I figured, if I’m going to have a blog saying it’s going to help you live a fulfilling life, I should probably define what I think a fulfilling life is. Obviously, it looks different for everyone, but no one really defines it, other than it being an “awesome feeling.”
Here’s my definition of a fulfilling life: a life where you have sustainable happiness fueled by the activities and people you love.
Let me break this down for you:
1. Sustainable happiness - By this I don’t mean remembering how happy you were three days ago when something great happened to you. Sustainable happiness is easily finding happiness within yourself. For me, sustainable happiness is created by the things I choose to do. On a more abstract level of reflection this means meditating, while on a more tangible level this means making things with my hands, which leads me to the next part…
2. The activities you love - Doing things you like to do makes you happy. Simple! This doesn’t even have to be on a large scale like the job or career you have, it can be something little, like a hobby, that you do simply because it makes you happy.
I have a few different levels of this in my own life: the simplest is my hobby, which is training with my dog to do agility with me. While I’m not looking to make a career out of it or be in national competitions, I go to class every week with my dog simply because it makes me and my dog happy and I have fun.
The next level of something I like to do is making things with my hands, which is my side business, Vulture Gear. I’ve always liked working with my hands and sewing books and hats is something I like to do enough that I wanted to make a business out of it so I could make lots of products by hand. It’s of course a challenge, but I wouldn’t do it if I didn’t enjoy the production end of it.
Finally, it’s surprising, but I actually enjoy my job! I’ve been lucky enough to get a full time job I like and really guided it into something I love. I know this is hard for a lot of people, so for a small step, try to find just one small activity you can enjoy in your job. It doesn’t have to make your whole day, but it should make you enjoy your task just for a little bit, at the very least. It could even just be enjoying a conversation with your favorite coworker. So here’s the last part of the equation:
3. The people you love - To get a little sciency, multiple studies have found that strong relationships and social connections are the strongest predictors of life satisfaction and overall happiness. Simply put, you need to have some friends and relationships to be happy.
Don’t forget to not only seek social connection, give that support back to others. It’s seriously as easy as sending a quick text to someone you know praising or thanking them. If you make that a habit, sending an encouraging text every week or even every day, it dramatically increases your connection to the people you love and therefore your happiness.
There you have it, the three things I believe lead you to a fulfilling life. Try to break them down for yourself and figure out what you can add to your life. Instead of starting from a blank sheet of paper, I’ve made an awesome download I think you’ll really like. Just click the button below to go to the Resources page to download it. Let me know what you think at firstname.lastname@example.org