How can we live a more fulfilling life? While there are things we can do which are more long-term in nature (such as the ones in 37 Lessons to Help You Live a Life that Matters), here I’d like to focus on practical things which we can do today.

As I wrote in my post about being indispensable, human needs can be classified into eight levels in the Maslow hierarchy. The eight levels from the lowest to the highest are physical, security, belonging, esteem, learning, aesthetic, self-actualization, and transcendence. The lower levels comprise of basic needs which are essential to live. But to live a fulfilling life, I believe that the key is on the higher levels.

The more your needs at the higher levels are met, the more fulfilling your life will be.

Money for example, mainly meets your need at the physical or at most esteem level. No wonder money alone can never give you a fulfilling life. There are many people who do not have a lot of money but whose life is more fulfilling than those who have.

As you can see, the two highest levels are self-actualization (realizing our own potential, self-fulfillment, peak experiences) and transcendence (helping others realize their potential). By doing things that meet your needs at these two levels, you will have a more fulfilling life.

So here are 23 practical things you can do to make your life more fulfilling:

  1. Think about this question: If you have only six months left to live, what would you do not to regret your life? The answer to this question reveals your deepest value and priorities.
  2. From your answer in #1, think of a personal statement for your life purpose. Though you won’t be able to make a final statement in just one day, at least you can come up with a draft.
  3. Write some specific goals of what you want to achieve regarding your personal statement in #2.
  4. Take the first step to act upon your goals in #3. Even a simple thing will do. As the saying says: “The journey of one thousand miles begins with the first step”.
  5. Browse the web or ask your friends to find a charity in a cause you care about.
  6. Donate to the charity.
  7. When you meet your spouse, family, or friends, praise them.
  8. Stop thinking too much about how to have more money.
  9. Start seeing yourself as a giver rather than receiver.
  10. Listen emphatically to someone.
  11. Smile to others.
  12. Stop yourself whenever you are about to complain.
  13. Give words of comfort to a friend who need them.
  14. Send a “happy birthday” message to someone.
  15. Give a special thank you to someone who really matter to you.
  16. Be punctual.
  17. Create a simple life map to see how far you’ve walked in life.
  18. Call or – even better – visit an old friend.
  19. Share your experiences in your job to someone who need it.
  20. List your passions and think of ways to nurture them.
  21. Prepare a gift for someone.
  22. Take a personality test to know more about yourself.
  23. Keep your promises.

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Categories: Purpose, Relationship

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15 Responses so far.

  1. […] The most fulfilling, satisfying things we can do have little to do with meeting our own physical and biological needs. The satisfaction of these is necessary, but not sufficient for happiness and fulfillment. On the other hand, we do not need to do great and unique deeds to meet our higher level desires. In 23 Practical Things You Can Do to Make Your Life More Fulfilling Donald Latumahina shows several things we can do to become happier and more fulfilled. Some are purely personal. Others are social. All are effective. […]

  2. Jane says:

    i do it everyday:) but our life live without rules:)

  3. Yes, Jane. The role of these rules is just to help us move to the right direction. Once we move to the right direction, many of them will become automatic.

  4. […] A few days ago I wrote about 23 practical things you can do to make your life more fulfilling. There I wrote that the more your needs at the higher levels are met, the more fulfilling your life will be. Now I want to revisit the idea from a different angle, and that is from our motivation in doing something. I believe our motivation in doing something has a lot to do with how fulfilling our life would be. […]

  5. […] A few days ago I wrote about 23 practical things you can do to make your life more fulfilling. There I wrote that the more your needs at the higher levels are met, the more fulfilling your life will be. Now I want to revisit the idea from a different angle, and that is from our motivation in doing something. I believe our motivation in doing something has a lot to do with how fulfilling our life would be. […]

  6. […] ????????: 23 Practical Things You Can Do to Make Your Life More Fulfilling […]

  7. Roy Karyono says:

    Now I’m applying what you taught me in #14 posted in this blog. Ha5.Today is your birthday. Happy birthday Donald :)

  8. Thanks, Roy :) Much appreciated.

  9. […] I’ll share a secret. Just about every single person I know welcomes a take-home serving of holiday dinner. We always […]

  10. Karlita Myers says:

    These are very helpfull, I’m always trying to make life better. I have a great family, my husband is the best. My son is 3 and i just had a baby girl. I’m very blessed but there is always something more you can do. Blessed be the lord, amen.

  11. Nath says:

    Just what I needed. Thanks for the great tips which I will use and share. Thank you.Here’s to a lovely Spring full of sunshine.

  12. While preparing for a seminar for Singles in my church on a topic ” How to Prepare For Your Life” I stumbled on this article. I believe it is good for singles and married alike. Please enjoy.

  13. Paul says:

    I loved your article it really helped me

  14. Bertha says:

    Great Practicals but I feel there is also a spiritual need in ones life & above all a life that puts GOD at the centre is the most fulfilling regardless of all else.

    Thank you!