. The key here is to focus on the actionable steps, not the inactionable steps. It’s about regaining control over the situation through direct action.

10. Identify how it occurred (so it won’t occur again next time)

A lot of times we react to our problems. The problem occurs, and we try to make the best out of what has happened within the context. While developing a healthy coping mechanism is important (which is what the other helping points are on), it’s also equally important, if not more, to understand how the problem arose. This way, you can work on preventing it from taking place next time, vs. dealing reactively with it.

Most of us probably think the problem is outside of our control, but reality is most of the times it’s fully preventable. It’s just a matter of how much responsibility you take over the problem.

For example, for someone who can’t get a cab for work in the morning, he/she may see the problem as a lack of cabs in the country, or bad luck. However, if you trace to the root of the problem, it’s probably more to do with (a) Having unrealistic expectations of the length of time to get a cab. He/she should budget more time for waiting for a cab next time. (b) Oversleeping, because he/she was too tired from working late the previous day. He/she should allocate enough time for rest next time. He/she should also pick up better time management skills, so as to finish work in lesser time.

11. Realize the situation can be a lot worse

No matter how bad the situation is, it can always be much worse. A plus point vs. negative point analysis will help you realize that.

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12. Do your best, but don’t kill yourself over it

No matter how bad your situation may seem, do your best, but don’t kill yourself over it. Life is too beautiful to worry so much over daily issues. Take a step back (#1), give yourself a break if you need to (#6), and do what you can within your means (#9). Everything else will unfold accordingly. Worrying too much about the outcome isn’t going to change things or make your life any better.

13. Pick out the learning points from the encounter

There’s something to learn from every encounter. What have you learned from this situation? What lessons have you taken away?

After you identify your learning points, think about how you’re going to apply them moving forward. With this, you’ve clearly gained something from this encounter. You’ve walked away a stronger, wiser, better person, with more life lessons to draw from in the future.

Get the manifesto version of this article: [Manifesto] What To Do When Things Don’t Go Your Way

Featured photo credit: Alice Donovan Rouse via unsplash.com

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