I have everything that the world uses to label me as "successful". My career is going well, I earn well. I have good relationships. And yet I find something is lacking. I keep seeking something I don't know about. I feel I am wasting my precious life. I am more in the space of regret than in the space of fulfilment. What differently can I do to be happy in the NOW? ~VP, Tech
As you walk through life, it's normal to reflect & see how you are doing.
The reflection can also be sparked by the many years you have spent on the planet. Around the half way mark, many people pause and check if they are living a life they want. Some do a little earlier as well.
A well-rounded reflection looks at things that are going well and things that are not.
Sometimes the things that are not going well can give us an illusion of us being a failure - a regret of wasting one's precious life. There could be a some amount of truth in it. More often than not, it's definitely not the whole story, unless someone had an epiphany.
What's interesting is what people do after the realisation.
Some curse themselves, become disillusioned and complain of lack of focus, lack of other's cooperation, destiny etc.
Some others want to use their awareness for future life and change.
They build small changes into their life that they can sustain over time.
These small changes lead to small wins over time.
These small wins shift them from regret to fulfilment.
What's the difference in terms of mindset & actions between these 2 kinds of people?
This is what I have found in coaching partnership of a diverse set of clients across geographies, nationalities, ethnicities on this journey.
Accepting that past is un-changeable
While most of us know intellectually that we can't change the past, we don't accept it fully.
We brood over how it could have been different, the mistakes we made that we shouldn't have made, the opportunities we missed and what not.
We also compare our trajectory with others and think we are falling short.
This concoction creates a vicious circle of "not being enough." that leads to branding oneself as a "failure".
The people who exit this circle are the ones who embody acceptance - of self and of the past. Unless this is done, the future becomes designed for regret.
2. Differentiating Need Vs Greed
The illusion of scarcity comes in when we compare our reality to what our greed is instead of our need.
We may observe we have all that we need and still feel something is missing.
This stems from insatiable greed rather than need. Let greed not hold you at ransom for your fulfilment!
3. Differentiating Direction Vs destination
Sometimes, regret stems from not reaching the destination yet.
As long as you are progressing on the path, there is no place for regret. We are all WIP in the journey of mastery.
The world may take time to catch up with your destination. Be patient and be on the journey.
4. Differentiating Purpose Vs goals.
“This is the true joy in life, being used for a purpose recognized by yourself as a mighty one. Being a force of nature instead of a feverish, selfish little clod of ailments and grievances, complaining that the world will not devote itself to making you happy. I rejoice in life for its own sake. Life is no brief candle to me. It is a sort of splendid torch which I have got hold of for the moment and I want to make it burn as brightly as possible before handing it on to future generations.”
~George Bernard Shaw
An overarching purpose - something bigger than you, that you wish to a part of, a contributor for things that you care deeply about is one of the ways to feel fulfilled.
Goals on the other hand are short terms milestones that you wish to achieve.
While working towards goals - can lead to immediate results that lead to regret or fulfilment, working on a purpose gives you an Earned Life as Marshall Goldsmith calls it in his book by the same name.
Your purpose may come through a cause you care about in this world. It can also come about by connecting to the Universal Source through Spirituality. It doesn't matter what it is as long as it gives you the experience of who you want to be.
5. Differentiating Intention Vs Action
As we all know creation happens twice - one in our head and one outside. While it is easy to play around things in our head, it's hard once to create in the physical world unless there is a corresponding action to the intention that is in our head.
Be courageous enough to act according to your intentions. You never know where you will land - may be that is the place of your fulfilment?
What takes you from regret to fulfilment?
What can you do today to be more fulfilled?