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Last Updated on December 23, 2019

13 Ways Living with Purpose Makes You Happier and More Fulfilled

13 Ways Living with Purpose Makes You Happier and More Fulfilled

One of the greatest gifts as a human is the ability to choose how to live your life. The choice to be a parent or not; the choice to be college educated or choose an apprenticeship; or the choice to break the rules by designing your own future. Sure, the benefits of making the right choices are immense and the feeling of fulfillment even better.

But how would you feel you were forced to live a false life? Here’s an example:

You’re being forced to learn how to be a hair stylist and make it your occupation. No, it’s not your side hustle. Even worse, you are told to forget your loved ones and get married to someone you absolutely detest. Forget everything you’ve learned and loved, and instead, make this your sole career and relationship.

The amount of anguish and physical pain you might feel is akin to someone taking a precious object or livelihood away from you. This could lead to anxiety, depression, self-doubt, and an overall spiral into a web of negativity.

Yet, there are people who willingly or unwillingly live their lives based on society’s dictates and preferences. I’m talking about people who are constantly living outside their purpose and are unhappy about it. While sadness is an emotion that is as common as happiness, a constant state of sadness will cause you to slip into a pattern of automatic negative thoughts which can be more difficult to get out of.

So, how do you fix this? How do you stop living a life of false identities and instead honor your own calling and beliefs?

Without further ado, here are 13 ways living with purpose makes your life happier and more fulfilling:

1. You Feel Grounded to a Calling That Is Bigger Than Yourself

While living with purpose won’t guarantee higher paychecks and fancy property, there is a desire to be part of something bigger than yourself. You want to be part of movements that positively impact the world and leave a legacy behind for future generation.

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Call it faith, mindfulness, or whatever it is you wish to align yourself with. This sense of anchor makes it possible to navigate through life by when you are able to visualize your existence on earth for a specific reason, which in turn enables you to spend more time to find your calling.

2. You Help Others Live Their Purpose by Empowering Them

An advantage to living in your purpose is that you discover your strengths and are more willing to be of service to your community. This is practically impossible if you lack self-awareness and are unable to translate the skills you have to helping others.

Sometimes, even if you do have the skills to help others, living an unintentional life casts a doubt of pessimism over you, blinding you of the opportunities to help others grow.

3. You Engage with Others from a Point of Healthy Self-Esteem

As you go through life, your personality and attitudes become shaped by your experiences. However, negative events tend to leave you more vulnerable to self-doubt and crippling mindset challenges, which can cause your self-esteem to take a nose-dive.

Living with purpose is a powerful way to rehabilitate a sense poor self-esteem. When you change the way you feel about how adversity affects you, your confidence increases and you feel competent enough to deal with setbacks and even stand up as a change agent in situations with unknown outcomes.

4. Your Physical and Mental Health Will Thank You

Yes, your mental health is just as important as your physical health. Living a lifestyle not of your choosing can subject you to severe mental health decline. Anxiety begins to attack as you experience a rise in excessive worry, irritability, lack of concentration, among other things.

In fact, a Harvard article explains that researchers studied the risk of cardiovascular death between people who reported living with a sense of purpose and those who didn’t, and found the risk of death was 20 percent lower in those who reported living with purpose.[1]

5. Letting Go of Failure Is Easier

Life becomes easier to navigate because you’re living with purpose. Note, I didn’t say easy because it’s never easy.

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That’s because choosing to pursue a life aligned with your purpose will stretch you and demand more from you. You will be required to grow and commit to continuous personal development.

However, it is easier to let go of failure without letting it fester into an emotional wound because you’re able approach life as an adventure rather than an “all or nothing” mindset.

It is easier to let go of failure because despite a few losses, you believe that you are on a creative, professional path that is designed just for you.

6. Forgiving Others and Letting Go of Bitterness Becomes Easier

Life becomes more peaceful when you no longer have to hold onto year-long grudges and misunderstandings that have caused you unhappiness. This isn’t to say that you become unfeeling to injustice or deliberate disrespect from others. Forgiveness does not excuse a wrong or action. Rather, people who choose to live a purposeful life are more inclined to choose peace over tension.

According to Andrea Brandt Ph.D. M.F.T., you actually might feel un willing to forgive despite knowing that you need to.[2] However, it takes a gradual process of acknowledging that what is done is done, releasing the hurt and suffering caused, and growing from it ordeal.

Living with purpose makes this process easier because you are more likely to understand that there is no “perfect” human.

7. Gratitude Becomes an Essential Part of Your Life

Interestingly, living a meaningful life opens your heart to feel thankful. When gratitude preludes your wants and desires, you’re inclined to live fully in the present, to savor and enjoy the relationships and things you do have.

When you live a purposeful life, you acknowledge the difference between needs and wants, and make it a daily effort to remove your focus from what you do not have.

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8. You Engage in Positive Behaviors

When you’re living a happier life, you’re able to adopt healthy coping strategies when dealing with stress. According to Stephanie Hooker from Psychology Today:[3]

 “People who have a greater sense of meaning may be more likely to take care of themselves because they feel as if their lives matter more.”

This means more exercise, meditation, mindfulness, and less of drinking, smoking, and risky behaviors that will put your health and safety at risk.

9. You Expand Your Worldview

Unlike living in a world where everything is viewed in black and white, you become very sensitive to nuances, undertones, and challenges that plague daily communications, intercultural communications, and even business operations.

Having an open mind leads to craving a deeper sense of connection and understanding of the world around us, which allows for a higher level of thinking for better results in your career and business and business.

10. You Develop More Empathy for Others

Rather than living a life of assigning blame to others because they can’t seem to “pull themselves up by their bootstraps,” you understand that life is not a race.

You know that everyone is equal and experiences discomfort at certain times. You are also aware that it takes a loving and nurturing environments––not critical ones, to raise mentally-strong and balanced individuals who will go on to achieve greater things in life.

11. You Pursue a Values-Based Life

Ever heard of some people always talking and breathing their core values? Well, that’s what living with purpose does.

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Let’s say you’re exposed to social issues that plague local and global communities. When you live with purpose, your work instantly gravitates towards solving these problems. This integration becomes more prominent because you find it difficult to extricate your what you do from how you are called to serve.

12. You Are More Aligned with Your Career

When you are out of alignment, you are blind to the unassuming job opportunities that mask themselves as challenges or simple introductions. You take risks and make very unwise decisions about your career and/or business.

But success comes from within before it is ever manifested externally, and the only way to know this and acknowledge it is if you are purposefully living your life.

13. You Gain Clarity About the Future Despite Uncertainties

Uncertainty is always going to be a part of life. But it is in these moments that we either realize unspoken potential or let opportunities slip from our fingers.

However, a life lived with purpose recognizes uncertainty as the path to achieving something greater. This encourages you to engage with life from a place of genuine curiosity and wonder instead of anxiety and pessimism.

Final Thoughts

You have to be clear about what you want your life to look like and how you want to live it.

Whether you’re following trends or breaking societal rules, your personal joy and fulfillment is your responsibility.

After all, you only live once and you should find your meaning in it.

More About Living with Purpose

Featured photo credit: Candice Picard via unsplash.com

Reference

More by this author

Margaret Olatunbosun

Creative coach who teaches high-achievers how to thrive at the intersection of creativity, passion, and profit.

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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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