2021 In Review - Living A Happy Fulfilled Life
Every year around my birthday, I like to reflect on how my year went, what went well, what didn't, and what I'm going to do differently moving forward. Last year, I started to publish these insights out loud in hopes that others can also learn from my experiences. Thank you for reading, and I hope you get value from my sharing!
What does it take to live a fulfilled life? This is a question that has been constantly on my mind ever since last year, when I hypothesized that fulfillment is a fundamental part of self-actualization, and together with contribution to others is where we can achieve happiness.
Fulfillment doesn’t come easily as we constantly have to navigate anxiety, doubt, and mismatched expectations in our lives. So in this article, I’ll share my journey of how I optimized for happiness this year by developing 3 frameworks to help me consistently find meaning in the work that I do for others.
How Do You Introduce Yourself?
What do you usually say when you’re asked to introduce yourself? Do you start with your job title, your relationship, or something different? Your elevator pitch matters, but probably not for the reasons you are thinking.
We explored this topic in our Family Without Borders house, where every two weeks, we hold talks and invite experts from different disciplines come to share their expertise.
After one of such workshops, I held a follow-up exercise for the attendees to come up with a creative one-liner that explains what they do for the world - without using their job title or complex terminology. The purpose was to explore how we could explain what we do in a simple, unconventional way that ends up describing the true WHY behind the things we do.
Whenever you pitch yourself, we are sharing with the world the reason why we wake up in the morning, and compels us to take one step forward. Are we doing ourselves justice by identifying solely with our title?
I could easily describe myself as a tech founder, an entrepreneur, or a community builder - but my underlying purpose is to help others level up. One of my friends is a software developer and while he could describe what he does as building software, what he actually does is to enable others to be lazier!
Find Your True Why: Create a one-liner that describes the value you want to provide to the world.
The Roles We Play
The one-liner explains why - but it doesn’t explain what. That’s the second step, where we define the roles that we fulfill for our community. Our roles consistently evolves as we gain new experiences and skills, and its through reflecting that we can identify where we fit in.
“You can't connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards.”
— Steve Jobs
Upon reflecting on my experience in every organization and community that I’ve been a part of, I realized that I always end up serving the following roles:
- Adventurer - I venture towards the deep unknown to discover new knowledge and insights to bring back to my tribe.
- Systems Thinker - I break down both conventional wisdom and novel experiences to create actionable steps to follow.
- Reward Giver - I have a keen understanding of how our brains work and how to hack it to do what we want.
Recognizing my roles have helped me understand the value I provide in any interaction or situation and gain clarity on what I can do next. Whenever you find yourself lost in life because your roles at work or home seem to be shifting - ask yourself if you are playing the role you want in your life and whether or not that has changed over time.
If you find it difficult looking back because of limited past experiences, try extrapolating forwards as well. What roles will help you perform your purpose most effectively?
Identify Your Roles: What are the 3 roles you find most meaningful to offer to the world?
Who Do I Serve?
Once you have a solid understanding of the purpose behind your actions and what you can do for others, it's time to decide who to serve. It's a wonderful feeling whenever you are able to do something for someone who truly need your help. They are appreciative, and give you thoughtful, constructive feedback that improves the experience for everybody else who will cross your path.
When there is a mismatch between what you’re offering and what the person in front of you wants, its easy for disappointments to flare up and misunderstandings to occur.
As a general rule, if it takes a lot to explain the benefits of what you’re doing to someone, they will most likely not value your work because they don’t have a strong need for you in this phase of their life. They may even ask for extra efforts so that what you do can benefit them today - but this will often lead you astray.
You will know when you have found the right people to serve when you realize that giving in their presence is easy and reciprocated. It’s been a joyous experience to be within the Co-x3 Family and know that the efforts we put in to help each other level up are valued because we all want that for each other.
So, whenever you define your roles, its also important to determine who you will provide for, because that will directly affect the experience you have with sharing your work.
Growth At Scale
Every time I discover a framework, I am building a foundation to help me automatize life processes, enabling me to chart new waters and grow.
This year, I’ve gained 3 useful frameworks:
- I have an easy and simple one-liner that helps me understand my purpose in life;
- I know the roles I excel in and am eager to fulfill in any situation;
- I know who to serve that will appreciate my efforts and grow value together. This is a systematic process that we can use whenever we need courage to live a live a fulfilled life and have agency over our lives.
Last year, I was optimizing for happiness. This year, I am pushing for growth.
In 2022, I will be exploring what growth looks like at scale. A lot of the projects that I’ve been working on have been optimized to help those whom I can readily reach - but I know there are so many others in the world that I haven’t even met yet.
I’ll be taking every opportunity to empower others in order to expand and scale up our efforts to make positive impacts on the world, and we’re just getting started.