What does it mean to flourish? How do we achieve it and apply it to every aspect of life?

For one to flourish, there are a few key elements that need to be in place. But bear in mind that since we are all unique, the ways in which they are practically applied will vary.

Below, we’ll unpack some of the key elements that help us to flourish, namely:

  • We are cognisant of our inner compass
  • We are deeply aware of ourselves
  • We have identified our core purpose
  • We are motivated and have set personal goals
  • We have choice

Our inner compass

Inside each and every one of us is an inner compass. More reliable and accurate than any man-made compass, your inner compass uses a simple and innate Yes/No mechanism to help guide you. Providing the direction required to keep you in alignment.

To be in alignment is to be living in harmony with who you really are. It’s when you have a clear understanding of what is best for you, which delivers a sense of comfort and ease to your life. To put it simply: you feel good. This is when your inner compass is pointing true north. If you find yourself out of alignment with who you are, your inner compass is offset and you may experience a sense of discomfort and unease. This is when you need to consult your compass.

Really try and focus on tuning in to your inner compass. Don’t allow any circumstance or other people to influence it. Listen to it, feel it and stay true to it.

Being deeply aware of ourselves

These days life is incredibly fast-paced and we are bombarded with so much information daily that it’s becoming increasingly easy to lose connection with ourselves. And this disconnection is not only with ourselves, but it’s a disconnection with other people too.

Let’s take a moment to see if you are deeply aware of yourself.

Close your eyes and fill your lungs with three deep breaths – in through the nose and out through the mouth. Now, try and mentally scan your body, from head to toe, visualising and focussing deeply on every part of your body and how it feels. Is everything comfortable and in good shape? Or is there some discomfort, maybe tightness, and can you locate it?

Nobody knows or understands your body as well as you do, so let your mind explore it and listen to the information it provides.

Doing this simple exercise for five minutes a day can be an enlightening exercise, and the short break from high-speed daily life will be most welcome.

Being clear about our core purpose

Generally, most people don’t know what their core purpose is. We’ve been heavily influenced by those around us and we’ve used those influences, which aren’t true to our inner compasses, to make our choices. Then, when we reach mid-life, thought-provoking questions begin popping into our heads. Questions like, “Is this really me?”, or “Is this where I am meant to be?”, or simply, “What is this all about?”

On the other hand, for some it has been as clear as day that they wanted to pursue careers as teachers, doctors or artists from childhood already, but for most people it has been a case of changing and adapting in relation to their life’s circumstances at that time.

When you think of your core purpose, what comes to mind? What are you meant to be doing in this one magnificent life? And most importantly, what is stopping you from doing that now?

Motivation and setting goals

Feeling motivated and inspired is easy when we are deeply interested in the task at hand. Think back to the last time you put a load of effort into a project or achieving a goal – and not because it had to be done, but because you wanted it to be done. That is the easiest way to highlight the feeling of motivation.

When it comes to career success, motivation trumps both intelligence and ability. However, as we search for this motivation, we need to be clear about our choices and ensure that we remain on our correct path. Taking a wrong turn in search of motivation often happens when we forcefully focus it on immense goals which may be unattainable – exhausting our energy to try and get a small taste of success. This unfortunately can result in burnout and loss of willpower.

All three of the above-mentioned elements of flourishing are relevant to our motivation levels. From our inner compass (Am I moving in the right direction?), to our core purpose (Is it in harmony with my goal?), to our deep self-awareness (Is this goal something that really interests me? Am I doing it for myself or others?).

Exercising our choice

These days, you take a simple trip to the mall and you’re showered with choice. 30 different dresses, 20 different kinds of shirts, 30 kinds of underwear – the list goes on and on. Which is surprising since research shows that a choice of more than 8 is deemed as confusing. The point here is that there are choices to make at every turn we take through life. Some may come easy, while others will prove more challenging.

Having choice gives our lives meaning, which is why no-one deserves to live a life without it. How we spend our time, what we do and when we do it, should always be entirely up to us. This autonomy is important and being able to make decisions based on our feelings, and what is significant and important to us, inherently makes us feel good.

Take a break for a second and think about it. Think about your life. What would you change about the way you’re living life right now? What choices do you need to make to ensure that you’re really flourishing? Which choices are the best for you?

The five core elements of flourishing covered above are all interconnected. Understanding them can help piece together a clearer picture of where you are now, and set you on the path to where you really want to be. Your time to flourish is now.

Click here to read more from Dr Donne.

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