5 simple steps for a fulfilling and rewarding life
NOTE: This article is a continuation of the four foundation articles found here:
If you haven’t read these articles, you should do it now as this article will make much more sense. But it’s your life and your choice and you’re free to do whatever you want.
A Dummies Guide to a Fulfilling and Rewarding Life
Let me make this simple for you. REALLY simple. In fact, so suspiciously simple that you’re going to wonder how you ever missed it and how you managed to make your so life frustrating and complex to begin with.
If you’re reading this site, I’m going to guess that there’s something not quite right with your life.
- Maybe you feel a little lost despite sticking doggedly to your parents instructions for a good life…
- Maybe your days leave you feeling empty and drained, despite how many supposedly exciting activities you fill them with…
- Maybe you feel a bit alone regardless of how many people ‘like’ your Facebook status updates…
- Maybe you feel a little trapped by your life, despite living in a country that prides itself on how free it is…
If you do, that’s all OK. You’re not the first and you’re not alone.
Despite what you might think, there are millions of people all around the world, just like you, who’re going through the same thing. And today, you’re going to learn not only why you feel like that, but also how to deal with it so that any time you start to feel a little off-track, you can bring yourself back on-track again.
All you need to do is answer the following 5 questions…
1. What is your current experience of life?
The first step in being able to move forward is always working out where you are, right now. You might think you have a good idea of your current life situation (let’s be honest: you are living it every day), but there’s is only one part that we’re really interested in and you might not be 100% aware of it just yet.
The part that’s really important is: your experience of life.
Your experience, in the way we define the word in Vedanism, is the bodily sensations created by your perception of yourself in relation to your surrounding environment.
That’s just a big and technical way of saying your experience is how you feel based on how you think you can interact with the world around you.
Do you see yourself as being connected to the world around you – people, events, stories, news – or do you feel separate and isolated from the world around you? What bodily sensation do you experience when you think about this?
Do you see yourself as being in control and being able to direct your own course through life or is your direction subject to the forces of the world around you? What bodily sensation do you experience when you think about this?
Do you see yourself as being free to do what you want to do or do you feel restricted and trapped by the world around you? What bodily sensation do you experience when you think about this?
That’s all we mean by your ‘experience’ – the bodily sensations created by your perception of your relationship to the world around you.
So, what’s your current experience of life?
Some words that are commonly used to describe experiences are:
- Powerful / powerless
- Connected / isolated or alone
- Free / trapped or restricted
- Fulfilled / empty
- In control / out of control
These aren’t necessarily the ‘right’ words to use to describe your experience. They’re just words that other people have found helpful. Feel free to use any words you want to describe your experience.
You’ll notice that this list doesn’t contain any words that are typically used to describe emotions, such as happy, angry, sad, excited, etc… Whilst emotions are also bodily sensations in the same way that experiences are, they’re viewed very differently in Vedanism.
In Vedanism, emotions are seen as bodily sensations created by one-off events whereas experiences are bodily sensations created by your overall perception of your relationship to your environment.
Emotions are small scale and are easily manipulated. Experiences are bigger picture and give a much clearer window into the current state of your life.
So, how you do perceive yourself in relationship to your environment and what bodily sensation does that give you?
2. What do you want your experience to be?
This step is simple if you complete the first step because the experience you desire is usually the opposite of what you’re currently experiencing.
Do you currently feel powerless? Then there’s a better than even chance that you want to feel powerful.
Do you feel isolated? Then there’s a better than even chance that you want to feel connected.
Do you currently feel empty? Then there’s a good chance you want to feel fulfilment.
BUT, and this is important, it’s not good enough to just look at what you wrote down and work out what the opposite of that experience is. This is just a guide and it can be wrong. You MUST check in with your body and work out what you really desire.
The simple way to do this is to imagine yourself doing something that would allow you to have particular experience you think you might desire and see how your body reacts to that.
If you feel powerless, imagine yourself doing something that you would normally make you feel really powerful and see if that feels satisfying to you. You might find that it does and that’s great. You also might find that it doesn’t and you need to look elsewhere.
If it doesn’t feel satisfying to you then imagine yourself connecting deeply with someone, then imagine yourself being completely free, then imagine yourself doing something exciting and challenging, then imagine yourself sitting in a warm bath surrounded by candles.
Keep going until you find something that your body resonates with and that’s when you’ll have your answer.
So, what do you want your experience of life to be?
3. How are you currently trying to bridge the gap?
Now we get to the important stuff.
You might not be aware of this, but on some conscious or unconscious level, you’ve already been trying to bridge the gap between your current experience and your desired experience.
If you’re not consciously aware of this, this might seem strange, but there are mechanisms at going on in the background of your life without you even being aware of them that instinctively know everything you’ve read here so far.
They were active when got to work 2 weeks ago, they were active when you woke up this morning, they’ve brought you to this website, and they’re even running right now as you’re reading this. You’re ALWAYS trying to move towards your desired experience whether you know it or not.
So, how have you been trying to bridge the gap between your current experience and your desired experience?
What actions have you been taking or what actions have you been avoiding?
Have you been avoiding hard tasks to make your life feel easy and stress free?
Have you been blaming others for your frustration to feel powerful and in control?
Have you been changing yourself to meet other peoples standards to feel part of the group?
Have you been attempting to get permission from other people so you can start taking the actions you want to take?
Have you been trying to put others down so you can feel above them?
Have you been planing and scheming to get a temporary hit of feeling powerful that lasts until you realise you don’t have the courage to take action?
How have you been trying to bridge the gap between your current experience and your desired experience? What is the pathway you’ve been following from point A (your current experience) to point B (your desired experience)?
As you’re asking yourself these questions, it’s important to focus on the motivation behind your actions or inactions, rather than on the action or inaction itself as the action or inaction itself doesn’t tell you anything about the pathway you’ve been using to bridge the gap.
You can avoid tasks because they’re not relevant to you getting where you want to go or because they just feel like hard work and you’re sick and tired of hard work or because you’re afraid of what might happen if you start them.
All three are very different reasons and all three say something very different about the pathway you’re following.
So, how have you been trying to bridge the gap?
NOTE: In Vedanism, these three parts of point A, point B, and the pathway you’ve been using to bridge the gap is called your Script. It’s the basic mechanism we use to analyse the frustrations and difficulties in your life and how those frustrations and difficulties can be dealt with.
4. Is this pathway for bridging the gap working for you?
This is simple: Is your current way of bridging the gap between your current experience and your desired experience working for you?
Do you feel fulfilled, happy, connected, free, and powerful in every moment or do you experience frustration, isolation, powerlessness or feel trapped more often than not?
I don’t know you and we’ve never met before but I’m guessing that if you’re reading this article, there’s a better than even chance that there’s some frustration or emptiness in your life that you want to deal with meaning that your current pathway isn’t working for you.
So, is that pathway working for you?
5. How can you bridge the gap in a way that puts you in control?
If it’s not working for you, then there’s obviously a problem that needs to be fixed. The problem isn’t your current experience of life or your desired experience, it’s how you’re trying to bridge the gap between the two.
Pathways more towards the Dependence end of the spectrum are the ones that are more dependent on elements outside your control for you to experience what you want.
Pathways towards the Independence end of the spectrum are the ones that allow you to experience what you desire that rely less on elements that are out of control and more on elements you have complete control over.
In 99% of cases, the problem you face originate from the fact that you’ve been following a pathway to bridge the gap that is too reliant on elements outside your control.
You’ve been relying on people saying or doing something you want them to do or you’ve been relying on specific outcomes that you cannot guarantee or you’ve been waiting for someone to give you the permission that you haven’t given yourself or some other element that you don’t control.
As you can’t control what other people do or say or how much permission they give you or the outcome of a particular event, the chance of experiencing what you want is low and you’re reasonably powerless to change it.
To eliminate your frustration, you have two options:
1. You can get better at controlling external elements such as people and outcomes
2. You can change to a more independent pathway so that it doesn’t matter how good you are at controlling external elements
Which one sounds like a better solution to you?
So, your goal now is to find a way to bridge the gap between your current experience of life and your desired experience of life that puts you more in control.
Not having much luck trying to control other people so you can feel powerful? Maybe try pushing through your personal limitations and boundaries in a way that takes you closer to the life you want to live and see how that works for you.
Is pretending to be someone you’re not so you get accepted into the group leaving you feeling empty and alone despite the amount of people you’re surrounded by? Maybe try opening up and sharing the deep and personal parts of your life with other like-minded people and see how that leaves you feeling.
Is trying to get permission from people around you before you finally take the action you want to starting to feel like banging your head up against a brick wall? Maybe try giving yourself the permission you’ve been looking for and doing what you want anyway and see how much freer you feel.
Try to find a way you can have your desired experience that is less reliant on elements outside your control and more reliant on what you do and how you live your life.
So, how can you bridge that gap in a way that puts you in control?
Ok, so you’ve been through a lot of information and it can get a little confusing. So here’s a quick breakdown for you to work through:
- What is your current experience?
- What do you want your experience to be?
- How are you currently trying to bridge the gap?
- Is that working for you?
- What’s a way you can try and bridge the gap in a way that puts you in control?
It really is that simple. That’s all there is to it.
- Do you feel powerless? Do you want to feel powerful? How are you currently trying to bridge the gap? Is that working for you? How can you bridge the gap in a way that puts you in control?
- Do you feel isolated? Do you want to feel connected? How are you currently trying to bridge the gap? Is that working for you? How can you bridge the gap in a way that puts you in control?
- Do you feel trapped? Do you want to feel free? How are you currently trying to bridge the gap? Is that working for you? How can you bridge the gap in a way that puts you in control?
- Do you feel empty? Do you want to feel fulfilled? How are you currently trying to bridge the gap? Is that working for you? How can you bridge the gap in a way that puts you in control?
- Do you feel bored? Do you want to feel excited? How are you currently trying to bridge the gap? Is that working for you? How can you bridge the gap in a way that puts you in control?
It’s really simple. I’s really straight forward. That’s all you need.
Whenever you feel lost or confused, stop and work through these questions. Whenever you feel alone and isolated, stop and work through these questions. Whenever you feel powerless or weak, stop and work through these questions. Whenever you’re in a situation that doesn’t quite feel right, stop and work through these questions.
When you do, you’ll see that life is far simpler than you thought it ever could be.
Frequently Asked Question
This section, more than any other, gets lots of questions. I’ll answer them below in as much detail as possible.
“But that sounds scaaary!”
You know what? When changing pathways, you will experience some kind of resistance and fear. Why? Because you’re doing something new and different. It’s pretty safe to say that most people experience fear when venturing into the unknown.
But here’s something to keep in mind: Everything you’ve ever looked for lies on the other side of fear.
Every bit of fulfilment, happiness, freedom, connection, control, power, excitement, challenge, and anything else you’re looking for is only really accessible by stepping through fear.
I know that sounds terrible, especially if you’re not used to stepping towards fear, but the good news is that once you start to experience what you’re looking for on the other side of fear, you’ll start to look forward to being scared. It’ll show you exactly where you have a chance to grow and experience more of what you’ve been looking for.
The important part when facing your fear is to take it step by step. Find an action or activity that puts the control in your hands that is slightly scary, but still doable. Keep doing that until it’s not scary (and therefore, not as rewarding) and then find a new activity or action that puts the control back in your hands that’s scary but doable.
Keep going until you’re doing things that you never thought were possible 🙂
“But you’ll always be Dependent on people for some things!”
If you want to exist in a developed, western society surrounded by people, then yes, you will most likely always be dependent people for some stuff: food, water, electricity, etc… But nowhere in any of these pages will you read anything stating that you must be 100% Independent all the time.
Vedanism isn’t a set of rules, it’s a toolbox to deal with your challenges and frustrations.
Are you frustrated by the fact that you buy your broccoli from the supermarket? No? Then don’t worry about it.
Are you frustrated by your lack of choice of electricity providers? No? Then don’t worry about it.
Dedicate your time to using these tools to removing frustration, misery, loneliness, and fill your life with happiness, fun, and excitement.
“Are most people just Dependent in one area of their life or does it usually cover their entire life?
Most people who find they’re following a more Dependent pathway in one area of their life find that they’re also following a more Dependent pathway in other areas of their life.
This is not necessarily true for everyone though. Some people can be incredibly Independent at work yet as soon as they arrive back in their family environment, they switch over to an old, more Dependent pathway.
It differs from person to person and it’s impossible to give a concrete ‘Yes’ or ‘No’ so for now, just focus on yourself.
What’s the dominant pathway you follow when connecting with your friends?
How does that change when you meet a stranger?
How does that change again in your family environment?
What about work?
What about in your intimate relationships?
What are your dominant pathways?
“How often should I work through these 5 steps?”
Every time you experience anything other than a deep sense of peace and fulfilment. And by that, I mean in every moment. Not just when you wake up, not just when you’re eating dinner, not just when you get a second to sit down and relax.
Every time you check in and notice anything other than a rewarding, fulfilling, and meaningful experience, stop, go through this process, and then take action.
“Do I just have to do it once?”
No. You’ll have to do it over and over again. You’ve spend 5 / 10 / 20 / 40 years reinforcing the patterns that are responsible for your current lack of satisfaction and fulfilment so it’s going to take more than one or two times to build a new habit.
But the good news is that the more you do it, the more natural it becomes and the more natural it becomes, the less you’ll have to think about it.
“But that sounds like hard work!”
Oh, it is at first. You will have to consciously think about this and make an effort to take control of your life. The good news is that it won’t feel like hard work because every time you do it, you’ll get a reward.
Every time you feel alone you’ll be able to fulfil your desire to connect.
Every time you feel powerless you’ll be able to fulfil your desire to take control.
Every time you feel trapped you’ll be able to fulfil your desire for freedom.
Things only feel like hard work when you’re not getting anything out of them and you’re not getting anywhere with them. When you get to experience the results first hand and often very quickly, things feel easy.