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Secrets to a (fairly) fulfilled life

https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2020/sep/04/oliver-burkemans-last-column-the-eight-secrets-to-a-fairly-fulfilled-life

theguardian.com

Secrets to a (fairly) fulfilled life
After more than a decade of writing life-changing advice, I know when to move on. Here’s what else I learned

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There will always be too much to do

There will always be too much to do

The demands on our time continue to increase, but our capacities remain mostly fixed. In an attempt to get on top of everything, we'll generate more tasks.

The upside is that you don't have to feel guilty for failing to do it all, since doing it all is impossible. A good solution is to consciously choose what to neglect, in favour of what matters most.

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Choose growth over happiness

Major personal decisions should be made not by asking if it will make you happy, but if this choice will enlarge or diminish you.

We are not good at predicting what will make us happy - it makes us concentrate on our narrow preferences for security and control. Focusing on enlargement questions draws out a more in-depth, intuitive response. You tend to know whether choosing to do something may bring short-term comfort that would prevent growth.

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Being able to tolerate minor discomfort

You may already know it won't kill you to endure the mild discomfort of starting a difficult conversation with a colleague or asking someone out. You know that it's possible to let that feeling rise and fade while doing the action anyway.

The rewards come so swiftly that this becomes a more appealing way to live.

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The advice you avoid is the advice you need

It's not comfortable to confront emotional experiences you're trying to avoid.

However, doing so is what you need. Gratitude journals, mindfulness meditation, seeing a therapist might be worth pursuing.

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The future will never be certain

Much of our troubles arise from trying to control what is not in our control - such as the future. We want to know that things will work out later on. But we never can.

It's liberating to understand that no amount of worry will ever change this truth. A plan is only a statement of intent, not a guarantee that the future will obey your plan. This means not living each day, bracing yourself to see if things will work out as you desired.

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The solution to imposter syndrome

It is useful to remember that everyone is just winging it all the time. The lesson to be drawn is not that this will throw us in utter chaos, but that you, unconfident, self-conscious, potentially have as much to contribute to your field as anyone else.

You can improvise as you go, just like everyone else.

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Selflessness is overrated

Spending your life helping others is a life well spent. While this is generally true, it gets tangled up with issues of guilt and self-esteem.

If you think you should be helping more, you are probably better of doing something you're passionate about. That way, you kindle a fire that others can benefit from.

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Know when to give up and move on

We should know when to stop doing something that's reached its natural endpoint, even if it means a great deal to us.

We need to understand that the most creative choice would be to see what's next.

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Finding Motivation

... to develop self-discipline:

  • Start taking small actions to make things better
  • Do the things that hurt you less
  • Push yourself into discomfort a little bit, so you can g...

Other Types of Motivation

  • Wanting to help others: If you get better at not procrastinating on your life’s work, for example, you can help more people with that meaningful work.
  • Appreciating life: We have a short time on Earth, and the life we have is a gift. When we procrastinate and give in to endless distraction, and don’t make the most of our time, we are not fully appreciating the gift we have.

Small Actions

One of the most important things you can do to get better at self-discipline is to take small actions.

It can seem overwhelming to start big, intimidating projects. Instead, start with easy actions, things so small you can’t say no.

4 more ideas

Nobody sleeps the whole night through

Nobody sleeps the whole night through

This is a common misconception.

Also, waking up a few times per night is not necessarily a cause for concern. The most important thing is how you feel when you get up: refreshed, ready ...

Why we wake up during the night

We wake up at night for many various reasons. Some of them are:

  1. Having a nightmare
  2. Distracting loud noises
  3. Sleep apnoea
  4. Nocturia (excessive nighttime urination).

However, it is important to let your practitioner know your sleeping habits so that they may analyse whether you have an underlying medical condition.

Food and drinks that affect your sleep

  • Food and drinks that are bad for your sleep: Alcohol, caffeine, sugary-food (chocolate, gummy bears, etc.), spicy and acidic food (jalapeno poppers, spicy Cheetos etc.)
  • Pro-sleep food and drinks: Wholegrain cereal and milk, toast with peanut butter, nuts, seeds, and healthy fats.

A Life Lived Passionately

Stop the conscious searching of your passion and just live passionately.

Trying to find a passion is often a fruitless exercise, though it is heavily advised in many books and articles...

Being in The Now

Living passionately means living in the now, in the present moment. 

It means not being distracted on your phone, but being engaged in what you love doing. It means interacting with others deeply and fully, giving all your attention and focus.

A Learning Machine

An example of being holistically passionate in your life is the habit of constantly learning, absorbing as much as you can.