Ingredients for a Meaningful Life

While I talk about the importance of following your dreams a lot here at IO, the truth is that it’s only one piece of a bigger puzzle. Many times, people think that achieving a big life-long goal such as rambling full-time in an RV, finally writing that novel, or being a millionaire will magically fix all of your problems. ‘And they all lived happily every after, the end.’

Yeah, the real world doesn’t work like that. So while you’re working on those big goals, you might as well give these other ingredients for a meaningful and fulfilling life a thought. Not only will they make things more pleasant once you’ve achieved those goals, they’ll actually help speed along your progress.

The first one up is attitude.

Now when I say attitude, I don’t mean trying to convince yourself that everything is going to be rainbows and butterflies, that’s just silly, we all know that. Life is tough, sometimes it’ll be really tough. But there are two very basic ways to look at it, and one is going to be so much more helpful than the other.

You can feel grateful for all of the things you have now, and look at everything you receive and accomplish as a blessing. Or you can believe that you’re entitled to success and happiness, and get mad when the world inevitably doesn’t hand you everything you want on a silver platter.

We are extremely fortunate.

I found that when I looked at the world through this lens and focused on the positives, on everything I already had, it made progressing towards my dreams easier. I didn’t need to try to goad myself into making change, the motivation was there automatically. With that lightness of heart and spirit, it was easier to focus on how good it was going to feel to accomplish my goals, which made me eager to get working at achieving them.

Plus, it became almost second nature to be appreciative of today, even though I still have some kinks to work out on the road to full-time RVing. Yes, there are miles still to go, but where I’m at now is really not a bad place to be, and I’m finding the journey enjoyable.

I’ve read that our attitude on life is dependent on three factors. Part of it is inherited genetically. This is the part I am least concerned with, because if it’s true then there is nothing I can do to change it.

The second part is rooted in our current circumstances, which researchers say makes up a surprisingly small percentage. For a time I just couldn’t believe this. I was one of those people who’s mood was greatly influenced by what happened to me on any given day. If I had a bad day at work, my whole day was ruined.

But then I started thinking about the millionaires who have everything money can buy and how unhappy some of them are, and on the other end of the spectrum, those with very little who are very happy with what they do have. I looked around me at my co-workers at work and noticed the differences in how we handled the same bad news. Chances are you know someone in your own life who seems more resilient to negative influences, and bounces back readily when bad things happen to them. These people have learned that it’s not what happens to us, but how we react that makes the difference.

Which leads to the last part of the attitude equation, how we choose to see the world. You can hold onto the belief that life is unfair. This usually leads to complaining, procrastination, wallowing, and ruts; not the place you want to be when challenging the status-quo and aiming for a better life.

Or you can actively cultivate a blessed attitude. When things go wrong, accept that it was unfortunate, but learn to let that go by reminding yourself of just how lucky you are. No one is perfect, but I aim to improve at this every day, and have seen a noticeable change.

From what I’ve seen of the full-time RVing crowd, many of them seem to be ‘glass half full’ types. Where do you feel you fall along this spectrum?

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7 Responses to Ingredients for a Meaningful Life

  1. Dale February 13, 2012 at 4:14 pm #

    K9- Doctor Who- The Armageddon Factor: Optimism: belief that everything will work out well. Irrational, bordering on insane.

    Jayne Cobb- FireFly-Jaynestown: Far as I see it, You people have been given the shortest end of the stick ever offered a human-soul in this crap hill verse. But ya took that end! Well ya took it! well I guess that’s somethin’.

    One thing that RVing can give you is the ability to change the latitude/attitude. It helps, especially when there are hate-ridden or negative zeitgeists prevalent in a given area (those can effect you after awhile). RVing can allow ya to just get hitched and RUNNOFT to better lands and more positive energies.

    So, I’m guess, I am a glass half full with Mudder’s Milk type, though some Italian Wine would be real nice 🙂
    Dale recently posted..Oleno-state-parkMy Profile

    • Becky February 13, 2012 at 8:52 pm #

      Haha, love the references Dale. I’m a Firefly and Doctor Who fan myself. Although I haven’t gotten to the fourth doctor yet in the old serials, I’m at Jon Pertwee.

      Here’s to the glass half full. Although I’ll skip on the wine personally, my alcohol has to not taste like alcohol for it to be enjoyable. 😛

  2. Dale February 13, 2012 at 9:22 pm #

    Yay, on the Who! I’m quite the Whodlum, 🙂 I am so thankful for the wonderful adventures the Whoverse has given me through the years. Enjoy your travels through the classic series.

  3. Carolyn February 14, 2012 at 3:43 pm #

    I am a half-full plus girl. 🙂

    • Becky February 14, 2012 at 7:01 pm #

      Hee, thanks for weighing in Carolyn. 🙂

  4. Jack January 14, 2013 at 7:44 pm #

    This is just what I was looking for.

    • Becky January 15, 2013 at 5:25 pm #

      Glad you found it helpful.

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