The Secret to Living a Fulfilling Life

The Secret to Living a Fulfilling Life

Everyone wants a full, satisfied life. Many people do not necessarily want a long life; just a fulfilling one characterized by happiness, achievements, and zero regrets. However, this seems like a fantasy to many. People around you may throw some discouraging comments your way, saying how a ‘fulfilling life’ is for the rich.

While that may be partially true, you will be relieved to know that financial freedom is not necessary for a full life. Living a life of fullness begins with a willingness to learn. Every working professional remembers the time when they were in school.

The morning lecturers and the exams were not so fun, were they? You wished to be done with it and begin working. Now that you are working, there are days when you miss being in school. College life may not be very stressful compared to your current life. There is a lot that you need to experience and learn. With your social life, business, family commitments and everything else, time is a limited resource. You must find new ways, every time, to absorb new stuff efficiently.

When you gain new knowledge and learn new skills, you get solutions and answers to your life problems and in turn, a higher sense of fulfillment. Formal education and qualifications are important if you want to secure a good job. However, going to school is not the only type of learning there is. You learn in many ways and the experiences help you grow. You can acquire knowledge and develop skill sets anywhere.

Nonetheless, lifelong learning involves having a positive attitude towards learning, both for professional and personal development.  A lifelong learner develops and learns because they have made a choice to do just that; it is a voluntary and deliberate act. When you become a lifelong learner, your understanding of the world is enhanced, your quality of life improved and you can access better opportunities. People are now retiring later in life, thanks to increased life expectancy. As a lifelong learner, you have better chances of having productive working days.

You will experience profound progress and a sense of wellbeing. A knowledgeable and highly skilled employee is considered an asset in a company. This means faster promotion and, of course, a salary increase. With more expertise, a worker adds value to customers as well as employers.

Expertise is also considered a major quality of effective leaders. When you keep on amassing knowledge, you will have an advantage over those that do not think lifelong learning is important. People change career paths all the time. You can always start afresh in life, no matter how old you are. When you educate yourself and learn new things, your opportunities widen. You will have a way out if what you are currently doing is not fulfilling. 

Richard Feynman was a physicist who won a Nobel Prize for quantum electrodynamics. However, there is something about him that many people have no clue about: he was a safecracker, a good one. One time while he was in the New Mexico Desert in 1940, Feynman got bored. He was focusing on the Manhattan project which birthed the atomic bomb. He decided to have some fun by pranking his colleagues. He knew that many of them were not careful when dealing with top secret document safes. Feynman started leaving them notes such as: “I borrowed document no. LA4312 – Feynman the safecracker.”

He became very good at these pranks and the Colonel in charge advised the people to change their lock combination if Feynman came anywhere near the safe. Feynman tells this and many more of his stories in his autobiography: Surely, You’re Joking Mr. Feynman!  One of the most admirable things about Feynman is his deep curiosity on things, such that he only committed himself to that which he found interesting. Obviously, he was a focused person; however, he was guided by an orienting impulse that was beyond simple ambitions and goals.

He was interested in going past the known. Goals are common in just about every pursuit. People look ahead, try to predict what may give them a happy future and then narrow down to a specific thing. What if that is the wrong way? Is the Answer Living Goal to Goal? An orientation is necessary when you are dealing with the future. If you do not have one, you will be shaped completely by randomness and luck. Goal setting is taught very early on in life so people can keep up. Later, when you join corporations, you find even more goals, encouraging the tendency.

Whether you are setting personal or SMART goals, without a framework or with a framework, they are all common in that they are concrete. Goals are important and having one may be better than having none. Some people are genetically predisposed to be more satisfied in in an accomplishment than others. However, living goal to goal can be problematic. First, it tries to predict the future which is unpredictable. Life changes, you change. Second, it builds an anchor. Your expectations of contentment and happiness are bound on a singular thing and you may forget other joyful experiences.

The solution? The pursuit of interestingness solves the problem of goal setting. It is nebulous and vague enough to honestly consider the unpredictability of the future but keeps you from getting lost in randomness and pure luck. Interestingness is taking on a random project because it might teach you something new about yourself. It is viewing someone you just met as an individual who might lead you to new dimensions and not as a potential partner or ladder to something. If interestingness becomes your goal, your actual goals become fluid. The best things in life come randomly, not when you are striving for virtual perfection.

SMART goal setting is an efficient method trusted by high achievers. Perhaps, there is something you have always wanted to achieve but you just cannot seem to be successful. If you do not approach your goals with seriousness and a great attitude, you will barely achieve them. SMART goal setting is your key to get to where you have always wanted to go. This is a method of setting goals that takes into consideration certain factors about the goal relative to whoever is setting it. The factors are the five letters in the acronym. The goal setting is relative to the specific goal setter because people are different. This is what the acronym stands for:

S – Specific

M – Measurable

A – Achievable

R – Realistic

T – Time bound

What is so special about this goal setting metric? 

The Long-Lasting Impact of SMART Goals

SMART goal setting is partially responsible for the success of people such as Steve Jobs and Stephen Cooley. Here are the impacts of SMART goal setting: Clear your goals: this goal setting method allows you to understand all the phases of the goal. You will always be asking the relevant questions as far as your goal is concerned. Motivates you: SMART goal setting breaks down your goal into smaller ones or milestones.

This makes the bigger goal appear less intimidating. Saves time: when you have a strategy, you are likely to achieve more. Being strategic means that your goal is SMART. If you look at your goals and you cannot see any of these features (specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and time bound), know that you may not go far. You become more motivated when you write down your goals.

Enhances self-discipline: everyone should try self-improvement regularly. Setting SMART goals will help you realize that effort is required on your side to achieve them. Specific: vague goals are not advisable. You may not even realize when you have achieved them. For instance, a goal like “start planning for retirement” is not specific. Go ahead and outline how exactly you plan on preparing. A specific goal has clear components and it will be easier to work towards.

Measurable: a goal such as “save millions of dollars for retirement” is not measurable. It would be better to set a goal for saving a specific amount every month towards retirement. Achievable: is your goal actionable? You must resonate with your goal. Make sure you have the resources (not necessarily all of them) to achieve the goal. The time frame is also an important factor to consider. Realistic: are you willing to sacrifice all that is required to achieve your goal?

Time bound, you must write the start and end date of your goal. Once you have done that, break down the goal into milestones, chunks, or phases. Deadlines will motivate you to act. Over to you now.  Go for your dreams. What is a meaningful and fulfilling life? There are tons of answers to this question on the internet. They may all seem to be great ideas, but they are directionless and vague. A better answer would be a list of goals to lead you to a fulfilling life. 

These goals are divided into four categories:

1 – 8: concentrate on long-term happiness

9 -15: nurture deep relationships

16 – 23: tap into your potential

24 – 29: live a life driven by purpose

  1. A gratitude journal: this basically means writing down four things that you are grateful for every morning.
  2. Make a life plan: a detailed life plan will give you an idea of where you want to be and what you want to achieve.
  3. A healthy exercise routine: exercise boosts energy levels, your mood, health, happiness, and much more. 
  4. Give back: not only does volunteering improve happiness, but it is also fulfilling.
  5. A creative hobby: everyone has an innate creative ability. Look for a way to express yours.
  6. Become mindful: teach yourself to live in the moment.
  7. Be kind: share kindness with strangers even when you do not feel like it.
  8. Pursue personal growth: you cannot live a fulfilling life unless you grow as a person.
  9. Get away from bad relationships: only focus on the relationships that matter; not those that drain you.
  10. Be with people you admire, you will become like the people you surround yourself with.
  11. Routine phone calls: set a regular reminder to call your loved ones.
  12. Something new once a month: if you are trying to be closer to someone (spouse or friend), find a new activity to do together every month.
  13. Volunteer together: volunteer with your loved ones regularly.
  14. Deep, vulnerable conversations: being vulnerable builds trust and deepens relationships.
  15. Do not talk about yourself for one evening: this will help you learn more about someone else.
  16. Do something scary: try doing something that you fear.
  17. Take a risk: this could mean starting a business.
  18. Personal development books: these books teach you so much about yourself and the world.
  19. Get more responsibility: ask your boss for greater responsibilities.
  20. Find a mentor: mentorship is powerful, and you will get to higher levels.
  21. Mentor someone: you will learn so much as you teach.
  22. Embrace failure: take failures as an opportunity to learn.
  23. Know yourself: what are your weaknesses, strengths and personality type?
  24. Discover your dreams: set time to imagine your future and do not hold back.
  25. Define your values: know what matters and focus on that.
  26. Be authentic: be true to yourself every day.
  27. Try new things: explore and seek excitement.
  28. Pursue your dream career: apply tirelessly for your dream job.
  29. Defend your dream: do not take your eyes off your goals. Say “no” if you must.

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