Now that we know how to ‘sense into’ the subjective and ~‘objective’ knowledge obtained via the Book of You and the Chart of You, we are ready to roll up our sleeves and dive a little deeper.
Our intention in this lesson is to find our ‘fulfilment factors’—the elements of life that contribute to a feeling of eudaemonia (our ‘good spirit’). This is not what simply makes us ‘happy’ in a hedonistic sense, but rather—what contributes to a sense of our own flourishing and thriving. That quiet satisfaction we feel after a good day’s work. The sense that we are, somehow, growing, developing, learning, or ‘doing good’.
This is what we seek to cultivate with our self-knowledge.
Okay confession: this lesson is a little bit of a ramble. I would like to think the repetitive variety deepens the lesson—but in future I may be able to say the following more succinctly.
Essentially, what we are are doing here is scanning the extremes of our experiences.
First, recall the shittiest kinds of days you have experienced—not the outlier disaster days, but the general ‘ugh: this sucks’ kind of day. What are the factors that contribute to this? Is it: bad sleep? Poor commute? Poor diet? Interruptions/disruptions? Odd day structure? Get super curious about the formula that makes for low-grade frustration, apprehension or subtle-doom-feelings to your day. What are the common factors here? These are your insights derived from the darker times you have experienced.
Then, remember the best kinds of days you have experienced—why are these days so good? What are the factors that contribute to this? These are your insights derived from the brighter times you have experienced.
Of course, it is rarely so binary in reality—it’s all complex and contextual and contingent and so on and so forth. And yet still: patterns can be found.
Now that you have a list of insights derived from the polar extremes of your day-to-day experience, I wonder: what might you surface betwixt the two?
There’s no ‘right’ way to do this—rather, it’s an opportunity for you to unearth and ‘surface’ meaning.* Ultimately, we are looking for 3 or 5 fulfilment factors to make salient. These will become like nebulous meaning-orbs that encircle your person, serving as a gentle reminder in your day to day.
* I say ‘surface’ because there is always so much more at play—but through this we can at least find a way to symbolically represent our fulfilment factors.
At the time of writing I have a few fulfilment factors in play:
Vitality | The days in which I sleep well, eat well, and deliberately ‘move’ usually feel more fulfilling than days in which I sit plonked in front of the laptop.*
Curiosity | The days in which I get to engage in open-ended explorative learning are always preferable to the days in which I do not.
Enchantment | It can be so easy to get swept up in busyness, which in turn can render much of life mundane. I thus consciously seek the perspicacity to live into a more enchanted life—even if it means seeking textures of meaning, magical realism, or simple moments of solace.
* But this isn’t simply a ‘health’ thing, nor a fitness thing. It’s more about cultivating a sense of aliveness—in the way that a walk outside in the cold crisp air can be revitalising.
Bah. That’s just a glimpse into my own fulfilment factors—and it’s probably high time I review them anew. (And I shall, for that’s part the charm of this annual Ritual of Becoming—it’s a rhythmic practice of self-development).
What are three or five fulfilment factors that currently resonate for you? (Extension: are the words you use to describe these ‘attractive’ in and of themselves? For example, a fulfilment factor might be ‘connection’—as in, you are happiest when you get to connect with colleagues, family and friends. But what other words might serve? Does ‘community’ have a better feeling-tone? Or ‘camaraderie’? Maybe, maybe not. In any event: play with the words you use. It’ll be a good warm up for that which is to come.
Next, we take The Negative Path to clarity and fulfilment.
This a work-in-progress ‘virtual book’, meta-blog and online programme by
. Illustrations by