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Last Updated on July 21, 2021

16 Simple Rules to Live by for a Successful And Fulfilling Life

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16 Simple Rules to Live by for a Successful And Fulfilling Life

Is your day-to-day life full of stress and chaos?

Are you scrambling to find a peaceful moment in the day when you can put your feet up and relax? Are you rushed, stressed out and ready to call it quits?

Why is that so? Who is responsible for it? Why have we made it so difficult?

The solution is simple: simplify your life.

It’s the implementation part that is hard, but here are the rules to live by to help you with that:

1. Believe in Yourself , but Be Aware of Your Limitations

The first step to accomplishing all your goals and making your dreams come true starts with this simple realization that you are human:

You are not perfect and you can’t do everything alone.

Always keep things realistic. Don’t put so much pressure on yourself that you find it hard to move; trust yourself to deliver what you need to, but also be prepared to cut yourself some slack.

Own up when you make a mistake. Set goals, and enjoy the journey.

2. De-clutter and Simplify

You have a thousand different things screaming for attention:

You have to tidy up the kids’ room again; you have to do the dishes and laundry; and the never-ending household chores are waiting. You have to organize your calendar and make room for more appointments; make time to socialise; help the kids with homework; and make a gazillion school runs.

Don’t even get started on what needs to be done at the office.

Let’s get one thing straight—you cannot accomplish anything unless you get yourself some of the clarity that comes from creating space in your life, in your relationships and your environment.

You need to reduce, cut back, simplify—Only then will you stop the feeling of being overwhelmed and rushed.

Give anything you haven’t used for the past 3 years to charity. Get organized

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Enjoy the concept of enjoying without owing, and appreciating without acquiring.

3. Use Everything in Moderation

This is something I live by, be it work, socializing, family commitments, overeating, shopping, or watching too much TV—it helps with every single thing.

Embrace the philosophy of “having enough”:

There’s no need to go to extremes, so exercise common sense and learn to curb any obsessive behaviour.

Spend less money than you make. watch your diet and watch less TV.

4. Keep Things in Perspective

I admit there will be times when nothing will go your way, and you will find yourself fighting battles, fixing problems and minimizing damage all day long.

We all have those days, and it is too easy to get caught up in the drama. Get a handle on things: this, too, shall pass.

Your child will get better soon, the noisy neighbourhood parties will end, your backstabbing colleague will get transferred (we can hope, can’t we?), and there will be actual days where you tick off all the items on your to-do list.

Don’t sweat the small stuff. Have an open mind. Here’s Why Perspective Taking Is an Essential Skill for Success.

5. Treat Others How They Want to Be Treated

You might end up getting in trouble if you try treating others how you want to be treated, instead of how they would like you to treat them.

For instance, if you are not a phone person, you might not call your friend because you assume that they feel the same way you do, which may not be the case.

Try to be sensitive to the needs of others, and occasionally going out of your way to do something for them.

Try not to judge. Be generous; try to do something nice for somebody on a regular basis.

6. Family First

My priority is my family, and I left work to start my own freelancing career for the flexible hours it gives.

That doesn’t mean that my work is not important—it just means that I have to operate in a way that works for me and my family.

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How important is it to you that you spend time with your family? Are you making sure that your work doesn’t prevent you from doing just that? What sort of arrangements have you made to make it happen?

You don’t have to stop living your life for your family members, but you’ll feel far less guilt if you prioritise and make time for them.

7. Pay Attention to the Moment

Stop thinking about what happened in the past, or worry about what might happen in the future.

Live in the moment and learn to savour each one: How to Live in the Moment and Stop Worrying

8. Have a Positive Mindset

You are what you think all day long.

If you have nothing but negative thoughts racing through your ahead, then that’s what you are going to get, so try shifting to a more positive outlook on life.

You will be surprised to see that whatever you wished for will start to manifest itself around you.

“Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t—you’re right.” ― Henry Ford

This is How to Cultivate a Positive Mindset (A Step-By-Step Guide).

9. Educate Yourself

The most interesting people are the ones who take an interest in life and never let go of the “beginner’s mind”. They discover learning opportunities and continue to grow, both personally and professionally.

Be a life-long learner. You don’t have to get old to become wise.

Read good books. Try to learn something new every day. Take courses in subjects you enjoy.

Learn to Create a Habit of Continuous Learning for a Better You.

10. Be Passionate About Something

There are some people who are so bursting with energy and vitality that others feel compelled to listen to them, and feel drawn to them.

Passionate home cooks, budding interior designers, gourmet chocolate lovers, antique collectors—just try asking them a question about their interest and they will talk your ears off.

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You want to be that person:

Someone who’s full of love for something significant.

Have one meaningful hobby that encourages you to follow your passion, and you’ll begin each day looking forward to something special.

Don’t know your passion? Take a look at this: How to Find Your Passion and Live a Fulfilling Life

11. Always Be Reflective

Do you ever think about yourself in moments of solitude?

What makes you, you? What makes you tick? What bores you to death? What sort of things do you dream of? What can’t you get over? What regrets do you have of your past?

Take some time to think about those things and you’ll understand yourself more clearly and deeply. You’d be surprised at the life-changing impact such reflection can bring.

Consider doing a Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) or another personality assessment to develop true understanding of your self.

12. Surround Yourself with Supportive People

Three things can change your life: friends, books and your thoughts.

Choose them wisely.

Avoid naysayers and party-poopers.

Learn the 15 Differences Between Positive People And Negative People and surround yourself with the positve ones.

13. Banish the Word “Perfection”

Listen to what you tell your children: always do your best and forget about the rest. Here is Why Being A Perfectionist May Not Be So Perfect.

You are expert enough. Strive for excellence, not for perfection.

14. Fix It or Deal With It, Stop Whining About It

Nobody likes a person who complains all the time.

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If you look around, you’ll see many people who have been dealt a bad hand, but are making the best of things.

Don’t blame others for your problems. Don’t make excuses. Don’t be overly sensitive. Don’t be a drama queen.

15. Remember Things That You Are Grateful For

Try this exercise:

Whenever you are feeling low, make a list of all the things that make you happy, joyous, and grateful.

A beautiful family, adoring kids, kind friends, health, happy home, a job that pays the bills, surprise dinner prepared by a loving spouse, a blog, favourite books and keepsakes, unexpected twenty dollar bill in your jeans pocket.

Everything counts.

After you’ve done this, consider what has happened to the feelings of doom and gloom. It is impossible not to be cheered up after remembering all the fantastic things you have in your life.

Be grateful, and always make room for more happiness.

Some inspirations for you: 32 Things You Should Be Grateful For

16. You Can Have It All, Just Not at the Same Time

There is no greater truth than this:

You cannot have everything at the same time. You have only 24 hours in a day and need to take care of your relationships, work and spirit.

One any given day, the focus will shift. Some days your children have to go to after-school care because you have an important meeting, while other times work has to take a back seat because of a sick child with a high fever.

Sometimes you just need to chill with your girlfriends because it has been ages since you last took a break.

You don’t have to do everything all at once, and life doesn’t have to be complicated.

Simple living is mindful living.

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More Tips About Living a Fulfilling Life

Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

More by this author

Marya Jan

Marya is a business strategist. She shares tips about life and success on Lifehack.

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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

Reference

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