To achieve a fulfilled life, you need a handful of things.
I have lived almost four decades in my adult life. My wife and I have raised children as I’ve worked as a civilian and military chaplain. I have talked with countless people over the years as they have sought to live a more fulfilled and connected life. Spending the better part of the last two decades working to understand myself and my vocation deeply, I’ve learned a few lessons. Here are a few things to remember as you journey toward a fulfilling life.
Thing #1: Connection
The first thing you need to live a fulfilling life is connection.
Connection is being linked and bonded. It is being part of a circle of friends or associates. Connection is living in association with other people.
There are seasons in life when confusion makes it difficult to make clear-headed and confident decisions. I remember a time in my life when I was suddenly laid off from a job. Not long before this layoff, my father had died unexpectedly. I knew it was time to move on from my job, but the suddenness of my leaving not many months after my father died led me into a confusing time. I lacked the confidence to make appropriate decisions for my life and future.
When confusion took hold in my life. I did several things to overcome the disorder and ensure I was not making decisions I would regret later:
- I connected with wise friends
- I joined a support group
- I sought out a counselor
- I stayed in community
- I came back to effective self-care
Friends already established connections are an essential resource during the confusing times which will come in this life. Connection is first; here are three more things.
Thing #2: Clarity
The second thing you need to live a fulfilled life is clarity.
Clarity is clearness as to perception or understanding; it is freedom from ambiguity.
Most of you have heard of diamonds evaluated by their cut, color, and clarity—the more each of these traits exists, the more valuable to diamond. A stone is graded as flawless if, under 10-power magnification, no inclusions (internal flaws) and no blemishes (external imperfections) are visible.
Clarity is hard to obtain. Diamonds are created when carbon deposits deep within the earth (approximately 90 to 125 miles below the surface) are subject to high temperature and pressure. Some diamonds are made rapidly; some are formed over long periods.
In our life, clarity is developed over time. In my life, wisdom gained over a lifetime of experience has given me clarity. Clarity is part of the alignment I've previously wrote about. When we have a deep sense of clarity, we will live with passion, energy, and contribution. Several things have given me clarity. Among them are:
Clarity is life-giving and leads us to the next thing on my list.
Thing #3: Confidence
The third thing you need to live a fulfilled life is confidence.
Confidence is belief in oneself and one’s powers or abilities, self-confidence, and self-assurance. “He described the situation with such confidence that the audience believed him completely.”
Confidence rightly used in our life leads us toward the fulfillment we all seek. It allows us to move with strength toward the things most important to us. Overconfidence can lead to the presumption: “Her disdainful look crushed the confidence of the brash young man.” Be confident, don’t be arrogant and presumptuous.
A confident understanding of who we are at our deepest levels leads us to the final thing on my list.
Thing #4: Congruence
The fourth thing you need to live a fulfilled life is congruence.
Congruence is the state of agreeing or corresponding. Most often, we think of congruence in mathematics. For example, “the congruence of the trapezoids with identical measurements.” In a recent episode on the Carey Nieuwhof Leadership Podcast, Tim Elmore said,
I believe what makes for a very healthy human being is congruency. Whatever you are, be congruent, have integrity, and don’t be waffling back and forth.
Living congruently is to live with consistency between who you were created to be in all areas of your life.
You and the 4 C’s
Challenging times are part of life. Pursuing growth in connection, clarity, confidence, and congruence will lead you toward living a fulfilled life. When you have the 4 C’s, your path will be straighter, your journey forward will be more precise, and your focus will narrow. You can say no to the wrong things and yes to the best things.
Friend, where are you concerning the 4 C’s? Do you find yourself wanting to minimize the confusion? Do you want to grow in connection, clarity, confidence, and congruence in your life?
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