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How To Find Fulfillment: Stop Doing These 10 Things


Be honest with yourself.

You are the problem–the one creating your own suffering. You–the voice in your head reading this, thinking about past experiences, and dreaming of the future–are the only one responsible for your pain, discomfort, and limitations.

It’s a difficult truth to stomach. Because from your point of view, you’re both the person in control and the victim to life’s unfair circumstances. It all depends on the situation.

When things are going well, you’re the captain of your ship. Avoiding obstacles and navigating your way through uncharted terrain. But when things aren’t going well, you are the victim to a cruel and unrelenting ocean.

You can’t have it both ways.

You can’t rightfully take responsibility when things are going well and then evade it when difficult circumstances occur. That’s called immaturity–an affliction from which we all suffer.

As a coach working with executives and entrepreneurs, one of my most important functions is pointing out when clients are avoiding taking responsibility for themselves. To highlight when they are dismissing thoughts and feelings that they need to experience. And to teach them how to let go of thoughts, feelings, and actions that are no longer serving their best interest.

The faster we stop doing things that prevent our growth, the faster we improve. It is that simple.

To help accelerate your growth, I’ve identified 10 things that you must stop doing. Read the list below to discover 10 ways to stop being your own worst enemy.

1. Stop pretending that you are a powerless victim to which bad things happen.

As long as you are conscious, have the ability to understand decisions, and can communicate your decision, you have the ability to make important decisions about your life. Start appreciating the power of your decisions. And make them wisely.  

2. Stop fantasizing about a future that won’t occur if your current behaviors continue.

Daydreams are nice, but when your actions aren’t leading you towards the manifestation of those ideals, you’re just lying to yourself. At that point, you’re avoiding reality and pretending that you’ll be happy some day in the future, while simultaneously not making any real changes. That’s a recipe for unhappiness and regret.

3. Stop caring about what everyone else thinks. And Does. And says.

Don’t allow popular opinions to dictate your life–the masses are satisfied with a mediocre existence. Embrace your unique talents. Follow your intuition and do what works for you, even if it means breaking away from mainstream ideologies.

4. Stop focusing on your shortcomings at the expense of acknowledging your strengths.

A balanced approach is always best. Your strengths need to be improved and your weaknesses need to be acknowledged. Focusing exclusively on one or the other leads to emotional dysfunction.

5. Stop complaining. No, really. Stop it.

Complaining does absolutely nothing beneficial for you or anyone else around you, it merely reinforces and perpetuates the experience from which you’re suffering. Meditate on that.

6. Stop wasting valuable time staring at screens instead of doing something that adds a lasting value to your life.

You’re allowed to watch Netflix and scroll through social media. But you’re not allowed to do that and then complain when you failed to achieve your New Year’s resolution of reading or meditating. Grow up.

7. Stop pretending that you’re “fine” and “okay” when you’re actually experiencing significant difficulties.

We all need help from time to time. That’s absolutely nothing to be ashamed of. And while it can be difficult to ask for additional support, it’s one of the most important things you can do. When you push people away when you’re experiencing distress, it removes the power of healing that comes from authentic connections with others.

8. Stop showing everyone your polished professional masquerade at the expense of experiencing genuine vulnerability.

We get it. You show up well. Now try something much more courageous: being vulnerable with someone else. Fulfilling relationships–the type that make life worth living–only occur in the intimate context of mutual vulnerability.

9. Stop pretending that your professional aspirations have nothing to do with your self-esteem (they’re more related than you want to admit).

It’s okay that you cope with your deep feelings of inadequacy by seeking professional recognition. There’s nothing wrong with that. But without acknowledging the relationship between the personal and professional, there’s no chance at experiencing fulfillment.

10. Stop talking about personal growth practices without taking any meaningful action–that’s called avoidance.

I’m sick of empty chatter. That’s what plagues the entire self-development industry. That’s also the mechanism preventing your eternal happiness.

This entire article could be summarized by saying this: stop doing what causes negative consequences. Life is that simple. We just prefer to make it more complicated.

To dramatize it. To talk about it. And to avoid taking real action.

Don’t be satisfied with that life. Indeed, it is impossible to be truly and deeply satisfied with that type of existence.

Start challenging yourself. If you truly want the experience of happiness–instead of talking endlessly about it–then you must eliminate the tendencies that cause your unhappiness. 

This article originally appeared in Inc Magazine.

Matthew Jones is a life coach and licensed therapist. His work has been published on, the Huffington Post, Thought Catalog, Observer, and more. He is best known for his writings on holistic self-development.

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