A Fulfilling Life


There are three elements to a fulfilling life:

  1. Inspiration
  2. Destination
  3. Contribution

Inspiration

The first thing you need to make your life fulfilling is inspiration. Inspiration makes you get out of bed, into your clothes and out the door. More importantly, inspiration will make you do the best that you can in whatever pursuit you have. Inspiration will let whatever it is you are doing rise above the circumstances and give it a meaning beyond the immediate. Inspired people bring others along, attract people and spread joy in the world.

To find inspiration in your life, you have to find out what the sources are that inspire you. The best way to do that, is by having a journal with you at all times, and write down what lifts you up, what gives you goosebumps, what propels you to do better than you were doing. Over time, you will realize a pattern.

In the end, you need to find the source of inspiration in yourself. That has to be your ultimate goal. That is why you need to keep a journal so that your sources of inspiration can accumulate and provide you with insight about yourself. The source has come from within, because that is what you will rely upon in times of need, stress and high anxiety. That is what you will rely upon when your ethics are being challenged, and one day someone or something will challenge your ethics.

Here are some possible sources that you can think about if you are not sure where to draw inspiration from:

Parents and friends. It starts close to home. If you have the good fortune to have your parent around and to be in good contact with them, there is nothing quite like the recognition of you by someone who has known you your whole life. Only parents can give that kind of recognition which always inspires me to pay close attention to who I am and what I am supposed to do in this life.

Good friends are a tremendous source of inspiration. An evening in close conversation or a night dancing to great music will lift your spirits like nothing else. You may not call it inspiration, but it is.

Extraordinary people. I am thinking about the likes of Nelson Mandela here, my own bishop Yvette Flunder, or Barack Obama. Pick who inspires you. These are a few of the people who always enrich my spirit. But pick and let yourself be inspired. Don’t be cynical, which is the coward’s way through life.

Holy texts. Buddhist texts can be of tremendous comfort. I read the bible every day, which at times lifts me up and sometimes infuriates me, but always challenges me to think deeply about God.

Other texts are possible too. Is there a special novel that will take you to a whole new place in life? For me that was War and Peace. Yes, I read that and loved it. I love the poetry of Adriaan Roland Holst, whom you can only read in Dutch. Sorry, poetry is best read in your natives tongue, although the Rime of the Ancient Mariner is something specia

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