By Robert Kanaat
#1 — Gratitude
Gratitude offers us a platform for fulfillment. It’s easy to want things that we don’t have. In our consumption-driven society, we are always lusting after that shiny new object. But true fulfillment resides in appreciating what you have in the here and now rather than basing your happiness or fulfillment on the attainment of things.
With what we see on television or the Internet in the lives that the rich and famous lead, it’s hard to have gratitude for the small amount of things we might have. But, when you look at the other end of the spectrum, there are people living in complete squalor, under the guise of oppressive regimes, or simply in a state of lack without the basic necessities for life. For that reason, we must appreciate what we have.
Take a moment to count your blessings, so to speak. Rather than thinking about what you want, appreciate what you have. Write it down, in fact. When you write it down, it sends a powerful signal to the subconscious mind. Don’t leave it in the realm of abstract thought. Spend a few minutes every single day doing this and turn it into a daily habit.
What you’ll come to realize over time is that you’ll feel much more fulfilled when you appreciate the things you have. If you’ve ever had something really bad happen to you and wondered why you didn’t appreciate a certain thing before, then you’ll understand where I’m coming from. What we have can be easily taken away in the blink of an eye. So appreciate it today — right now.
This also has very much to do with the element of focus. When you focus on the things that you’re grateful for rather than the things that you’re upset or angry about, your mind has a better chance to push forward towards your dreams through a humble approach that’s steeped in abundance rather than a state of lack. It provides the mental clarity to achieve all your dreams.
#2 — Balance
While pushing towards our goals, it’s easy to lose any sense of balance. Things just seem to fall to the wayside when we’re goal oriented. And, even when we’re not goal oriented, and we allow bad habits to do their slow-creep, the important things in life seem to fail to get our attention.
Whether it’s bad habits that are holding you back, or big goals that are pushing you forward, losing balance is quite easy. Things like family and friends seem to lose our attention when this happens. But there’s absolutely no way to feel fulfilled in life without a sense of balance.
Think about the things that once made you happy in life, and ask yourself why you’re not doing those things anymore. These things don’t have to cost money. I’m talking about taking a walk along a beach during the sunset or having a cup of coffee with a good friend and chatting about your day or your experiences.
If you’re a creative person and you’ve lost that sense of passion for the arts, then you need to reconnect with your creativity. Balance is an important pathway to fulfillment and we often allow things to go forgotten when we’re either too focused on our goals, or immersed in one of life’s many distractions.
Make a list of the things that you love doing but haven’t done in ages. Then, decide, right now, on a schedule where you can make time for those pursuits. Even if you feel like you don’t have the time in your schedule, find 15 minutes where you can do just that. That’s all it takes — just 15 minutes.
#3 — Contribution
There’s a deep and utter sense of fulfillment that comes along with contributing to others. I’m not talking about having to donate money; I’m talking about donating your time, a resource far more precious than money. We can always make more money, but there’s only a limited amount of time that we each have in this world.
In fact, numerous studies have confirmed that money does not buy happiness. However, money, when used to help others, leads to the most fulfillment in life. If you want to feel more fulfilled in life, contribute something to someone else. Use your expertise to help others out there. Not only does this create good karmic energy, but it makes you feel better, internally speaking. It puts your mind at ease knowing that you helped someone else out there who might not have been able to help themselves.
Pick up a good cause and donate your time to it. Whether it’s Habitat for Humanity, The Red Cross, or any other local organization around you, contact them and find out how you can contribute your time. Also, you could always head down to your local homeless or aid shelter to put in some time there as well.
Tony Robbins once said, “Only those who have learned the power of sincere and selfless contribution experience life’s deepest joy: true fulfillment.” It’s also a great way to instill an element of gratitude in your life. When you help and contribute to others, you learn to appreciate what you have rather than what you don’t have or what you want to have.
Like any other behavior, contribution can become habitual. Eventually, over time, your mind can seek out ways to help those around you and you’ll constantly be looking for ways you can give to others in the world. Again, it’s not about money. If you can afford to donate money, great. But donating money is a bit more self-removed. Donate your time, and it will really put you in touch with what you have to be grateful for and fill your heart with fulfillment at the same time.
#4 — Forgiveness
I once battled with an inability to forgive others. As a stubborn person, I often found it hard to see where I was wrong. And if someone crossed me, it was hard for me to go back and forgive them. But the problem with that, or so I found, was that it’s more difficult to live in a state of anger and hate than it is to live in a state of love and forgiveness.
When you refuse to forgive others for things that have happened in the past, it’s one of the surest ways to living the opposite of a fulfilled life. You spend all your mental and emotional energy focused on the anger and hate that you simply forget about the good things that used to exist in that relationship.
Focus is a very powerful thing. It’s the mind’s eye, leading you down the path that you choose to go down. As I said, like attracts like. So, rather than focus your energy on being angry or upset at someone, simply forgive them. I know it’s hard at times, and your forgiveness doesn’t even necessitate a phone call; just a short message saying you forgive that person.
If you don’t want to communicate with them, write it out on a piece of paper and simply save it somewhere. Put yourself in their shoes and think about what you would have done in their situation. Try to find some good out of whatever happened, no matter how small it might be.
#5 — Persistence
Last, but certainly not least, and one of the surest pathways to living a more fulfilled life, is the art of persistence. I once wrote a book on this very topic, so I believe wholeheartedly in staying persistent. Even in the face of negativity and people trying to hold you back, you can be more fulfilled in whatever you do, as long as you don’t give up.