Motivational Monday 3/20
8 week “Life Work” Series (week #7)
We all want to live a life of meaning, joy, and fulfillment. But let’s be honest… it’s not easy!
Finding our passions, defining our purpose, and balancing all the many aspects of a complete and rich life… this stuff takes work!
Living a life that has some kind of meaning is one of the most widely held goals in existence — something by which we motivate and measure ourselves.
While there is no single answer, research has shown that there are several factors that influence our ability to find satisfaction and meaning in life.
Here then are a few pointers:
~ Figure out what activities leave you energized. There are other types of activities that make us feel alive. These are activities that we look forward to, that we focus on completely, and finish having more energy than when we started. These are also the activities that we give our best energy to and that we try to make the highest quality.
- Energizing activities are often our hobbies, like working on machines, collecting items, writing, gardening, cooking, and so on.
- The important thing to remember about these activities is that they require movement on our part—it does not mean watching TV or other screen-watching.
~ Determine what activities leave you feeling neutral. Some activities we engage in because they don’t require us to do anything, like sitting and watching TV. These activities don’t drain us, but they don’t energize us either. If your life is predominantly full of draining activities, you look forward to these neutral activities so that you don’t have to do anything else.
- Neutral activities can also include surfing the internet, playing games on your smart phone, and other activities that involve watching screens.
- These activities don’t require brainpower, but they don’t leave you feeling refreshed.
~ Decide what activities drain you. In order for life to have meaning, it needs to have purpose. Take a look at the activities that you engage in on a daily basis and evaluate how many of those activities make you feel worn out after you finish them. These are also the activities that you dread doing, having to give yourself a pep talk to get going.
- These activities are also ones that you find yourself rushing through and not caring as much about how well you do them.
- For example, if you hate your job, each shift can be considered a draining activity.
~ Decide if your career lines up with this plan. You are probably already thinking about your job and whether or not you should keep it if it is a draining activity. The choice is up to you. You have to take stock of things, like how much your family suffers because of your attitude toward work, and if you would be able to find another source of income if you quit.
- For example, if you have a family who is tired of watching you come home every day without any energy, you may want to think about getting a different, less draining job; cutting back your hours instead of quitting; or finding a new source of income altogether, like starting your own business selling the product you make (or the service you perform) with your energizing activity.
- You can also consider going back to school while you still have your old job if you feel that a different career would make your life more purposeful and meaningful.
- The important thing, though, is to find a balance among energizing, neutral, and draining activities.
~ Be willing to explore new pursuits. Being open-minded about trying new things is also important when considering how much of your life is purposeful and meaningful. Trying something that you have never tried before is the perfect way to discover energizing activities. Doing so can also help you discover a purposeful existence.
- You can try new activities that are easy to learn about on your own through the internet, like blogging, cooking, and gardening.
- You can also find an expert in your area who is willing to teach you how to do something new, such as taking pilot lessons or signing up for a community art class.
~ Do For Others It’s no great secret that giving to others improves our own feelings of purpose and meaning. Giving can take many forms, of course: donating our time, or our talents — or simply lending a friendly ear.
Helping others seems to be strongly correlated with increased life satisfaction. Lending a helping hand can provide a sense of purpose for us, young and old.
One fascinating aspect of working for the benefit of others is that helping others improves both physical and mental health. In fact, studies show that involvement in community service activities is linked to living longer.