I’ve always been fascinated about outer space and the universe. I love watching sci-fi movies like Apollo 13 or indulge with the most recent Netflix series, AWAY. This weekend, I’ve been contemplating about this topic and how it relates to personal fulfillment. When I see images of earth taken from Moon or from far away in the space, I cherish the beauty of our planet and all the wonders it holds. It also pulls these emotions of vulnerability in me – this idea that our planet is a fraction of tiny speck of dust in comparison to the universe with billions of galaxies and perhaps more, more than what we can ever perceive or comprehend! The beauty and emptiness of space leaves me in awe and continuous contemplation of what life is all about, what’s our purpose in life and most importantly how to lead a fulfilled and meaningful life.
So what does it mean to live a fulfilled life?
The textbook definition of “fulfilled” is to be satisfied or be happy because of fully developing one's abilities or character. The beauty of it is that you get to define what fulfillment means to you whether it’s in your career or personal life. I urge you to pause, close your eyes and think about it. How would you define fulfillment? What does it mean to be content in your perspective? It could be being an expert in your field, being the best parent you can be, serving your community…Whatever that is, the journey starts with defining what that means to you.
Here are 5 ways to pursue fulfillment in life.
Find your frame of reference
When we leave the true comfort of earth and into space, there is no up and down in space. Astronauts navigate using a frame of reference. For example, they may use aircrafts position compared to the Sun as a frame of reference. The beauty of finding fulfillment is that it depends on your frame of reference. Where are you headed? What activities and actions bring you happiness?
Embrace Infinite mindset
Coined by Simon Sinek in the book “Infinite Game”, infinite mindset means that you are continuously striving to be a better version of yourself and there is no such thing as winning (we are in it for the long haul) or being the best. This type of mindset opens up the possibility for us to do so much more. First, it removes this scarcity mindset where we think that there isn’t enough for everyone to share. Second, you can focus truly on yourself and the tangible things you can do to make progress. We can thus avoid the proverbial comparison trap! (Remember, comparison is the thief of joy!)
Pursue depth over breadth
Oftentimes, we are hungry for more and want to pursue many things at a time. While, that is not the worst thing to do, remember that fulfillment comes from pursuing and connecting with depth rather than focusing on too many topics or ideas at a time. How do you do that?- one way is to start with practicing mindfulness. Give your undivided attention and immerse yourself in the activity you are pursuing. Meeting up with friends?- put your cell phone away and really spend some time having meaningful conversation and connections. Working on a passion project? – set time aside and remove any other distractions.
Focus on quality of relationships
I cannot talk about happiness and fulfillment without discussing the longest study done by Harvard on happiness. Check out this TED talk by Robert Waldinger, Harvard Psychiatrist sharing the 3 lessons from this study as it relates to happiness. The gist of this study findings is this: Good relationships and meaningful connections are key to leading a happy and content life. Focus should be on building good close relationships rather than the sheer number of connections. Next time a close friend invites you for a coffee, don’t miss it ☺ Remember, it’s good for your well-being and theirs too!
Be kind and serve
“In a world where you can be anything, be kind.” ~Jennifer Dukes Lee
Kindness is a virtue and when practiced has such a profound impact on our overall well-being. The beauty of it is that it’s so simple to practice. Being kind with no expectation of reward from it is such a wonderful gift you can give to yourself and the world. Combine that with an attitude of serving others in everything you do, there is no limit to the fulfillment and abundance you feel from it!
Next time you look at the deep, dark sky and begin to wonder about the limitless universe, I hope you then contemplate on “What fulfillment means to you?”