Finding a sense of fulfillment usually comes with a lot of advice about living in the moment, taking time to meditate and drinking kale smoothies but, while these things might give you a sense of virtuousness to lord over your friends, they probably won’t make you feel fulfilled. Why? Because you are acting out a part, not being who you are or pursuing your dreams.
It takes real confidence to look at the world square on and decide what you really want. We are all pushed in different directions all the time. Balancing all the different areas of your life is like trying to pat your head, rub your tummy and recite the alphabet backward all at the same time. But that doesn’t mean you couldn’t do with reassessing your priorities.
If you are drifting through life and wondering what’s happened to you, here are 5 ways to give yourself a sense of purpose and find that elusive ‘fulfillment’.
Life is all about learning and whether you are taking up a new craft, discovering a new culture or taking a more formal and academic route, learning something every day will give you a sense of direction. Opening your mind to learning opportunities is definitely a habit. But, once you start looking and questioning what’s around you, you will certainly feel more grounded and have a better idea of what will improve your own life.
For example, an online bachelors degree in organizational leadership could be just the course you need to fulfill your ambition to get ahead at work but it will also be a good chance to make new friends, open up new opportunities and have fun being a student. Formal qualifications like this are usually a good investment as they enhance your CV and give you the skills and work ethic you need to survive in business.
But education isn’t just about the formal stuff. Putting aside a part of your budget for fun learning is a great way to invest in yourself and create that sense of fulfillment. There are so many afternoon and evening classes you can take from learning to knit to creative writing, karate to hula hooping and gardening to tree hugging. No matter how silly it seems, if it sparks your interest, give it a go!
Education and creativity go hand in hand. The more you explore and discover, the more connections you will make and the more creative you will become in expressing and understanding your thoughts about the world. But creativity isn’t just about drawing. Creativity is “the ability to transcend traditional ways of thinking or acting, and to develop new and original ideas, methods or objects.”
How you express your creativity really comes down to your skills and your interests. For example, you might be a wonderful writer but you could find real creative satisfaction in learning how to sew or bake or build. Learning new ways to develop your creativity is just as important as coming to terms with what you are trying to express in the first place.
Even if you have no plans to share your creative works with others, you can achieve a sense of fulfillment from finding a way to understand or explore some of the most important questions you have about life. It’s no coincidence that so many artists are obsessed with the fundamental questions (Who am I? Why am I here? What’s life about?) – one of art’s main functions is to explore possible answers that conventional means simply won’t address.
Family and Friends
In the end, the thing that will count for most in your life won’t be how much money you made or the awesome car you drove or even the things you did and the places you saw. Life is all about the people you meet, the friends you make and the family you love. While you are worrying about finding happiness in objects and experiences, the people around you probably aren’t getting all the attention they deserve.
Your family and friends are the most important people in your life. These are the people who can tell you honestly that your outfit isn’t working without upsetting you as well as the people who can help you succeed and be the very best version of yourself. In other words, your friends and family are the people who make you look good, feel great and fill you with love every single day.
For all that we have a million and one ways to connect with other people, getting time together in person is somehow more difficult. Actually talking to another person directly feels quite weird now, an idea confirmed by a Fast Company headline: A Shocking Number of People Still Use Their Phone Primarily To Make Actual Phone Calls.
Taking time to actually connect with your friends and family by eating together, meeting up to do activities or just sitting in the same room for a few minutes is an essential part of life. While you might not gain anything tangible to show from your relationships, you will gain a sense of love and fulfillment. And there is nothing as special as that.
Work is a big part of life for most people. In fact, one of the first questions we tend to ask each other is “what do you do?” However, work can also be incredibly stressful and more and more people are finding that the demands of the job keep going up while their sense of satisfaction is going down. If your career is stressing you out, it’s probably having a knock-on effect for the rest of your time and that is a big problem.
Changing your career at any stage of life is always going to be tough but this shouldn’t put you off. If you are stressed out and frustrated, change is going to help break the mold and give you an opportunity to do something you really love. The modern world really does offer a wealth of different career options so even if you want to stay in your pajamas and only work in the afternoon, there’s definitely a job out there for you.
One of the main issues people face at work is finding a work/ life balance. Fitting in your creative passions, educational pursuits and family and friends can quickly feel impossible when you are working all the time and feel exhausted at the weekend. There’s no easy answer here but just keep in mind that if you are looking for a sense of fulfillment, you may need to reassess other areas of your life. Taking the leap from an average job that’s okay to an amazing job is a big step but the bravery you need takes time to build up. Start with something simple like writing out your CV and go from there.
It’s so basic and yet it’s so easy to forget: you need to have fun! Having fun is really personal to you but often we forget because we are too tired to make an effort, too constrained by routine and lacking in imagination. A great example is watching TV in the evening – is this really what you want to do or is it just what you usually do?
Just allowing yourself to have fun is a big part of the battle. We are conditioned to believe that everything we do should have a purpose but this isn’t really true, is it? Watching TV doesn’t have a purpose! Give yourself permission to sit and daydream or doodle and draw. Give your imagination a chance to wander and set yourself free from expectations. Fun isn’t about achieving anything but good feelings!
Having fun as a kid is often about being silly and doing things for the sake of doing them. Remember all the time you spent bouncing on the bed or hopping on one foot around the garden? That’s the kind of thing you can continue as an adult! Whistle to yourself, wink at a stranger, make a milkshake with random ingredients from the fridge, watch cat videos on Youtube – there are all kinds of things you can do to have fun.
When you are feeling happy, you are much more likely to feel fulfilled. Life is all about balance. Having time to have fun will boost your mood, as will making time for friends and family. Similarly, exploring your creativity and taking time to learn new skills, either formally or informally, will boost your self-esteem. Finally, balancing your work life and your home life is essential to give you time to be you.
Finding a sense of fulfillment is personal to you. There are many different ways to find your own fulfillment but having the confidence to recognize what is right for you can be tough. If work and learning is everything for you – go for it! If your family is the most important thing, make time for them! If you are all about creativity and fun, express yourself and go wild!
Do what makes you feel fulfilled.