Keys to Leading a Happy and Fullfilled Life


September 5, 2011   •   Fact checked by Dumb Little Man

Some of you may believe that if you just had more money, or a better job, or another degree, or some other external “thing” that life would be better. Like there is a nagging feeling that you shouldn’t have to be dissatisfied with your life- that you don’t have to just ‘put up with it’

Maybe you don’t know what to do to make your life more fulfilled, or don’t know where to start. But if you did, you’d be able to confirm those nagging feelings. It may even seem sometimes like there’s simply nothing you can do. You hope and dream of living a fulfilled life, but it still feels as if it is simply out of your hands.

But living a fulfilled life doesn’t have to work that way. Not only is it possible to live a fulfilled life, but the more you work at it, the easier it becomes.

How? By cultivating these 8 keys to living a fulfilled life.

  1. Passion

“We may affirm absolutely that nothing great in the world has been accomplished without passion.” -Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel

Everyone has the capacity to be passionate about something, even if you feel like being passionate is “not your thing.” When you are passionate about something, you have a great drive and devotion to it. You passion reflects your interests, it’s what gets you excited, and what makes you come alive.

So the first key to living a fulfilled life is to have passion and something to be passionate about. Passion releases a great energy within that propels you toward a fulfilled life.

  • Energy

“And what is a man without energy? Nothing – nothing at all.” -Mark Twain

Oftentimes when we are passionate about something, energy flows freely. So it’s natural for them to go together. But it is also important to cultivate energy as a habit every day.

In David Hawkins’ book, Power vs. Force: The Hidden Determinants of Human Behavior, he describes energy as being on a map of consciousness where low energy levels manifest themselves as emotions like shame, guilt, and fear, and high energy levels manifest as love, courage, and acceptance.

More importantly, he mentions that positive jumps in energy are possible through choice. Here are three tips you can use right now to start cultivating more energy:

    • Meditate- Many spiritual disciplines of the world are interested in meditation, and for good reason. Meditation can be very useful for cultivating that daily energy you need. 
  • Act like you have more energy Jump, run, or smile like crazy. You might be surprised at the positive effects it has. It’s sure to give you a boost. 
  • Take a power nap Set a timer for 20 minutes, close your eyes, and get comfortable. Even if you don’t fall asleep right away, it just might be the rest you need. Try it, it works. 
  • Drive

    “A man can be as great as he wants to be. If you believe in yourself and have the courage, the determination, the dedication, …it can be done.” -Vince Lombardi

    Drive and determination mean a lot when it comes to living a fulfilled life. So if you’re going to accomplish something, you’re going to need to spend some time cultivating your drive.

    The good news, is that drive also works hand in hand with passion and energy. Once you start focusing on it, it becomes easier to do the same for others. So take a minute to think about what drives you. What lights you up and fuels your fire when you feel like nothing else does? Tap into that energy. It may be the only thing that keeps you going when you need it most. 

  • Resilience

“Our greatest glory is not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall.” – Confucius

Resilience is indispensable for living a fulfilled life.

Perhaps one of the most famous examples of resilience is Thomas Edison’s invention of the incandescent electric light and a lighting system that make it safe and practical for home use. Even more impressive was the fact that he had to invent seven new elements to make it work.

Essentially, through thousands of failures came a very big success. Nearly nothing great is achieved without failing at something along the way. And if you give up, you’ll never know what great things might have happened.

  • Curiosity

“I have no special talent. I am only passionately curious.” – Albert Einstein

Curiosity to explore, to discover, and to be open to world propels your life forward. Exploration strengthens curiosity, and curiosity encourages exploration. People who are curious boost attention and interest. New doors are opened.

Just like following your passion, move in the direction your heart pulls you. If you’re not used to allowing your curiosity to lead, start small. It may take time to get used to it. The more you get used to allowing your curiosity to lead you places, the easier it will get. Start today.

  • Optimism 

“Optimism is the faith that leads to achievement. Nothing can be done without hope and confidence.” – Helen Keller.

People with the ‘glass half full’ outlook are able to see things from a fresh perspective. It makes a big difference if you look at obstacles as being a dead end, or an opportunity.

When you have a can-do attitude, so much more is possible.

  • Confidence and Self Esteem 

“Your chances of success in any undertaking can always be measured by your belief in yourself.” – Robert Collier

Believing in yourself and being confident in your abilities can sometimes mean the difference between taking action or doing nothing at all, and can make all the difference.

Here are three ways to quickly boost self confidence:

    • Remember past achievements- Think of it like sailing on the ocean. Instead of looking out into the ocean and thinking of the vast distance you haven’t traveled, look back and see how far you’ve come from the shore. Sometimes we forget the things we achieve and focus on the things we believe we can’t do. By taking a moment to focus on all that you have accomplished you may just get the boost you need. 
  • Practice good posture– Just like how smiling or acting like you have more energy can give you some extra pep and make you feel better, practicing good posture can too. Stand or sit up straight, keep your head up, and make eye-contact while speaking. You’ll not only make a favorable impression on others, you’ll feel much better yourself. 
  • Compliment other people– Have you ever noticed how saying good things about other people make yourself feel better? There isn’t exactly a huge body of scientific evidence for it, so you’ll have to go with your gut. Have you complimented someone today? It’s definitely worth a try. 
  • Balance
    Our lives work together better when things are in balance. Work, sleep, play, everything.The same applies for the 8 keys. For example, having too much curiosity and not enough confidence will probably leave you spinning your wheels and being overwhelmed with the endless things to explore.As the famous saying goes, “everything in moderation.”


What can you do today to start living a more fulfilled life? Share your story in the comments below.

Written on 9/5/2011 by Harley Roxanne. Harley helps individuals dare to succeed and realize their potential at Life Ignite. She invites you to say hello on Twitter. Photo Credit: WhatiMom

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