The idea of a fulfilling life seems utopian in the current order of the world. In the constant race of getting more, achieving more, feeling more, and just being “more” the essence, slowness, and sweetness of a more fulfilling life get lost. And, unfortunately, more often than not, most of us fail to realize that our lives are just passing by with time while we were drowning ourselves in existential miseries, holding on to grudges, and were trapped in the labyrinth of overthinking. What is the point of suffering – when all we have is one short life with only numbered days?
But what if you were told and asked to believe that your utopia of a fulfilling life does exist and you can experience it in this life itself? Adding to that, what if you were told that the keys to a more fulfilling life have been researched widely by science? And, that these keys to a fulfilling life aren’t ideas borne out of philosophies or religious scriptures but predicted and backed strongly by science are the rules for leading a fulfilling life.
If this is something that interests you, keep reading ahead to find out the possibility of experiencing your utopia.
What is a fulfilling life?
Before diving in to find out the keys to a more fulfilling life, let’s try exploring the answer to what is a fulfilling life? Does it mean that one has to become rich? Does it mean one has to possess all the materialistic things of the world? Or does it mean to live like a sage away from all the worldly pleasures?
In actuality, the term fulfilling life may be defined as “a state of satisfaction, and peacefulness marked by pure bliss and tranquillity.” Now try putting this definition in a variety of contexts.
For instance, a person who has all the materialistic possessions in the world may not be living a fulfilling life if they don’t feel satisfied and peaceful with what they have. Similarly, an engineer with a regular nine to five job may live a fulfilling life, given that their work derives them joy, a sense of blissfulness, and utmost satisfaction. The same can be implied for a sage, or an artist, or a corporate employee.
But here’s a catch: You can make your definition of a fulfilling life. Human beings are the experts of their own lives. They navigate through the labyrinth as per the wisdom gathered through their lived experience. We make sense of our worlds, and we make meanings of the environment around us as per the context wherein we are situated. To explore your own definition of a fulfilling life, follow the questions below, stay curious, and record your answers to paint your own utopia.
1. What does a fulfilling life look like for you?
2. What are the things, people, objects, foods, movies, or other things that are present in this fulfilling life?
3. What are you trying to achieve in this fulfilling life?
4. What are you trying to achieve through this fulfilling life?
5. What does your hope, dreams, and aspirations look like in this fulfilling life?
6. If you were to choose a metaphor, an image, a song, a word, a poem, a movie, anything that captures the essence of this imagined fulfilling life – what would it be?
7. What do you think can be one of the baby steps you may take in your life that will lead you to create your fulfilling life?
Write the answers to these questions in your journal or ponder them upon while meditating and see what comes out of the exercise. Your current life might be your fulfilling life, you might not just be aware of it.
Keys to a fulfilling life
As mentioned above, the psychological sciences have extensively studied the variables that can be marked as the rules of leading a fulfilling life. Listed below are some of those variables that will help you in making your current life as fulfilling as possible.
Considered as one of the highest virtues of life, forgiveness is not easy to inculcate, but once invited into life gently, it stays long. Forgiveness allows you to let go, it allows you to not dwell on the past, it helps you in resisting imagination, it gives you the opportunity of staying in the present. Being forgiving allows you to foster and nurture supportive relationships in life, relationships that help you grow into a better person.
In the end, all humans need a little bit of humanity.
One of the most cherished and celebrated keys to a more fulfilling life is the practice of gratitude. Gratitude is the selfless act of being thankful for the good done to you. Gratitude, in its essence, means to be thankful for the gift of life.
Gratitude and life satisfaction are positively correlated. It increases a person’s subjective well-being.
Here’s a tip: To inculcate the practice of gratitude, try listing down three things that you are grateful for in the morning after you wake up. Or try listing down three-five things that you are grateful that happened during the day before going to sleep. Practice regularly.
Inviting kindness in your life would be one of the easiest things to do, only if you try. Research studies have shown that being kind decreases your chances of developing anxiety, depression while decreasing your levels of stress.
It increases your happiness quotient. It is positively correlated with life satisfaction and indeed makes your life blissful.
For starters, try doing one act of kindness every day. Something as simple as complimenting somebody, or helping your mom in the kitchen count as little and big ways of being kind. Meanwhile, do not forget to be kind to yourself.
Lifehack: Always try being twenty percent kinder in any and all situations.
One of the most under-estimated keys to a more fulfilling life is nothing but humor. People having a sense of humor are believed to overcome distressing situations sooner. They are found to be more resilient in the face of danger and their stress levels are lesser as compared to other people.
Laughing on one’s mistakes, or sometimes at the sweet nothingness of life is one of the most important rules of living a fulfilling life.
A fulfilling life is not created in a day. There are little moments of everyday living when woven together build the fabric of a blissful, tranquil, and fulfilling life. Deep breaths and baby steps are your way up the constellations to reach this utopia.