Now that we have established the vast difference between seeking happiness vs seeking fulfilment in our lives, it is time to identify what it is that will bring each of us a sense of fulfilment.
As an observer of human behaviour I’m amazed at how the journey of life is experienced in so many different ways by so many different people, often regardless of the circumstances that people find themselves in.
In our day to day lives we encounter many different individuals, each with varying approaches to life. At one extreme, there are those who enjoy a life consistently rich in colour, abundance and fulfilment, yet on the other end of the spectrum there are those who seem to endure a life littered with setbacks, scarcity and misery.
The most interesting factor of these varying encounters is that in fact, in the western world we all live in relatively affluent conditions so why and how is it that such contrast exist?
To put it simply, it all comes down to perception. Each of us reside in our own “individual world” which is largely determined by how we choose to perceive it. I am sure at some point in time you have known people living in seemingly identical situations, yet their perception and personal experience of their circumstances may differ drastically. It is all based on how they perceive the situation.
The perceptions and associated meanings we attribute to the “stuff” that we experience in our lives is very much driven by the sets of values and beliefs which have been refined over our lifetime.
This collective set of values, beliefs and the meaning that each of us use to navigate the world pre-determines our mindset, which is presented to the outside world as our attitude.
For example, if you have learned and nurtured a belief that “life wasn’t meant to be easy” or that “you are not worthy of success” then life will be experienced much differently to someone who believes that “life is an exciting journey of achievement” where “I was born to succeed”.
This could also be an example of our previous observation that various people with similar circumstances may carry vastly varying attitudes, approaches and experiences.
For those of you carrying the “can do-will do” attitude, you will understand it is possible to use the significant and personal resources at your disposal to achieve outcomes you desire. For those of you who may not be nurturing this attitude, it is important to note that our attitudes and perceptions are always able to change and be re-wired.
Once we work towards gaining alignment in life between our talents, our passions and our goals, a deep sense of fulfilment is more easily achieved.
It’s important to note that it’s not necessarily the achievement of a goal that delivers us fulfilment, but rather the sense of progress towards purposeful goals.
So the first step? Working towards building a “can do-will do” attitude and observe the immediate differences in your perceptions of daily experiences.
I’d like to leave you with a simple exercise to execute which involves auditing your feelings. Many of us go about day to day life without actually being present with ourselves, our mind and the thoughts and feelings we are experiencing. We cannot take the first step to changing these beliefs and feelings if we are not fully aware of what they are and what thoughts drive them.
Step 1 exercise: Audit your feelings
Tune in to what you’re telling yourself when you are feeling any type of negative feeling (“I’m not smart enough”, “This is boring” etc)
Identify what you’re thinking of when you’re feeling good (“This is fun”, “I feel important” etc)
Document what your observations over the course of a 7 day period