The degree to which a person positively evaluates the overall quality of their life as a whole; it’s how much they like the life they lead.
Each of us has different ways of evaluating our lives. For some, what matters is their relationships or emotional stability. For others, it’s achievements and rewards.
Here’re 5 behavior markers that show you’ll end up feeling genuinely satisfied with yourself.
You’re in control of your choices and outcomes
The day I realized that I am in charge of how I will approach problems in my life, that things will turn out better or worse because of me and nobody else, that was the day I knew I would be a happier and healthier person. And that was the day I knew I could truly build a life that matters. — Steve Goodier
Self Efficacy Theory is based on the idea that a person has the ‘autonomy’ to determine the course of their life.
Autonomy = A sense of control.
The idea is that the choices and decisions that influence your life are in your own hands. Thus your outcomes (who you become and what you accomplish) are self-chosen. They are not determined by any external force.
In a paper titled: “What is more important for national well-being: Money or autonomy? A meta-analysis of well-being, burnout, and anxiety across 63 societies,” researchers found that more than money, autonomy consistently produced a strong influence on life satisfaction.
This makes sense. Every day, we make choices that affect our lives in significant ways such as how we spend our time, how we engage our mental and emotional resources, what goals we pursue, whether we start a business, enroll for a degree, or have a baby.
It’s the feeling of being in control that allows us to accurately assess our roles as masters of our destinies. As Robert Bennett has rightly said, “… If you can control the process of choosing, you can take control of all aspects of your life…”
Some of the ways a sense of autonomy enhances satisfaction include:
- allowing you to develop a deeper interest in your work.
- helping you to cultivate a healthier and stronger sense of commitment towards your goals.
- strengthening your emotional resilience against setbacks and disappointments.
- helping you to see challenging problems as tasks to be mastered.
It’s not possible to feel genuinely satisfied with yourself if you don’t feel that you’re in control of your choices, actions, and outcomes. This explains why people feel trapped and helpless if they feel that their circumstances are beyond their control.
You define success based on values and ideals that are congruent with your identity.
What preoccupies us is the way we define success. If you see your life purely in terms of money and power, then everything in your life becomes about ‘Am I getting ahead?’ and that is truly a barbaric way to live, because it eliminates huge chunks of our humanity. — Arianna Huffington
How you define success is your choice, and it says a lot about your values are and where you derive satisfaction.
Most people see success based on externals. That is success is measured by rewards, status, and accomplishments. For them, success depends on the car you drive, how much money you earn, and your professional status. But these ‘external’ metrics don’t always guarantee satisfaction.
Real success is something deeper, more internal. It’s intrinsic. Because it’s about how you feel after you’ve achieved what you wanted.
In The Desire Map, Danielle LaPorte stated that “the feeling we hope to get,” is the major reason for goal setting. Thus, we can end up miserable if we don’t take into account the feeling component of our goals.
To deal with this problem, LaPorte suggests that you create “Goals with Soul.” This means your goals should reflect your purest desires, purpose, and values. They must be congruent with your personality and identity. As Sinem Günel said, “Nothing feels as good as something you do from the heart.”
People who are most satisfied build their lives around pursuing dreams and goals that align with their purpose and values.
Your job is to seek success based on your own standards. You need to define success in a way that prioritizes the important feelings you want to have, not based on what society wants. This is how you be at peace with yourself. It leads to less anxiety and enhances your satisfaction.
What drives you is the positive contributions your work makes to others
The earliest philosophers such as Epicurus were the first to argue that the key to satisfaction is the knowledge that your work is meaningful — that is, it makes a difference and benefits others. Centuries after, modern scientists have now proven this to be true.
In Authentic Happiness, psychologist Martin Seligman noted that people who lead a meaningful life and are most satisfied are those who immerse themselves into a cause.
Seligman believes that the desire to make a positive impact on others is what allows a person to function at the level in which they’re optimally using up their abilities.
It’s easy to think more money can give fulfillment. Money is vital for a good life, without a doubt. But ultimately, it’s the difference that we make that counts.
Oprah Winfrey said: “Having a lot of money does not automatically make you a successful person. What you want are money and meaning. You want your work to be meaningful because meaning is what brings the real richness to your life.”
Also, Wharton management professor and author of Giving and Take, Adam Grant analyzed the most satisfied people at work, from editorial board members, lifeguards, and nurses to callers at a university call center.
What did he discover?
Like Epicurus first thought about, Grant also found that what made people truly satisfied at work was “the perception that our work makes a positive impact on others.”
In one study, workers became more engaged and satisfied with work when they interacted directly, listened to, and met face-to-face with those who benefit from their efforts.
There’s a big difference between knowing that your work helps others and seeing the impact on a living, breathing human being. When we interact directly with the people who benefit from our work, we develop a stronger conviction that our work matters and is valued and appreciated, and we become committed to working harder, smarter, longer, and productively on behalf of the people we’re trying to help.
The bottom line: You’ll likely feel more satisfied if you incorporate making a difference, doing meaningful work into your philosophy.
You constantly challenge yourself to go past your comfort zone
The big challenge is to become all that you have the possibility of becoming. You cannot believe what it does to the human spirit to maximize your human potential and stretch yourself to the limit. — Jim Rohn
What’s the worst regret in life? What’s the thing that we look back on and feel our lives would have been more satisfying had we done it?
Without a doubt, you’ll have many regrets about different aspects of your life and about things you could have done but didn’t do such as:
- Not falling in love with someone who was in love with you.
- Not making a career move that you always dream about
- Not having kids
- Not taking care of your mental and physical health
But ONE regret ranks above all the others is the ideal road not taken. It’s the failure to live up to our potential or ideal self.
The inability to face your fears and self-doubt and challenge yourself to do something that forces you out of your comfort zone will be the biggest regret you’ll have.
here’s what I know: The most effective way to challenge yourself is to learn new things every day. To seek to gain new knowledge in a new topic and develop new skills. Reid Hoffman, LinkedIn co-founder and author The Startup of You, describes this as living your life in “permanent beta” — which is “a commitment to life-long learning.”
The more you learn and improve, the easier it becomes to pursue goals and dreams that were once scary.
The key to satisfaction lies in your ability to immerse yourself in any activity that forces you to move past your comfort level and towards your ideal self.
Of course, you can be content with exploring only the periphery of your potential. But satisfaction comes from going deep. As Cal Newport said: “Human beings, it seems, are at their best when immersed deeply in something challenging.”
You always look for what to be grateful for in your life
Strive to find things to be thankful for, and just look for the good in who you are.
— Bethany Hamilton
Gratitude produces many positive impacts on our lives. It helps people feel more positive emotions, relish good experiences, improve their health, deals with adversity, and build strong relationships.
Our brain is hardwired for negativity. Because of this, we notice and react faster to bad things and barely notice when good things happen. It’s for the same reason that you’ll grump about the smallest failures but turn a blind eye to your progress.
The way out of the negativity bias is to intentionally force yourself to identify and acknowledge the positives in your life.
And several studies have shown that counting our blessings makes us happier and less likely to be depressed. And the more we express gratitude the more satisfaction we get out of life.
What blessings are you not acknowledging? Practice identifying positive things in and around you, you’ll feel happier and more satisfied with life.
A Recap for memory
Satisfaction and a profound sense of fulfillment are some of the most for overall well-being. You’ll feel satisfied with yourself if:
- You’re in control of your choices and you take responsibility for their outcomes
- You define success based on values and ideals that are congruent with your Identity
- What drives you is the positive contributions your work makes to others
- You do something that forces you out of your comfort zone every day
- You look for what to be grateful for in your life
Thanks for reading.
This post was previously published on Medium.
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The post 5 Signs You’re Likely To Feel Really Satisfied With Your Life appeared first on The Good Men Project.