We are all different, often very different, yet we share a common yearning to live a fulfilling life. It’s one of the things that make’s us human. Everywhere, you hear humans called “social beings.” One of the things that indicates this is we need to find meaning in the things we do—everything we do. In order to get the most out of the things we experience, we intentionally look for purpose as we go through life. The question for each of us as the New Year approaches is what does a fulfilling life look like. Is it one loaded with money and all the stuff you want? Is it one with the best relationships and friends around you? Or is it perhaps one filled with peace and contentment? I have put together some thoughts and tips that should give you some food for thought and perhaps a bit of direction as you consider those questions.
Do you live in the moment?
Our physical self resides in the moment, in the right now, but in our minds, it doesn’t always go that way. You can be physically here as your read these words and have your thoughts drift away to some remembered past event, or far off future. This is common and at times, a good thing, but if taken to an extreme, you lose the connection with the present moment—the now. This loss of connection with the now is one of the reasons that people feel like they’re trapped in the past or scared to death of tomorrow. It is also part of the reason that days feel so short and we are always running out of time. When you live like that it is harder to notice, in the moment, those little things and moments that make up our memories when we look back in time. Your greatest concern should be what is happening now. It has the biggest impact on who you will be tomorrow.
Sheep follow the herd.
Brave people stand up for their own decisions. The world needs more of you. People of principle and determination will fight for what is right because they understand it is the correct thing to do. People all over the world each day do just that. You don’t have to be Winston Churchill, or Mother Teresa. You, too, can make things happen. We each lead different kinds of lives and we all have our own desires and needs. In order to be the best version of our selves (version 1.0 is rarely the best one), we simply must discover where our passions lie and follow that path. This doesn’t mean that you necessarily make a living with your passion, but it means that you never let go of what inspires you to be and do your best. In this, you discover your core purpose and can make you a breath of fresh air in a world of people following the herd.
There are all kinds of success.
In this money focused world, it is all too common to measure success solely on how much money you earn, how fancy your car is, how big your house is, or where you went on vacation. Don’t get me wrong, money is important, yet there is more than one form of success that brings value to life. Success with your family, your health, and work are often better places to look for fulfillment than having a large investment portfolio.
Let obstacles help guide you.
My friends and clients know that I would be the first one to say “let your goals, not your failures guide you.” Yet, I also acknowledge that when “want” gets in the way it can become the way. These things that get in the way from time to time can point us in the right direction. In other words, they are not always things we need to prevail over, but rather, can be our guideposts to the success for which we work daily. You have heard “it’s darkest before the dawn”? Well, great things can happen at turning points, and those difficulties you are dealing with are often the things you find just before you find success. The next time you encounter problems, try using them as a compass to guide you in the direction you need to go to reach the success you desire.
It’s progress, not perfection that’s important.
Progress and perfection are good things. However, one of them breeds fear and failure, while the other grows confidence and positive action. You can surely tell which is which, right?
Yep, that’s right, it really is quite simple. I know you were taught to go for perfect, but perfectionism can be counterproductive and can lead to fear avoidance and failure. When you want to make something “perfect,” you worry about flaws and sometimes delay completing the task at all. What you need to do is be productive, not perfect; make good progress daily and ensure that everything works as you go along. Day by day, making progress, your confidence and skill level will grow, leading to more success, happiness, and fulfillment
So as you look at everything you are planning in the New Year, keep in mind that if you wait for the perfect moment to start, you will be waiting there until the end of time. And that can be a very long and boring wait!
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Frank Hopkins is a life coach in Baton Rouge who is certified as a Professional Coach (CPC) by the Institute for Professional Excellence in Coaching (iPEC). Frank has helped numerous people to go through emotional change in a way that is positively transformative.