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Last Updated on January 18, 2021

5 Steps to Create Self-Fulfillment in Times of Adversity

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5 Steps to Create Self-Fulfillment in Times of Adversity

You will never find self-fulfillment if you are struggling.

That is the lie I feel like we are all told. If we struggle, we cannot be happy and therefore cannot be fulfilled.

However, the problem isn’t the adversity itself; it is the way we look at it. We see struggle as bad, and to struggle is to fail. But it’s not.

To struggle is to progress, learn, improve, and grow.

Self-fulfillment is an elusive concept at the best of times, but when faced with adversity, it seems a great deal harder to find. Life is hard and doesn’t ever seem to go the way we plan. Life just keeps getting in the way, seemingly throwing new obstacles for us to hurdle over in order to reach personal fulfillment.

We still search for how to start living a life of self-fulfillment, that feeling of pure happiness and knowledge that we are doing the right thing at the right time. That feeling that no matter what, we added value into the world today.

In this article, you will discover what true fulfillment is, and how to achieve self-fulfillment even during tough times.

What Is Self-Fulfilment?

Self-fulfillment is the fulfilment of one’s hopes and ambitions through personal growth. It’s about reaching your full potential, achieving success, and building a happy life that you can be proud of.

It sounds simple enough; to feel fulfilled, you have to achieve your hopes and ambitions. So isn’t fulfillment just long-term happiness?

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Fulfillment Vs Happiness

Fulfillment and happiness are not the same thing[1]. Happiness is a temporary state; it happens and it goes away until the next thing makes you happy.

Fulfillment is much more long term and focuses on the bigger picture. To feel fulfilled doesn’t mean to be happy and joyous all day long, every day. Some days are going to be bad, but if you are doing something you believe in, something you want to be doing with all of your soul, you will find contentment in your personal life and feel fulfilled.

It is not a feeling of happiness or sadness, but instead an underlying feeling of complete love. You can love someone and still be annoyed at them, but you know you love them. That is fulfillment.

5 Steps to Create Self-Fulfillment in Times of Adversity

Here’s how to create self-fulfillment in your life in the face of adversity:

1. Work out What Your Core Values Are

What are your core values, and why are they important?

Our core values are the qualities we value most in the world; characteristics we admire or cherish in others.

If you meet someone and they are your type of person, but you can’t explain why, you have met someone whose core values are in alignment with yours. For example, if one of your core values is honesty, you will value and like an honest person. Just like if you meet a dishonest person, you will have an unspoken aversion to them.

But how do your core values affect your self-fulfillment?

Who you are defines how you will find fulfillment. If you want to achieve all of your hopes and dreams, it is much easier to find out where to go if you have a road map. Your core values affect every decision and interaction. You can’t feel fulfilled if you are doing something that goes in direct contradiction to them.

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If you are an honest person and you are doing dishonest work, you will not be fulfilled and you will be facing adversity within yourself.

How do you find your core values?

There are several ways to work out what your core values are, but a quick way is to look at a list of them and pick the ones you relate to the most. You can also learn more in this article: How To Find Your Personal Values For Living a Fulfilling Life

The first key to fulfillment is to live in alignment with your core values. Once you start to find them and make adjustments to your life to cut out anything that goes against them, your will start to find your adversity fading away as you embrace a life that you can feel proud of living.

2. Work out What Your Real Hopes and Ambitions Are

Work out your own hopes and ambitions, not the ones you have been told to have.

Now that you know what your core values are, you can move forward on working out what it is that you want to do. Who do you want to be? What do you want to do? Play a banjo in Bali for a living? Giving up your corporate life to start a charity? Or do you want to give up your charity to take a corporate job?

We aren’t born with the knowledge of what makes us feel fulfilled. We have to find it through trial and error, but fear often stops us from searching. At some point in our lives, we get ashamed of our interests and choices. To avoid pain, we conform to what society want us to do, and we stop experimenting.

Our dreams get confined to the back of our heads, and life gets too busy for us to worry about them. We take the jobs we don’t really care about and fill the void with fun activities, food, and material goods because there is something in our hearts that is missing.

The dreams we have are the key to a sense of fulfillment, which will lead us to better mental health.

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If you’re trying to figure out your dreams, check out the video below on how to follow your true calling:

3. Accept Your True Self

Whatever it is you want and whatever your core values are, you are never going to reach fulfillment without self-acceptance.

The reason we deny accepting ourselves as we are is because at some point or many points in our lives, someone has told us we weren’t good enough, worthy enough, or simply wrong in some way.

It’s important in this case to remember that flaws are subjective. Your flaws that you have been criticized for aren’t flaws at all; they are just incompatibilities with certain people. For example, if you are a very honest person, some may criticize you for being too direct while others will applaud your candor.

Accept yourself for who you are[2]. You don’t have to change the world to be important or special, but by embracing who you are and accepting yourself, you can change somebody’s world.

4. Understand That Change Is Inevitable

Self-fulfillment is fluid.

You grow, learn new skills, and unlock new possibilities—in short, you level up. You are always changing, you grow new core values, and your dreams and goals grow and evolve as you do.

A common adversity we face is our own obsession with avoiding change. The core of anxiety is often our lack of ability to control the uncontrollable.

But how is this relevant to self-fulfillment?

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The thing about fulfillment is that it’s the feeling of achieving your hopes, dreams, and goals, and they are always changing. Holding onto your old self’s goals when you find that something important in your life has shifted won’t get you anywhere.

You are evolving to become a new person all the time, and you can’t feel fulfilled if you are going after someone else’s dreams. The old you is holding you back, so it’s time to let them go and embrace this new, ever changing you.

5. Understand That Fulfillment Comes from Living in the Moment

To be fulfilled, you have to embrace the journey, with all its ups and downs and all its adversity.

We have this idea that once we hit a goal, buy that house, or marry that spouse, we will feel fulfilled forever. However, self-fulfillment is deeply personal, a reflection of who you are and who you want to be. It’s an ongoing process; it can’t be achieved through one event.

You don’t buy a house, have kids, and get a dog and automatically feel fulfilled forever. Human nature makes is so that we are driven to constantly seek better and more. We are biologically programmed to do so, which means one event or one goal cannot possibly help us create fulfillment.

Fulfillment has to be a daily process of embracing what you are doing and working towards your dream by offering value in a way that only you can.

Final Thoughts

You will always face adversity, but you don’t always have to struggle while you face it. You have the opportunity to change your life at any time, change the adversity you are facing, or change the way you look at the problem and situation.

Self-fulfillment needs gratitude, self acceptance, and understanding to thrive. Without them, it is hard to really embrace that feeling of unlimited contentment.

The most important thing you need to know is that you can overcome any adversity, no matter how big or small. The biggest illusion about self-fulfillment is that it is eternal and endless, but it’s not. It comes and goes with the tides, but embracing those key moments and really appreciating them are what give you the energy and strength to overcome any adversity.

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More About Finding Fulfillment in Life

Featured photo credit: Candice Picard via unsplash.com

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Jade Nyx

Qualified Life Coach

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Last Updated on October 7, 2021

How to Make a Change With the Four Quadrants of Change

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How to Make a Change With the Four Quadrants of Change

Quitting smoking is the easiest thing in the world. Some people quit smoking a thousand times in their lives! Everyone knows someone with this mindset.

But this type of change is superficial. It doesn’t last. For real, lasting change to take place, we need to consider the quadrants of change.

Real change, the change that is fundamental, consistent, and longitudinal (lasting over time) has to happen in four quadrants of your life.

It doesn’t have to be quitting smoking; it can be any habit you want to break — drinking, biting your nails, overeating, playing video games, shopping, and more.

Most experts focus on only one area of change, some focus on two areas, but almost none focus on all four quadrants of change. That’s why much of change management fails.

Whether it is in the personal life of a single individual through actions and habits, or in a corporate environment, regarding the way they conduct their business, current change management strategies are lacking.

It all stems from ignoring at least one part of the equation.

So, today, we will cover all four quadrants of change and learn the formula for how to change fundamentally and never go back to your “old self.”

A word of warning: this is simple to do, but it’s not easy. Anyone who tells you that change is easy is either trying to sell you something, or they have no idea what they’re talking about.

Those who want an overnight solution have left the article now, so that leaves you, me, and the real process of change.

The Four Quadrants of Change

There are four areas, or quadrants, in which you need to make a change in order for it to stick. If you miss or ignore a single one of these, your change won’t stick, and you will go back to your previous behavior.

The four quadrants are:

  1. Internal individual – mindset
  2. External individual – behavior
  3. Internal collective – culture/support system
  4. External collective – laws, rules, regulations, teams, systems, states

All four of these quadrants of change may sound like they could carry change all by themselves, but they can’t. So, be sure to implement your change in all four quadrants. Otherwise, it will all be in vain.

First Quadrant — Internal Individual

This quadrant focuses on the internal world of an individual, and it concerns itself with the mindset of a person.

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Our actions stem from our thoughts (most of the time), and if we change our mindset toward something, we will begin to process of changing the way we act.

People who use the law of attraction fall into this category, where they’ve recognized the strength of thoughts and how they make us change ourselves.

Even Lao Tzu had a great saying regarding this:

“Watch your thoughts. They become words. Watch your words. They become deeds. Watch your deeds. They become habits. Watch your habits. They become character. Character is everything.” [1]

One of the most impactful ways you can make a change in this quadrant is to implement what James Clear calls identity-based habits. [2]

Instead of prioritizing the outcome of a change (ex.: I want to lose 20 pounds), you prioritize your identity as a person (I want to become/remain a healthy person).

Here are a couple of examples for you to see the strength of this kind of resolution:

I want to watch many movies = I am a cinema lover
I want to clean my apartment = I am a clean person
I want to harvest my crops = I am a harvester (farmer)
I want to swim = I am a swimmer

This quadrant is about changing the identity you attach to a certain action. Once you re-frame your thinking in this way, you will have completed the first of the quadrants of change.

Second Quadrant — External Individual

This quadrant focuses on the external world of an individual and concerns itself with the behavior of a person.

This is where people like Darren Hardy, the author of the Compound Effect reside. Hardy is about doing small, consistent actions that will create change in the long run (the compound effect).

You want to lose 30 pounds? Start by eating just 150 calories (approximately two slices of bread) less a day, and in two and a half years, you will have lost 30 pounds.

The same rules apply to business, investing, sports, and multiple other areas. Small, consistent actions can create big changes.

This works — I’ve read 20 extra pages a day for the past two years, and it accumulated into 90 books read in two years. [3]

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Here, you have two ways of dealing with change behaviorally: negative environmental design and positive environmental design.

Negative Environmental Design

This is when you eliminate the things from your environment that revert you to the old behavior. If you want to stop eating ice cream, you don’t keep it in your freezer.

If you want to stop watching TV, you remove the batteries from the remote and put them on the other side of the house (it works!).

Positive Environmental Design

This is when you put the things that you want to do withing reach — literally!

You want to learn how to play guitar? Put your guitar right next to your sofa. You want to head to the gym? Put the gym clothes in a backpack and put it on top of your shoes.

You want to read more books? Have a book on your nightstand, your kitchen table, and on the sofa.

You can even combine this last trick with my early advice about removing the batteries from your remote control, combining the negative and positive environmental designs for maximum effect.

Two Sides of the Same Coin

If you just change your behavior and leave your intentions (thoughts) intact, your discipline will fail you and the real change won’t happen.

You will simply revert back to the previous behavior because you haven’t changed the fundamental root of why this problem occurs in the first place.

That is why you need to create change both in the first quadrant (internal individual — mindset) and the second quadrant (external individual — behavior). These quadrants of change are two sides of the same coin.

Most change management would stop here, and that’s why most change management fails.

No matter how much you focus on yourself, there are things that affect our lives that are happening outside of us. That is the focus of the two remaining quadrants.

Third Quadrant — Internal Collective

This quadrant focuses on the internal world of the collective where the individual resides, and it concerns itself with the culture of that collective.

There are two different distinctions here: the Inner Ring and the Outer Ring.

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The Inner Ring

These are your friends and your family. The Inner Ring is the place where the social and cultural norms of your friends and family rule.

So, if everyone in your family is overweight and every lunch is 1,000 calories per person, then you can say goodbye to your idea of becoming healthy.

In this case, the culture of your group, the inner norms that guide the decisions, actions, thoughts, ideas, and patterns of behaviors are all focused on eating as much as possible. [4]

You need to have the support of your Inner Ring if you want to achieve change. If you don’t have this support, the the best way to proceed is by either changing your entire Inner Ring or distancing yourself from it.

Beware — most Inner Rings won’t accept the fact that you want to change and will undermine you on many occasions — some out of habit, some due to jealousy, and some because supporting you would mean that they have to change, too.

You don’t have to cut ties with people, but you can consciously decide to spend less time with them.

The Outer Ring

The Outer Ring consists of the culture of your company, community, county, region, and country. For example, it’s quite hard to be an open-minded person in North Nigeria, no matter how you, your friends, and your family think.

The Outer Ring is the reason why young people move to the places that share their value systems instead of staying in their current city, county, or country.

Sometimes, you need to change your Outer Ring as well because its culture is preventing you from changing.

I see this every single day in my country, where the culture can be so toxic that it doesn’t matter how great of a job you have or how great your life currently looks — the culture will change you, inch by inch, until you become like it.

Fourth Quadrant — External Collective

This quadrant focuses on the external world of the collective where the individual resides, and it concerns itself with the systems, teams, laws, and rules of that collective.

This quadrant is about the external manifestations of the collective culture. If the majority of the environment thinks in a certain way, they will create institutions that will implement that way of thinking.

The same rules apply to companies.

One example for companies would be those managers who think that employees are lazy, lack responsibility, and need constant supervision (or what is called Theory X in management).

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Then, those managers implement systems that reflect that kind of culture– no flexible work hours, strict rules about logging work, no remote work, etc.

Your thoughts, however, may be different. You might believe that people want responsibility, that they are capable of self-direction, that they can make good decisions, and that managers don’t need to stand on their necks if they want something done (this is called Theory Y in management).

Then, you would want to have flexible working hours, different ways of measuring your productivity (for example, not time on the job but work produced), and remote work, if possible for your profession.

This is when you enter into a conflict with the external collective quadrant. Here, you have four options: leave, persevere, neglect, and voice.

Leave

You can simply leave the company/organization/community/country and go to a different place. Most people decide to do this.

Persevere

This is when you see that the situation isn’t good, but you decide to stick at it and wait for the perfect time (or position) where you can implement change.

Neglect

This is where you give up on the change you want to see and just go with the flow, doing the minimal work necessary to keep the status quo.

These are the people who are disengaged at work and are doing just the bare minimum necessary (which, in the U.S. is around 65% of the workforce).

I did this only once, and it’s probably the only thing I regret doing in my life.

Voice

This is where you actively work on changing the situation, and the people in charge know that you want to create a change.

It doesn’t matter if it’s your company, community, or your country; you are actively calling for a change and will not stop until it’s implemented.

Putting It All Together

When you take it all into account, change is simple, in theory, but it isn’t easy to execute. It takes work in all four quadrants:

  1. Internal individual — mindset
  2. External individual — behavior
  3. Internal collective — culture/support system
  4. External collective — laws, rules, regulations, teams, systems, states

Some will require more work, some less, but you will need to create a change in all four of them.

But don’t let that discourage you because change is possible, and many people have done this. The best time to start changing was yesterday, but the second best time is today.

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Featured photo credit: Djim Loic via unsplash.com

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