Many of us experience long stretches of time when doing things seem empty and pointless. We are at a job for eight hours or more a day and then we come home feeling too tired to do much of anything. We sit and watch endless sitcoms and reality shows on TV or scroll through our social media feeds. The most excitement we have is a vacation once a year and possibly a holiday week at the end of the year.
Is that really living?
It’s certainly not thriving! And life should be about thriving, not just surviving.
When we reach this point we have lost touch with the things that give our lives meaning. The things that bring us joy and happiness and help us to feel good about the future.
Here are four simple changes you can do, right now, that will give you more meaning and fulfillment in your life:
1. Learn Something New
Always be learning. Our minds crave new information and it grows or diminishes, depending on what we feed it. If we challenge our minds by learning something new – a language, a skill, a concept – it affects how we feel about ourselves and what’s happening around us at work and with our friends and family. If we don’t challenge our minds, we don’t grow and we become set in our ways and uninterested in what’s happening around us.
Challenge yourself to learn a new skill or concept. It can be related to your work, a hobby or just something you thought was interesting.
There are so many free learning sites available that it’s impossible for you to not find something to learn. Here are a few sites to get you started:
Coursera is a website that partners with universities and organizations around the world. This brings a wide variety of topics and perspectives to one searchable database.
Khan Academy offers a useable, well-organized interface. Also curating many courses from around the web, Khan Academy offers impressive depth on many different subjects.
Open Culture Online Courses
Don’t know what you want to learn? Try Open Culture’s listing of free online education courses. The page highlights 1000 lectures, videos, and podcasts from universities around the world.
Meaningful relationships take a bit of effort and purposeful nurturing. The rewards for that effort are more joy and happiness in your life, having someone to share your experiences, challenge, and triumphs with. Friendships are one thing. A truly meaningful relationship goes beyond the people you can often find yourself involved with when you’re part of a group. The people you bring closer are very special and you can trust to have a deep, heart to heart conversation with. If you’ve had someone in your life that you share a lot of memories with, now is the best time to reach out and ask them to join you for a cup of coffee.
When you make the effort you will be rewarded with a rekindled friendship or the start of a new friendship.
Accepting and winning a challenge can bring a lot of meaning to your life. Yes, it can be risky. Then again, this doesn’t mean you must base jump off a cliff in Borneo as your challenge!
Have you ever been in a situation that was truly life and death? Or perhaps that put you in a situation where you were close to accomplishing something truly amazing?
These are the moments that the brain focuses on and the times we truly engage with the world. These are the moments when we learn and when we realize the worth of what we have. It puts things in perspective and creates stories. Don’t shy away from the things that test you!
4.Travel Beyond Your Town, State, Country
Everyone should seek to travel to new places.
This doesn’t mean you must backpack across a mountain range or fly to the Amazon forest. A simple road trip to a small town 100 miles away will do the trick. You’ll experience new sights and possibly meet new people. This is important to having an open mind and growing from your experiences. You can determine later if that town or those people were a positive or negative experience. It’s the experience itself that will help you grow and ultimately will help you to feel more fulfilled.
If you want an adventure, then seek an opportunity to canoe a river, explore a cave, hike through a forest, water ski on the ocean. If you want a learning experience go to your local museums, historical landmarks, or your library.
Whatever you do, do it with the purpose of learning something new. It won’t be long before you feel a bit more positive about your life and after some time you’ll realize that you feel more fulfilled and that your life does have more meaning. Which means you are no longer just surviving but are thriving.