Life’s Too Good to Be Bored: How to Cure Boredom for Good

Do you ever feel bored with life? Boredom and work or home isn’t uncommon. But when you forget how truly good life can be, it’s time to learn how to cure boredom for good.


Yes, I know. How can life be good if we’re still wearing masks? When there’s still great racial inequality and discrimination? When we have a climate crisis and a political divide so wide, we can’t even see the other side let alone hear it?

The challenges in the world right now might dissuade you from saying “life is good.”

But I want you to know this: life is good because YOU’RE IN IT, living it, right now. And, it’s impossible to feel your aliveness and be bored at the same time.

BORED, BORED, BORED

No, this is NOT all there is. Were you wondering?

But you’re bored. Bored, bored, bored. Bored at work. Bored at home. Bored in your relationship. Bored with YOU.

Is there a cure for boredom?

As a human being, you’re hardwired toward growth and adaptation. You WANT to learn, explore, and expand. Like your ancestors who forged new frontiers, you want to move forward, achieve, and discover. You’re constantly driven to interact, engage, explore, and transform.


Sometimes this desire for change might be loud and obvious. But sometimes, it manifests itself as a vague sense of dissatisfaction. A subtle nagging that your life as it is not “enough.”


As Psychology Today tells us, this condition is related to the “French ennui, an existential perception of life’s futility—a consequence of unfulfilled aspirations.”*

So perhaps you can thank boredom! You have unfulfilled aspirations that you might not have become aware of otherwise.

Welcome boredom as a warning signal. Recognize it as your mind’s alert system telling you that you’re not finding purpose in what you’re currently doing, so you’d better switch things up. The sooner, the better.

Boredom is like fear: No one likes feeling fear, just as no one likes feeling bored. But both give you crucial information. Fear pushes you away from harm. Boredom pushes you toward meaning.

Maybe it’s time to stop, listen, and learn how to cure boredom for good.

What’s the Point? Purpose

Purpose is the heart of the matter. It’s the “why” behind everything you do, whether you’re conscious of it or not.

Without it, you’ll never find satisfaction, no matter how fun, delicious, or pleasurable what you’re doing is. The moment it’s experienced, watched, ordered, or consumed, you return to the nagging sense of emptiness. Without purpose, you’re stuck in infinite “ennui.”

So then, how do you find it?


“Boredom is the root of all evil – the despairing refusal to be oneself.”
– Soren Kierkegaard


To find your purpose, you must understand yourself. And to do that, you must learn and explore your yearnings—your innermost desires and deep emotional longings of your heart. Perhaps you yearn to love and be loved or to touch and be touched. Perhaps you yearn to matter, to make a difference, to fulfill your purpose on this planet. Perhaps you long to create, connect, or serve.

Yearnings are universal, and they are the key to unlocking the mystery of the uniquely amazing being that is YOU. No one like you has ever existed before now, and no one like you will ever exist after.

Once you begin to believe that and act accordingly, you’ll see boredom backing off as aliveness starts filling up your days.

Is this easy? NO. And learning your longings isn’t a quick fix to boredom. But it’s a sustaining one. A transformative one. And the only one that ultimately matters.

Besides, you’re already familiar with the quick fix—soft addictions. Those seemingly harmless habits that distract you from your boredom long enough to make you think your life is thriving.

Twenty-five more episodes to watch? What a full evening of entertainment! Three new outfits on the way? How fun it will be to wake up and wear each of them! A new full bag of cookies? You deserve it after my long week of work. Zoning out on social media? What a great way to keep “in touch” with all your friends.

Maybe yes, maybe no.

But what’s more likely is what all of these have might have in common: pseudo satisfaction. A temporary high/buzz/thrill that comes and then goes, and before you know it, you’re left once again asking yourself, “Is this all there is?”

What’s a completely-bored-of-boredom human like you to do?

Forget Pseudo. Go for Authentic

The dictionary definition of authenticity is “genuineness; undisputed credibility; one who is worthy of belief.”

The existential philosophers defined authenticity as being true to who you could become, instead of being true to who you are—a view that suggests authenticity is being faithful to yourself internally as opposed to conforming to external ideas or norms.


Here’s MY definition of authenticity: forget what everyone else says and wears, reads, eats, and watches (take THAT social media) and find out what makes YOU tick.


How do you find that kind of sense of authenticity? Like Dorothy in Oz, you need to discover the answer has been inside of you all along. As you explore yourself and get to know yourself better, you’ll start to see glimpses and signs of who you really are. You begin “engaging.”

“It is the moment-by-moment practice of engaging that helps you become more spontaneous and more present in each moment. You step outside your comfort zone, try new things, take risks, and turn your life from a routine into an adventure…

…Just as emotions help us sense what we yearn for, they are the litmus test for full engagement. We feel an experience deeply when we’re fully engaged in it. So, when we ask if you’re engaged, we’re asking if you’re involved in a given activity with your heart, mind and soul. We’re asking if you are so intimately connected to a given task that you are willing to step out of your comfort zone and push yourself to get it done right. We’re asking if you’re taking risks and stretching yourself in ways that might feel uncomfortable but also provide you with such a spark that you feel as if you could set the world on fire with a touch of your hand.

Transformed! The Science of Spectacular Living

Enter whatever you’re doing, intending to be involved heart, mind, and soul. Then you can connect with truly being alive. Once you do that, you may never be bored again.


About the Author

Dr. Bob Wright

Dr. Bob Wright is an internationally recognized visionary, educator, program developer, leadership and sales executive, best-selling author and speaker. He is a co-founder of Wright and the Wright Graduate University. Follow Dr. Bob Wright on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn for more updates.


The Wright Foundation for the Realization of Human Potential is a leadership institute located in Chicago, Illinois. Wright Living performative learning programs are integrated into the curriculum at Wright Graduate University.

Here’s How to Ask Your Partner for More Intimacy

Got intimacy? If you’re wondering how to ask your partner for more intimacy and closeness, it’s important to explore what you’re really looking for.

Wondering how to ask your partner for more intimacy? Here’s how to connect with your partner to get the closeness you want and deserve.


Relationships are an adventure in intimacy and navigating our connections with others, but understanding how to get the intimacy we want can be confusing. What are we really looking for? Deeper conversations? More sex? A more attentive partner?

Here’s how to ask your partner for more intimacy and get the connection you crave.

Embark on An Adventure in Intimacy

Intimacy. It’s an often-misunderstood term. We may think intimacy refers to our physical connection. We may think of intimacy are romance, closeness, or sharing a deep conversation. Real intimacy is all these things and more.

Intimacy is about learning and growing together to fulfill our fullest potential. When we’re working on our best selves, relationships can be both a womb and a crucible. They form us and forge us into our best selves. So while it’s important that our relationships are nurturing, it’s also crucial to recognize that growth can also be a painful process.

When a butterfly emerges from a chrysalis, it must go through the struggle to build up strength. If we “help” the butterfly before it is ready, the wings will fail to develop the proper strength, and the butterfly won’t be able to fly. Similarly, when we emerge and grow into our potential, we must go through difficult challenges to increase our strength. While our relationship can support us through the lessons, our partner can’t take away our difficulties or “fix” us. In fact, our partnership is strengthened when our partner is an ally—pushing us toward our best self.


If our relationship isn’t challenging us and pushing us to grow, then it’s just a pacifier. We need the conflict to continue to evolve. Conflict is where growth and change really happen.


In our book, The Heart of the Fight, we discuss the many ways that love and intimacy are messy. It’s about embracing our roles in the relationship and working on ourselves to live extraordinary lives together. One partner may be a great parent, and one might have a great career. Relationships and intimacy are about bringing those strengths together to become transformational agents, engaged fully and intimately together, bringing out our best selves and the best in others.

Great relationships are all about engaging in the adventure of life together as partners and allies.

Yearnings and Understanding the Nature of Conflict

Our yearnings drive us. As human beings, we constantly try to fulfill our yearnings and listen to them. At times, we may deny our yearnings, but that becomes painful. We find ourselves shifting blame and being dishonest about what we want. This can cause resentments to build as we disengage from the relationship.

The truth is that many of us fall out of touch with our yearnings. We aren’t sure how to get what we truly want because we don’t know what it is. Yearnings are the deeper longings of our heart—to be loved, to be connected, to feel respected. Many of us mistake wants for yearnings. We think that we want to lose weight. We want a bigger house. We want to have fashionable clothes.

We may think that we want our partner to clean up around the house more often. We want them to take us out on a date. We want them to buy us gifts. However, the underlying yearnings go deeper than that. We want our partner to pick up the house because we yearn for the security that comes from an orderly space. We want our partner to take us out on a date because we yearn for intimacy and connection. We want our partners to buy us gifts because we yearn for love or admiration and connection.

When we confuse our wants for yearnings, we fall into a pattern of miss-wanting. We get what we thought we wanted, only to find that we’re still left unfulfilled and unsatisfied. We still long for more. We may even feel resentful or disengaged because our partner isn’t fulfilling the fairytale notion of giving us “happily ever after.”


Conflict helps us reengage with each other. It’s impossible to work for something—even a fulfilling relationship—without at least a little struggle and fight.


Think of any goal. We have to train and sweat for months if we want to run a marathon. If we want to get a promotion at work, we have to learn new tasks and work hard to get there. When we want something big, hard work is required. It’s likely going to be painful and even unpleasant at times. We can’t skip out the door one day and win a gold medal.

Most of us don’t enjoy fighting (and if we do, that can be detrimental too). Maybe we were raised to believe fighting wasn’t beneficial or that fighting would push others away. We call these types of situations “conflict-avoidant.” If we grew up in a conflict-avoidant household, it could be hard to see the merits and productivity of conflict. It’s difficult to let go of our limiting beliefs about conflict. We might feel like we shouldn’t express our yearnings or ask for what we need in a relationship.

Feeling conflicted isn’t wrong or bad. Engaging in conflict doesn’t make us mean or negative people. On the contrary, it can actually bring us closer together by moving us toward what we really want and need in the situation.

The skill in conflict is taking responsibility for our own satisfaction and then working together toward that satisfaction with a partner. People become so skilled at avoiding conflict that they avoid themselves right out of their relationship. When we avoid confrontation and conflict, we disengage. We become distant and disconnected. We might even resent our partner for not reading our minds or understanding why we’re upset.

Instead, rock the boat! Ask for more intimacy! When couples learn the rules of engagement, they learn to express their desires responsibly. They realize that conflict arises because they’re working for, not against, their relationship. Conflict is a means to strengthen our relationships and make our yearnings known.

Intimacy is Engagement

Intimacy is synonymous with engagement. If we want more intimacy, it’s not just that we want to have more sex (although physical intimacy can be an added benefit of reconnecting with our partner). It’s not that we want our partner to be more affectionate. That may be part of it, but we really want more engagement. We want our partner to connect with us, to see us, hear us, and know us.

If we think we’re moving toward our yearnings but expect our partner to get us there, we aren’t taking 100% responsibility for our own satisfaction. We are each responsible for getting satisfaction, and no one else can hand it to us. We must be learning and growing on our own, AND together.


We can get there by expressing what we want to our partner. We can tell them our expectations and share our yearnings. What would happen if we just asked? What is it that we want from our partners?


Ultimately, intimacy is about connection—loving each other and being close. It’s about wanting to have more of each other and gain a deeper understanding of the other person. Over time couples can become like systems engineers—working through the daily tasks of running a home, going to work, raising the kids. But within this scenario, intimacy is lost. We become two people bumping into each other and existing together. It requires deliberate action to get on the same page with a vision and connection. If we want it, we have to stop going through the motions and start doing the work. (It’s worth it!)

How To Get Your Partner Engaged in Your Relationship

What happens when one partner is ready to engage and get more intimacy, and the other partner is on the fence? What do we do when we tell our partner we want to build a deeper connection, and we get an eye roll because they think it sounds like B.S.?

First of all, this happens quite often. Change can be difficult and frightening, especially when we haven’t had time to process it. Our partner might be perfectly comfortable with the status quo because we’ve made them very comfortable. We’ve allowed them to ignore our yearnings and to be oblivious to our feelings. We can’t expect them to read our minds—they need to be uncomfortable too.

Too often, we get bogged down in a state where we feel sorry for ourselves and use it as an excuse for inaction. We think, “I’d love to work on myself and grow, but my partner isn’t into it. So it’s their fault that I can’t.” In reality, this is a lie.


We are each 100% responsible for our own satisfaction. If we’re learning, growing, and working to bring out our best selves, our partner must rise to the occasion. If we’re expressing our yearnings and acknowledging the truth in what our partner says, being open and honest, we will be a force to be reckoned with.


When we’re following the rules of engagement and engaging in conflict responsibly and honestly, it becomes uncomfortable for our partner to ignore our personal power and energy. They will engage with you because they have to.

It’s all about using conflict to get to the heart of what we really want. Just because one time we threw out, “I’d like to work on this,” and got shot down, we shouldn’t give up. Go for a different approach. Learn the rules of engagement and start engaging. Follow along in the book. We can get our partner to read the book with us, and if they won’t, we can start using the skills and following the rules. Eventually, our partners get curious about what we’re doing, and they will want to know more (even if they don’t admit it at first).

Relationships are beautiful and messy platforms to help us grow and change. When we’re working on our personal power, a healthy relationship is a launchpad for bringing out our next best self.

To learn more about living your best life and enjoying stronger relationships, don’t miss our courses at Wright Now. We have resources to help you discover more about yourself, your partner, your career, and your world. Get MORE today!


About the Author

Dr. Bob Wright

Dr. Bob Wright is an internationally recognized visionary, educator, program developer, leadership and sales executive, best-selling author and speaker. He is a co-founder of Wright and the Wright Graduate University.

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The Wright Foundation for the Realization of Human Potential is a leadership institute located in Chicago, Illinois. Wright Living performative learning programs are integrated into the curriculum at Wright Graduate University.

Yearnings: Follow Your Inner-GPS to Express Your Wants and Needs in a Relationship

Do you feel like you’ve been fighting over nothing lately? Does every little thing become a nitpicky fight between you and your partner?



Are you expressing your wants and needs in your relationship? It’s a tricky question, but one that most of us have pondered before.

We believe (or maybe expect) that a relationship should meet our wants and needs. We hope that our partner will “get” us and do those things that help us feel connected, happy, and fulfilled. But most of us have probably realized that our partners aren’t mind-readers. We have to express those feelings to get them on the radar—but how?

If we want to meet our wants and needs in a relationship, we need to dive in and discover our yearnings. Here’s how.

When the Thrill is Gone

It may sound harsh, but even the best relationships hit rough patches. As the old song goes, “The thrill is gone,” and some of us might be wondering where it went

When a relationship starts, we’re often energized, engaged, and ready to put our “best foot forward.” But after a few months or years, we shift out of the lavender haze and may start to feel a loss of connection. We may feel like we’ve been fighting over nothing lately. Every little thing becomes a nitpicky fight between our partner and us.

After we cool down and step away for a minute, we might think,

  • “If we could just get away for a few days, we’d probably get along better,” or…
  • “If we’d just have sex, I’m sure we would feel reconnected.”

We may feel dissatisfied, but we can’t pinpoint the actual problem. We know that neither partner is having an affair. No one has a substance abuse problem. We still genuinely love and care about each other, but we don’t get the same sense of excitement we once did. We may even find ourselves thinking about other people or remembering other relationships fondly.

Essentially—the thrill is gone. But is it really? And more importantly, can we get it back?The good news is that all of these common relationship feelings are rooted in our yearnings.


We long to have our wants and needs met in a relationship, but we might not know how to get there. These longings are what we call yearnings. They are feelings that we all have—hunger of the soul. They go deeper than “I want to look good naked” or “I want to go on vacation.”


Yearnings speak to the desires of our heart:

  • We yearn to be acknowledged and known.
  • We yearn to be seen, valued, and loved.
  • We year for respect, connection, intimacy.

For most couples, yearnings and unmet yearnings are at the root of dissatisfaction and at the heart of every fight. Our yearnings drive us. Like GPS, they steer us toward the direction of greater happiness and satisfaction. Our yearnings push us toward the things we want.

We often say that yearnings make couples tick, and unmet yearnings tick couples off.

We can imagine for a moment: what it is like when our yearnings are met in our relationship. Think of a time when we got home, and our partner’s eyes lit up when they saw us. They told us how much they missed us and couldn’t wait to hear about our day.

Imagine telling that partner about something extraordinary that happened during the day and knowing our partner is thrilled for us. Envision asking them for something that we really wanted—a dinner, a long walk, a conversation, physical contact—and having them enthusiastically agree. Or imagine telling them something we’re dissatisfied with, and they acknowledge our feelings and work together on a resolution. These would be examples of interactions that speak to our inner yearnings.

When our yearnings are ignored or unmet in our relationship, we may find ourselves drifting in opposite directions. Maybe we’re feeling distant from our partner, but we aren’t sure why. We might be afraid to bring up problems and discuss our feelings because we’re sensing a hidden middle finger (or giving one ourselves). We might withdraw from the relationship and feel a sense of disconnectedness.

Expressing Your Yearnings: It’s Not Actually About His Socks on the Floor

Our yearnings are extremely powerful. They go deeper than wishing that our spouses would stop putting their socks on the floor. But sometimes, something as simple as socks on the floor can make us feel like our yearnings are ignored and brushed aside. If having a clean, organized home is important to one partner but not the other, there might be an incongruency. That difference is underscored when the preference isn’t something that’s been clearly expressed. Often one partner doesn’t realize the importance of picking up the socks, while the other partner feels ignored and frustrated.

Years of socks on the floor pile up, and so do frustrations. Each night the irritation builds as we silently pick up our partner’s socks and seethe about it. Eventually, this can lead to resentment. We make a crack about our spouse’s sloppiness to friends. We make something he hates for dinner. We ignore his comments about his day. We’re silent and angry, and our spouse is confused about why we’re so cold and annoyed with them.

But at the root, we probably grew up in different households with differing standards of cleanliness. To one partner, socks are no big deal—a sign of feeling relaxed and comfortable. To the other partner, socks on the floor are an affront that says, “I don’t care about the work you put into our household. I don’t respect you or notice your efforts.”

We’re often engaged in these little power struggles in relationships, and we aren’t even aware that they’re happening. These little resentments and actions build up and can even cause explosive fights that seemingly go nowhere. Our partner might start picking up the socks, but it doesn’t resolve the underlying issue. At the root of the fight is often an unmet yearning.

Yearnings are significant wants and needs in a relationship. They may be:

  • Yearning to be respected,
  • Yearning to be cared for,
  • Yearning to be safe and secure,
  • Yearning to nurture and grow, and
  • Yearning to be appreciated.

Notice that nowhere on this list is “yearning for picked-up socks.” That’s because the true yearning isn’t really about the laundry pile. It’s something more poignant that runs much deeper. Yearnings are connected to the core of our humanity, existence, and identity.

Wants and Needs in a Relationship vs. Yearnings

It’s important to understand because there’s a difference between basic wants and needs in a relationship and yearnings. We often express what we think are our wants and needs, but when we get them met, we still feel unsatisfied, as though the larger issue still looms.

  • We can want our spouse to have sex with us more frequently.
  • We can want her to clean out the car when she uses it.
  • We can ask him to stop splashing toothpaste on the bathroom mirror.

When we express our wants, our partner often complies, but we may still feel annoyed. We feel like we’re nagging them or like we always have to tell them what we want. That’s a sure indication that we haven’t addressed the deeper yearnings behind our desires. A superficial action, like putting down the toilet seat or rinsing a dinner plate doesn’t really address the heart of the issue. We find ourselves running around mopping up water without fixing the broken pipe and addressing the source of the leak.


Real, true satisfaction and intimacy come from expressing our yearnings and understanding why they matter to us. This can happen in or out of a relationship. It’s about first doing the work to understand what’s going on inside our hearts and minds.


The great part is that when we identify our yearnings, we can find many different ways to get them met. It’s not just about relying on one person to do a specific action. We may yearn to connect with others, and we can do that by connecting with friends, coworkers, family, or our spouse.

If our partner simply complies with our expressed demand without understanding or learning our underlying yearning, the interaction might feel hollow or superficial. We aren’t getting those feelings of being acknowledged, appreciated, or loved. We’re simply training someone to pick up socks.

Our Yearnings Matter!

So, what about when we fight? We don’t really yearn to “win” the fight when it comes to fighting. Yes, we may want to express our point; we may think we want to win. But after we feel briefly superior and proud of our status as the “winner,” we might realize that we haven’t solved anything at all.

At the heart of many of our conflicts is fear (or the simple fact) that our yearnings aren’t being met and that we aren’t clearly expressing and requesting them from our partners. Yearning is at the core of our survival. Yearning to love and bond keeps mothers caring for their children. Yearning to be safe, sheltered, connected, and respected all have a biological imperative behind them. When our yearnings are met, we experience a rush of feel-good emotions and chemicals. When our yearnings are ignored, we experience a flood of fear, adrenalin, and stress hormones.

When we understand the neuroscience beneath our yearnings, we can quickly see why they’re so powerful and why they play such a strong role in our conflicts, especially with our partners—the people we rely on and trust.


When we feel frustrated about something our partner did, we can step back and ask ourselves, what is the underlying yearning? What do I really want from them? Is it that I want to be seen? Heard? Respected? Connected? When we identify those yearnings, we can try expressing them.


What would happen if we asked our partner for more physical contact? What if we explained why a clean house makes us feel more secure? What if we “went there” in conversation and brought our yearnings out into the light?

If we want to build stronger connections and get our yearnings met in our relationship, we must first identify them within ourselves. Then we can take steps to express our yearnings to our partner. Acknowledging our yearnings is the first battle, one we must wage within ourselves. As we come to a better understanding of what drives us, we can start expressing those wants and needs to our partners. Ultimately, when we say what we really want in our relationship, we’ll strengthen our bond and start getting closer.

For more ways to strengthen your relationships, visit Wright Now. We offer an array of courses to help you build stronger connections, discover more about yourself, and move towards the life you want—a life of more. Start getting what you want today!


About the Author

judith

Dr. Judith Wright is a media favorite, sought-after inspirational speaker, respected leader, peerless educator, bestselling author, & world-class coach. She is a co-founder of Wright and the Wright Graduate University.


The Wright Foundation for the Realization of Human Potential is a leadership institute located in Chicago, Illinois. Wright Living performative learning programs are integrated into the curriculum at Wright Graduate University.

How to Get What You Want in Life: Engage!

Are you wondering how to get what you want in life? Do you really know what you want?

Wondering how to get what you want in life? If you want a life filled with more satisfaction and joy, it’s time to engage and go for it.


It’s not uncommon to feel like we want more out of life but to feel uncertain about what a life of more really looks like. We might feel like something is missing, but we can’t really put our finger on it.

If this sounds all too familiar, here’s how to figure it out and get what you want in life. By making a few shifts in your mindset, you can discover a life of greater fulfillment, more satisfaction, and joy!

Not Sure What You Want in Life: Does this Sound Familiar?

In our career: We may be working hard at our job, climbing the ranks, and yet still feel beaten down. We might be the top salesperson or the head of our department but find that we’re still miserable at work (or at least dissatisfied). Maybe we’re missing that “high” we used to feel when we closed a deal. Still, we show up each day, do our job, and go through the motions. We don’t feel the joy, but it’s not enough to push us to leave.

In our relationships: Maybe we hear every word our partner says, we make eye contact, and nod in agreement. Maybe we can even repeat every word right back to them, but yet we still keep hearing, “I feel like you’re not listening to me.” Perhaps things have become routine, even a little boring. Between managing our household, daily tasks, and lives, we feel like two ships passing in the night. We’d love to get that spark back, but we aren’t sure how.

In our social lives: Maybe we have a great group of friends and acquaintances in our social lives. We enjoy going out to dinners, watching sports, hosting a game night, or meeting up with our buddy for a weekly trail run. We have conversations, and it’s nice, polite, and pleasant. But yet, we still feel disconnected. Our friendships don’t offer that same exhilaration we used to feel in college when we met new people that really challenged us and helped us grow.

In our free time: What free time? We’re all busy. Most of the time, we don’t sleep enough; perhaps we indulge a little too often with wine, food, and other soft addictions. Our pastimes feel like they’re all we have the capacity for, but they leave us feeling hollow. We go to the gym, and it’s the same routine—20 minutes on the treadmill, a few rounds on the weight machines, shower, return to work. We’re healthy, but we’re not where we used to be. Is it just part of getting older, or is it something else?

What’s missing in all of these areas of life? How can we get what we want in life?

Engagement!

What Does it Mean to Engage?

Many of us have heard about the importance of employee engagement at work. We may have taken a course on building intimacy in our relationships. We know engagement is a crucial part of friendship but is engagement just a buzzword? What does it really mean to engage in life?

At the Wright Foundation, we talk a great deal about engaging. Transformation and personal growth require engagement and action, but without understanding engagement, it can be hard to “get it back.” We all know when it’s missing from our lives, but recapturing those feelings of being turned on and tuned in can be an elusive task.


At the core, engagement is aliveness. When we’re engaged, we feel a sense of flow.


Most of us have felt flow at one point or another in our lives. We reach a flow state when we’re doing a job well, and we know we’re doing it well, or when we’re connected to our significant other and we’re simpatico. We experience flow when we love our hobbies and personal pursuits, and we find ourselves losing track of time and the outside world because we’re so engaged. We might feel the engagement when our conversations with friends are stimulating and enlightening. We feel aliveness when taking care of our physical body, finding ways to keep ourselves healthy, nourished, and strong. Flow happens when everything seems to be working. We feel on top of our game and on top of the world.

The hum, the buzz, the flow that we feel is engagement. We’re fully present in the moment, and we’re emotionally and physically encompassed in what we’re doing. When we’re engaged, we’re growing and learning; we’re striving and thriving. So even if we aren’t at our destination, we are on the way!

But then we peak. We reach that point where we close the big sale. We land our dream position. We have a beautiful wedding and say, “I do.” We run the 10K and cross the finish line. Once we’ve hit a goal, we might shrug and say, “Well, I guess that’s it.” Even though we accomplished something, we quickly go back to where we were before. We might wonder why or what’s wrong. Does life become less fulfilling as with experience? Is that all there is?

We need the new!

Our brains are hardwired to crave change and challenges. Even though we may think that the easy route sounds ideal or that we prefer to keep everything at status quo, our brains say otherwise. We’re designed to derive pleasure from engagement with discoveries and connections. We need new experiences to facilitate our brain’s plasticity and growth.

Neuroscience shows that it is only by engaging—being aware, paying attention, and intentionally doing new things—that we learn, grow and ultimately transform into someone doing something that would have been unimaginable without full engagement.  –Transformed! The Science of Spectacular Living

In other words, if we aren’t growing, we can’t engage. If we aren’t engaging, we’re definitely not going to get what we want in life. We’re not reaching our full potential and accomplishing the great things we could be doing with our lives. Instead, we’re going through the motions.

Seeking New Challenges to Get What You Want in Life

Each of us must seek out new challenges and new experiences to keep our minds engaged and alive. While routine can feel comforting (and can help us feel organized), we disengage when we fall into the same pattern of gym, work, dinner, and Netflix each day. We’re not getting what we want in life.


We all have desires and yearnings. Our yearnings are deep longings of the heart. If we think of what we truly want the most—acknowledgment, being respected, being loved, being seen and heard—those are the things that drive us toward our goals.


Our yearnings keep us striving toward the next peak. Many of us climb to the first summit, thinking we’ve met our goal, and we still feel unfulfilled. It’s only by climbing to the next peak and the next beyond that we can continue to find fulfillment.

To meet our goals, we need to be fully engaged. That means being present, focused, and tuned into our yearnings and emotions. When we understand our yearnings, they become our guiding star, leading us towards discoveries about ourselves and others. When we follow our yearnings and engage, we will start to feel the satisfaction of getting what we want out of life.

How Do I Know If I’m Engaging?

We might think that this all sounds well and good, but how do we really know if we’re engaging in life? Engagement isn’t simply about taking action. It’s not about listening or even about attention. We might pay attention to a movie, but often that doesn’t mean we’re fully engaged (we may even be using a film to escape from engaging in the real world).

Most of us are extremely busy, but multitasking and checking the next thing on the to-do list doesn’t mean we’re engaged either. Taking on more tasks doesn’t necessarily mean we’re engaged at work. Likewise, enjoying time with our friends or spouse—going out and being social—doesn’t mean we’re engaging in our relationships.

Instead of engaging, we might actually be suppressing our underlying wants and desires. We might be using activity to mask connections or as distractions. Engagement is emotional and visceral. It means challenging and pushing ourselves. It can mean conflict and passion. Engagement is more than filling up your calendar with activities.

Engaging with life also doesn’t mean overhauling everything or making sweeping changes. Divorcing a spouse, quitting a job, enrolling in a Ph.D. program, or going out and adopting a St. Bernard, doesn’t necessarily make us more engaged. We might still be the same person we were before. We might still feel unfulfilled and dissatisfied, but now with more debt and a dog to take care of.


Motivation for engagement shouldn’t come from a place of avoidance. Engaging means getting into things, not getting away from them. It doesn’t mean we swap out one relationship for another or seek a different career path.


Instead, engagement means we learn how to grow and transform, getting fully involved where we are. It means rather than avoiding, we roll up our sleeves and start to work on the things in front of us, rather than jumping from one ship to the next.

Engagement also isn’t limited to working hard or throwing ourselves into a single-minded task. It’s about having the grit and wherewithal to stick to something. It’s about perseverance and learning, and growing in each experience as part of a well-rounded life.

When we make mistakes, we can learn from them and build on what we’ve learned. Celebrate mistakes as a chance to grow and a sign that you’re taking risks and getting involved. Seek out new experiences and people who challenge and push you to be your best. Each experience is a chance to learn more about who we are and to uncover deeper aspects of ourselves.

Engagement is about doing things we aren’t successful at, over and over, until we get better at them. When the horse bucks us off, we dust off and get back on. We don’t just pack up our spurs and go home. Don’t rest at the summit and forget that there’s another peak to reach (and another beyond that).

To discover more ways to get what you want out of life, don’t miss our courses and resources available at Wright Now. You’ll find new ways to bring out your best in your career, your relationships, and your personal growth. So live the life you’ve always wanted—a life of more.


About the Author

Bob-300x250

Dr. Bob Wright is an internationally recognized visionary, educator, program developer, leadership and sales executive, best-selling author and speaker. He is a co-founder of Wright and the Wright Graduate University.


Wright Living is a division of the Wright Foundation for the Realization of Human Potential, a leadership institute located in Chicago, Illinois. Wright Living performative learning programs are integrated into the curriculum at Wright Graduate University.

How to Start the New Year Off Right

January is a natural time for new beginnings are fresh starts. Although we can make changes any time of year, we may feel more compelled and motivated in January.

Wondering how to start the new year off right? January is a great time to take the necessary steps to get the life you want. Let’s make this new year great!

 


 

When January begins, many of us start thinking of ways we want to improve, things we want to change, and resolutions we want to explore. If you want to start the new year off right, there are three ways to help you create the year (and the life you want).

Let’s explore how to make this our best year ever! And how will we do that? We can all take three steps to move toward what we want.

1. Let Your Yearnings Guide You Forward

Several years ago, I had a rough January 1st. I struggled with how to start the new year off right with a positive, can-do attitude. Frankly, I was burnt out. The previous year had been financially challenging, and the setback was hanging over me like a dark cloud.

At the same time, I sat looking at a list of ambitious initiatives, goals, and opportunities that I wanted to tackle in the upcoming year ahead. As I started to prioritize my steps, I felt overwhelmed. Each task seemed like the most important, and I was definitely trying to eat an elephant. We’ve all heard that “it’s easy if you take one bite at a time,” but it’s quite daunting when that immense carcass is looming. I kept telling myself to focus on each bite, taking responsibility to preserve the rest so it would still be fresh for later, but in my mind, I kept wondering how to avoid missing opportunities.

It was this mindset that began my first day of the year. I was challenged, overwhelmed, even despairing. I was haunted by my thoughts and lingering disturbing dreams from the night before. But I got up, ate breakfast, read the paper, and decided to start reviewing our latest book at the time, Transformed! I was preparing for media appearances and a book launch. I was set to go on the nationally syndicated late-night radio show Coast to Coast for three hours on January 10 and 11, so I wanted to be ready.

As I cracked the book and started to review, I hit the section about recognizing deeper yearnings—talk about being bowled over! Right there in front of me, written in black and white, was the answer to my current struggle. I realized that I forgot to walk the walk and follow my own advice.


In the book, we had said that the key to setting ourselves up for change was first to list our goals. Then we should examine each goal and ask ourselves why we want it and what we hope it will do for us. To figure this out, we use the “so that” approach. We say to ourselves, “I want this goal SO THAT____.” Then, we keep digging in until we discover the deeper yearning underneath our goal.


This was the exact answer I was looking for! I quickly called out to Judith and told her the irony of how much I needed those words right then in my life. We talked about how I needed to practice what we preach by focusing on my immediate yearnings as I went into the new year.

As Judith often wisely does, she asked me a few revealing questions. I discovered that I clearly feared pain and problems in the future rather than choosing to be fully alive in the moment. With Judith’s guidance, I also cleared up some stinking thinking that was knocking around in my head. I realized that my desire for greater financial stability and student flow stemmed from my yearning for fulfilling contact and joy.


In the moment of my despair, I was missing out on the contact and joy that I longed for. But once I recognized the yearnings under my wants, I became unstuck and could start to move forward.


The takeaway lesson in this point is that if you want to make the new year great, remember that under every surface want lies a deeper yearning. When we explore our wants and apply the “so that” exercise, we can discover that essential underlying yearning, and our path becomes clearer and focused. We can then re-orient ourselves to move toward what we are really yearning for.

2. Embrace Aliveness to Have a Great New Year

Embracing aliveness always sounds a bit strange at first. After all, we’re all alive, aren’t we? But in this context, aliveness refers to our essence—the foundational principle of play, truth, joy, love, and life. When we hold back and repress ourselves, we’re stifling our sense of aliveness. We’re missing that bubbly force that we exude when we laugh, giggle, cry, or yell. Our expressiveness is linked to our aliveness.

There’s also aliveness when our senses are heightened and our vision is clear and focused. We fix our attention, and the bubbling builds anticipation and excitement into a fountain of possibility and potential. We may discover a sense of aliveness in anticipation of a lover, as a child awaiting the return of a parent, a student eagerly expecting the results of a test. Each moment of our lives is pregnant with possibilities. We often find feelings of loss aversion in these moments—an immobilizing fear of failure or loss that shifts us into autopilot. Our fear may be almost undetectable, but it can hold us back from fulfilling our yearnings.


Aliveness is the opposite of fear. It’s the principle that unleashes those deeper yearnings and puts us in touch with our emotions in the here and now.


Our sense of aliveness brings our hunger to the surface. We may feel a hunger for experience, for contact, to see and be seen, to make a difference, or to discover something new. Aliveness brings out our longing for adventure, meaning, fulfillment, and satisfaction.

Now, engaging and moving toward our yearnings can come at a cost. We will inevitably feel hurt when we open ourselves to new possibilities and uncertainties. But in this hurt, we have a greater opportunity to learn and grow. Our awareness of our feelings expands, but so does our capacity for joy.

As you look back at the last twelve months and forward to the future, you may realize there were times you were going through the motions or weren’t really living life as fully as possible. So make the new year great by committing to seek out new experiences, adventures, and opportunities. Push through the fear and approach the world like a child—with curiosity and wonder!

3. Make this Your Year to Grow and Evolve

If you want to have the greatest year ever, make this your year of growth! Many of us have been disappointed in the past with seminars, courses, books, lectures, and events that promise us a fresh start. Then, after a month or two, we look back and think, “Well, that was an interesting experience,” and go back to our comfortable habits and patterns.

The thing about growth is that it isn’t a one-time goal. We don’t check it off the list and stop growing. We have to embrace it as a lifelong endeavor. To transform ourselves into who we want to be, we need to awaken to an assignment or task each day. We have to stretch and push ourselves toward continued growth and more mindfulness.


Each day and in each new situation we face, we can extract a lesson and discover a learning opportunity—even in our mistakes. Sometimes the most powerful lessons come from our missteps, setbacks, and challenges. We call this approach the “assignment way of living.”


Now imagine if we could go on this journey together, working with a community of like-minded individuals across the country. Imagine everyone supporting each other, connecting, and sharing their experiences as they work on assignments that help them bring out the best in themselves and in all those they meet.

At the Wright Foundation, this is exactly what we offer in our courses. We bring people together, help them connect, and empower them to discover ways to live their best life. Those who participate in our programs push themselves through new challenges based on a principle, concept, or lesson to help them focus their personal development in concert with others in the community.

We’ve built a community of students that encourage each other, inspire each other to have more effective relationships, bring more satisfaction and meaning to each moment, and offer more service to the world. In this community, we’ve maximized the potential for love, enjoyment, satisfaction, and leadership!

If you’re seeking an accessible way to challenge yourself this year and stay connected with others doing the same, take time to explore our courses and community. Follow our blog posts, read our books, or investigate our courses through Wright Now. Make this year the year you begin your journey of self-discovery and start to live your best life!

 


About the Author

Dr. Bob Wright is an internationally recognized visionary, educator, program developer, leadership and sales executive, best-selling author and speaker. He is a co-founder of Wright and the Wright Graduate University.


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The Wright Foundation for the Realization of Human Potential is a leadership institute located in Chicago, Illinois. Wright Living performative learning programs are integrated into the curriculum at Wright Graduate University.

 

 

Break Your Negative Thinking Patterns

Maybe you’re sick or feeling achy. Perhaps the day hasn’t gone your way, or you’re frustrated with a situation involving a friend, coworker, or even your spouse. Perhaps your plans were canceled, or someone backed out on you.

A black and white picture of a woman with her head down. Ever get stuck in negative thinking patterns? It’s tough to break our patterns and stop “stinking thinking” but by adjusting your perspective you can make a positive shift.


 

What do we do when faced with frustrating situations? We start a reel of tape looping in our heads, a voice saying, “You’re a loser,” or “you’re lazy,” or “no one really likes you.” Call it depression and anxiety, stress, or negative thinking, it’s no fun, and it can become quite damaging to our mood, mental health, and outlook.

No matter how old we get or how much we attempt to stay upbeat, it’s hard to get our little voice to shut up sometimes—especially when we’re feeling down in the dumps. We’ve all had those moments when we feel down and crummy. We get stuck in negative thinking patterns, and it’s hard to break out.

Stop Your Negative Thinking Patterns—They Stink!

When we get stuck in this negative self-talk and spiral of negative thinking patterns, we refer to it as “stinking thinking.” Why? Well, because these thoughts really stink!


Not only do these negative thinking patterns make us feel bad about ourselves, erode our confidence, and destroy our mood, but they’re hard to turn off. In fact, many of us have been programming our brains for years—our whole lives—to play this negative tape.


This tape of beliefs is part of our makeup, or what we call our matrix. As I work with people on their personal growth, exploring their matrix is a crucial step. When we’re in the process of growing and learning more about ourselves, we often see and start to explore the side of our matrix that’s not-so-positive.

In fact, the more we examine our thinking, try to stop negative thought patterns, and work on shifting our mindset, the harder these negative thoughts seem to fight their way up to the surface. These misbeliefs and negative thinking patterns especially come up when we experience setbacks, frustrations, and mistakes that make us want to throw in the towel (or at least start listing off excuses).

These mental roadblocks are perfectly normal and part of the process. Change is difficult and often a little scary. However, the more we lean into making personal changes and focusing on our growth, the more our minds will throw up resistance. After all, it’s easier to go back to the status quo—it’s more comfortable for our brains (but in the long run, we’re not doing our mental health any favors).

Is Our Changing Negative Thinking Patterns Worth the Effort?

It’s simple to write off our potential future as requiring too much work or being too painful to achieve. It may feel safer to keep on going about our business as usual.

But the reality is that change is constant, and it’s part of life. Whether we’re evolving into our next best self or becoming more rigid and set in our ways, we’re still constantly changing and growing. We have a choice to embrace this shift as an opportunity to learn and to become even better, more engaged, and more confident, or we can choose to resist the change, rely on our old thinking patterns, and zone out with soft addictions and time wasters. It may easier to sit back and take whatever comes our way, or we can open ourselves to the possibilities and gratitude from making the most of our lives.


When we choose to live a life of MORE, then it’s time to roll up our sleeves and do the internal work. Part of the work is exploring our values and our beliefs. To start discovering more about ourselves, we need to peel back the layers of our matrix and expose these underlying misbeliefs.


Your matrix isn’t going to like it when you start exposing it. It’s going to assert itself when you think, I have unique gifts; I can go further than I ever thought; I’m not inherently unlovable; I’m desirable, and there’s someone out there for me, or maybe I’m a lot more spiritual than I think; I can try to find a connection with a higher power. This is why stating positive affirmations alone doesn’t work—in your conscious mind, you say to yourself, I am loveable, and your matrix reacts and fights it with an unconscious response of disbelief that, if translated, might sound something like, Yeah, right. That’s why you’re sitting home watching reruns on a Saturday night instead of being out on a date.

Your matrix will reflexively attempt to restore its version of reality when it hears these positive thoughts. It will be especially assertive when you try to do something that breaks from your programming, and it doesn’t work out. It may even resort to trickery, lying low until it can subtly reassert itself. For instance, you’ve been programmed to believe your limitations, such as you’re unlovable, but…you start a relationship you think might turn into a long-term one. Then the other person breaks up with you, and your matrix says, See, you are unlovable.

Transformed! The Science of Spectacular Living

It’s common to fall back into these negative thinking patterns about ourselves, especially when doing the work. When we start to feel hopeful about the future, we set up expectations. Once these expectations go awry, it confirms our fears. We become discouraged.

The truth is, these negative thinking patterns hold us back. They don’t move us forward in a positive direction. They don’t bring us happiness, fulfillment, or satisfaction. They stink. If we want to stop o negative thinking patterns, we must rally ourselves to keep pushing through. We can focus on the deepest desires of our hearts—our yearnings. It also helps to remind ourselves that we’re working toward getting those deep needs met. In other words, we should keep our eyes on the prize (our yearnings!).

How Do You Stop Negative Thinking When You’re Sick?

A while back, I came down with the flu. It was miserable. I was congested, tired, achy, and I felt awful. I came home, and there I was, all alone. I was left with me. In bed. Sick. Feverish. Tired. Listless…but my mind was still active, thinking…

What value do I have if I am just in bed? I’m worthless unless I’m doing something. I’ve got to go to work…

As the thoughts were swirling in my mind, my husband, Bob, called out from the kitchen that he loved me. I heard myself thinking: How can you love me if I’m not doing anything?

So, I asked him exactly that question, and he responded with a smile, “I love you just for being here. You are the sweetest little being I know, even when you piss me off. Right now, you don’t piss me off; I just want to hug you.”

Bob often helps me re-program my mistaken beliefs about myself and my value, which is a process we call rematrixing. All the stinking thinking I have, such as I’m not valuable if I’m not doing something, comes from my mistaken beliefs about myself.

One of the categories of stinking thinking I am most prone to is called emotional reasoning: I feel bad, so I think I am bad. When I am sick and feel bad, I’m especially susceptible to this form of stinking thinking. I realize I need to take this message in: I am valuable and lovable. I matter. I don’t have to earn love. These are the thoughts I need to let in. I repeat them to myself like a mantra, imagining Bob’s loving expression as I say them, soaking it in.


The more I can feel the positive thoughts, the more I can rematrix these positive beliefs to let them settle deeply within myself. The more conscious I am as I do this, the more these thoughts will become my beliefs.


And what happens when I do this? Well, suddenly, I’m relaxing and actually thankful I’m sick. Being sick is a good reminder that I am valuable, I am lovable, that my being is as valuable as my doing.

It happens. We get sick, and we have bad days. Getting through it means reminding ourselves (and listening when others remind us) of our worth.

When Bad Moods Happen to Good People

We all experience a range of emotions on a daily, even hourly basis. No emotion’s “bad” or “wrong.” If we’re feeling fear, sadness, anger, or hurt, it’s an important message our brain is sending us. Our emotions are a gift, a piece of the fabric of our human existence.

So when we feel stinking thinking, or negative thought patterns coming on, we shouldn’t beat ourselves up (falling back into our old line of thinking). Instead, we can think, “I feel this way. Why?” Acknowledge it and explore it.

Now, it’s hard to stop negative thinking patterns when we’re feeling down. When something goes wrong, we’re unhappy, annoyed, or irritated, and we start to fixate (or ruminate) on these thought patterns.

When you feel defeated or unhappy, you find that all sorts of distorted imaginings—what we call stinking thinking—get in the way of your insights. You’ll tell yourself you’re being naïve or that you’re just wasting your time. Being down is your matrix’s way of reasserting itself.

Therefore, reveal to others that you are stuck and ask them to help you create a more objective, more positive sense of yourself. If you are optimistic about yourself and your future, you’ll keep these distracting thoughts at bay and actually be rematrixing. We all need support to be emotionally focused and hopeful as we gain insights into our matrix. We’re not talking about mindless Suzie Sunshine ways of being, but instead genuinely engaged ways of living life.

Transformed! The Science of Spectacular Living

When I’m struggling, like when I feel sick, I’ll often ask Bob or even my close friends for affirmation. Sometimes it’s as simple as hearing I’m loved. Other times I’ll ask for a deeper, “Why?”

This affirmation helps me reset my negative thought patterns and reminds me of my value. It reiterates that I don’t need to earn love—I’m a person worthy of love just as I am.

When this is affirmed for me, I often really take time to soak the message in. I may repeat it to myself, envisioning my loving ally in my mind as I repeat the thoughts that I’m valuable. I’m loved, just as I am. My yearnings are being met.

So, when we’re feeling down, negative, and frustrated, we can lean on an ally to help confirm and remind us of our importance. We ARE important. Each person is a valuable gift with endless potential. Rather than focusing on our mistakes and shortfalls, which we all have, remember within each of us lies a unique, special person. What we bring to the world is only ours; our personal potential.

Turn down the volume on your stinking thinking and stop the loop of tape. Instead, acknowledge the ways you are growing and evolving into your next best self.

For more ways on how you can break your negative thinking patterns, please explore our courses available at Wright Now. We have courses to help you explore your potential, boost your relationships, move forward in your career, and live the life of your dreams.

 


 

The Wright Foundation for the Realization of Human Potential is a leadership institute located in Chicago, Illinois. Wright Foundation performative learning programs are integrated into the curriculum at Wright Graduate University.

 

Discovering Your Purpose: How to Find More Meaning Each Day

We’ve all gone through times when we’ve felt aimless, unfocused, or maybe a little empty. We might wonder what is the meaning of it all? Or feel like is this all there is?


 

Find more meaning in your life every day by discovering your purpose.


When life becomes challenging and sometimes even boring, we can become disheartened and untethered. We might feel empty or wonder if we’ve somehow lost our sense of purpose. When this happens, are we doomed to wander through the days as the years speed up and pass us by? Is there a way we can get back that sense of meaning?

For some of us, these feelings spur us to take drastic measures. We might take them as a sign we need to quit our jobs, end a relationship, or move to a different house. We might believe if only we made some change or had some “thing” new and novel in our lives, we would find fulfillment and happiness. But as most people find out, getting more stuff and even making drastic changes doesn’t result in discovering your purpose.

Discovering Your Purpose By Definition

What is purpose anyway? It’s a big, big question. The simplest answer? Purpose is the wonderful capacity in each of us to joyously take our place in the progress of humanity and do our part to help all of us reach our full potential.

Purpose is the heart of the matter—it’s the “why” behind what we do. Our purpose summarizes our reason for doing what we’re doing with our lives. Purpose is the answer to questions like, “What is this all for?” and “Is this it? Is this all there is?”

When we experience these seemingly hard-to-answer questions, we might find ourselves looking in strange places for the cure. Some folks buy a motorcycle, take a sabbatical, or quit their day job. Other people might simply try to drown out their feelings of dissatisfaction by turning to soft addictions—binging on television, zoning out on social media, overeating, shopping too much, and generally pursuing activities that act more like a salve than a panacea.

Without purpose, we won’t find satisfaction in our activities; no matter how fun, how delicious, or how pleasurable, the moment they are over, we’re returned to the nagging sense of emptiness. It’s like an itch we can’t scratch. We’re longing for more but try as we might quite hit the mark.

Why We Must Have Purpose

To be successful in life, we must find our own purpose. It looks different for everyone, and no two paths are alike.


Without a sense of purpose, we’re just floating around…lost. We’re going through the motions; we’re checked out and zoned out. We’re filling our lives with pacifiers. We’re disengaged and disconnected. Maybe we’re finding little successes and joys along the way, but without a true sense of purpose, we get the sense we aren’t quite there.


When we feel lost or unfocused (or simply “blah”), we should check our sense of purpose. Maybe we’re pretty fulfilled at work and love our job, but our marriage has lost the fire. Perhaps our marriage is okay, but we think our social life is lacking and dread going to work. Maybe all areas of our life could use some work, or perhaps there’s a specific part that doesn’t seem to be hitting the mark.

Purpose is something that’s got to exist in all areas of our life. It’s a 360-degree goal. Purpose transcends our entire being. It’s one of those things: we’ve either got it, and it spills over into all facets of our lives, or we’ve lost it, and it starts to suck the meaning and fulfillment out of all our activities. Yes, it’s true–if we notice a lack of fulfillment in one area, we can be sure that, like dominoes, other areas will soon follow.

Purpose matters.

Discovering Your Life Purpose: The Big Picture

You might be wondering, “what is the purpose of my life, then? How do I discover this great sense of purpose?”

A clear life purpose gives meaning to all activities. When we have purpose, we’re fully engaged and all-in in everything we do. We’re firing on all cylinders. When we find purpose, even mundane activities become opportunities to mindfully learn and explore. Our days become an adventure, and our world becomes anew.


Life purpose is the container into which we fit our goals. It’s our vision—the whole picture. Our purpose is the summation of what we’re working toward.


For some, finding purpose means connecting with God or religion or discovering a higher power. For others, it’s about making a difference, connecting with humanity, and feeling secure that we’re working from a place where we help all those we touch. It can mean engaging in challenging and stimulating relationships, connecting with others, and pushing ourselves in our work and our play. For many of us, it’s all those activities and more. Purpose goes even deeper than just participating in religion or giving to charity; it’s more than just finding success in our work and having all of the checks on our “bucket list” ticked off. It’s MORE.

At first blush, “finding our life purpose” sounds like it’s all about personal satisfaction and how we individually want to be fulfilled. But true purpose is beyond our own ego and super-ego. It seeps into and goes beyond the essence of our actions and personality. Purpose is everywhere.

Our purpose is about the way we’re fulfilled, but it’s through the fulfillment of others’ needs and our role in the lives around us. It’s about elevating those around us and bringing out their best—which in turn, brings out our own best self. Purpose challenges us and leads us to discoveries, insights, and realizations. Purpose connects us and strengthens our relationships.

If we think of a projector shining concentrated light through film onto a screen, life purpose is the lens through which life flows to project our highest vision.

It’s about becoming visionary leaders. It’s about being the light to those around us.

True transformational leaders have vision, but their singular goal isn’t to simply achieve that vision. It’s to embrace and share their vision with those around them. It’s to listen, connect and engage with those they come in contact with to help them realize their vision as well.


Transformers live purposefully and with intent. They don’t meander through their days; they are on purpose—to follow and fulfill their yearning to learn, grow, love, and be loved, to matter, to make a difference. Transformers care so deeply about living with intent and pursuing their purpose that they can preserve through extreme hardship. Their yearning is so powerful that they feel compelled to engage…To develop the sense of mission and purpose, dedicate yourself to follow your deeper yearning—substantial, real, here-and-now yearning—and your purpose will emerge. Purpose is not an escape, and rarely is it a charity or cause alone—it’s a way of living. It is something that is a unique expression of you.

Transformed! The Science of Spectacular Living


Getting Fulfillment Now

Most of us wait, not feeling fulfilled until we accomplish certain goals or hit milestones—rather than experiencing fulfillment in every moment and every situation. By orienting to purpose, we see greater possibility in every situation and stop waiting to live and love because we are living and loving our fullest toward our highest, honoring life in all its manifestations.

Purpose provides the focus for the fulfillment of our heart’s desires, which automatically leads us to even more extraordinary accomplishments.

Now you’re probably thinking, “Well, that sounds all well and wonderful, but okay, how do I DO it? How do I unlock MY purpose?”

To find your purpose, you must truly understand yourself. It requires us to explore our yearnings. We must look into the history of where our innermost desires and the longings of our hearts come from and identify them. Do we want to be loved? To be respected? To be heard? What is our truth?

We need to dive in and explore our social and emotional intelligence to identify our yearnings. It takes work. Our selves are sometimes our greatest mystery. We can be so aware of those around us, the world we live in (current events, politics, the financial climate), and the state of our social circle—and yet, we might be blind to what’s genuinely driving us. We might not understand our capacity for emotional intelligence and how to unlock our hidden superpowers of empathy and understanding.

Is it simple to gain a deeper understanding of ourselves? No. It can take years of work and growth. It can mean facing some hard truths and working through the baggage and limiting beliefs we’ve been carrying around and laboring under. It means opening up and starting to change and grow. Finding purpose means pushing ourselves WAY outside our comfort zone and into a whole new world of possibility.

The first step of the journey is to WANT to change—to have a desire for more. By simply wanting to find your purpose, you’re already opening yourself to the possibility that there’s a greater answer and more to unlock than meets the eye.

So start today! Roll up your sleeves. Engage in the world around you! It’s never too late to find your purpose, unlock your hidden yearnings, and lead your best life!

To learn more about finding your sense of purpose, please explore our courses on Wright Now. We offer an array of interactive resources to help you learn more about your relationships, your career, and yourself. If you’re ready to start living a life of MORE, there’s no better time than now!

 


Wright Living is a division of the Wright Foundation for the Realization of Human Potential, a leadership institute located in Chicago, Illinois. Wright Living performative learning programs are integrated into the curriculum at Wright Graduate University.

Is Your Relationship Stuck? Here’s How to Break Out of the Boredom

Maybe you feel like everything is going along “fine” in your relationship? Perhaps you’re feeling comfortable and safe in a long-term connection…but are you really just stuck?


Is your relationship stuck? This couple is stuck in boredom, not intimacy.


 

Maybe you’re wondering how to move forward in a relationship. How does your partner feel?

If you feel stuck in a relationship, it’s time to face the truth: If one of you feels stuck, you’re BOTH stuck.

But the good news is, just because you feel stuck in a relationship doesn’t mean that it’s doomed. It means you may be looking to your relationship for fulfillment when REALLY you should be taking a look inward. Happiness isn’t dependent on being in (or out) of a relationship. Each person is responsible for his or her own happiness.

How to Know if You’re Stuck in a Relationship

Are you wondering if your relationship is stuck in a rut? Well, ask yourself:

  • Is it exciting?
  • Is it engaging?
  • Are you growing?

If you answer no to any of these questions, it’s time to roll up your sleeves and get to work on ways to move forward in your relationship. Relationship boredom can cause us to seek novelty elsewhere. Many times, it’s not because the relationship is irrevocably broken or damaged, but it’s because we need to work on finding novelty and fulfillment within our own lives. We get bored because we feel we aren’t personally growing. Rather than doing the internal work, we shift the blame to our partner.

Have you ever thought, “He doesn’t make me happy,” or, “I wish she could make me feel better?” If we’re looking for someone else to bring us satisfaction, we’re setting ourselves and our partner up for disappointment. When it doesn’t happen, we feel stuck in a relationship or wonder where we’re going.

It makes sense that we’ve adopted this idea of fairy tale romance, considering that we so often see it portrayed in romantic movies, books, TV, and more. The idea of finding someone who “completes us” or who exists to make us happy is appealing, but of course, it’s also false. Happy relationships take work on both sides independently. No one else is responsible for our happiness.

Whether you’ve been in a relationship for a few months or married for 30+ years, you still need to focus on finding a constant state of growth—within the relationship and beyond. As humans, we’re continually evolving, learning, and changing. We’re seeking new stimuli and new experiences. It’s those new insights and happenings that help us discover more about ourselves and strengthen our connection with our partner.

Are You Learning and Growing Together and Separately?

We often start dating someone because we have a lot in common—typically, that means we like the same activities, live in the same area, and go to the same spots. But how important are those commonalities? Do we really need to enjoy the same activities as our significant other?

Common interests are well and good, but they don’t form the core of your relationship. We all enjoy doing things with our spouse or partner that we both find mutually entertaining and fun. Conversely, if we don’t feel excited about the same interests or share the same tastes, that doesn’t mean a relationship is doomed or can’t work.


Life is busy and complicated, but the capacity to learn and grow is always within our ability. With that comes our capacity to love and engage in a fulfilling relationship.


Cheering for the same sports team or enjoying the same music may seem like a common bond, but a strong connection runs deeper than that. We can enjoy completely different hobbies, a different type of job, and different friends and still share a deep connection. Conversely, we can enjoy all the same activities and still feel like strangers.

Relationships should be nurturing—a womb—safe place to grow and find sustenance for your soul. They can be a refuge and a place to help us. At the same time, our relationships should be a crucible—a place to shape and mold us into what we can potentially become. These two sides are not mutually exclusive but rather working in tandem.

That growth comes from learning, sharing, and working on goals together. When you talk to your partner, do you share your hopes and dreams? Do you tell them about the plans you’re working toward in the future? Or do you find yourself discussing the logistics of the day? If your conversations stay in the shallow end of the pool, then it’s time to dive in.

You may even want to approach time with your partner with an agenda! Now, that may sound like the opposite of exciting, but when you go into time together with an intention to share and connect, you’ll find even stronger engagement. Having an agenda helps you set that intention and maximize your engagement, especially if the two of you are busy and those precious moments together go by quickly.

Consider working on a personal goal together by holding each other accountable. If you want to learn something new, be more outgoing, or explore a new interest, set a goal together. You don’t need to complete each step of the activity with each other, but reporting and sharing your experience can help you discover more profound insights and form a more robust partnership because you’re working on a new “assignment” TOGETHER.

Is growing and changing always easy? No, but you should always be in a place of transition and transformation, rather than somewhere you feel “stuck.” If you’re still feeling stuck, it’s time to get to the real underlying issues within yourself.

Don’t Shy Away from Conflict

If we’re feeling bored in a relationship, it may also be an indication that we’ve stopped rocking the boat. If you’re avoiding arguments with your spouse by silently stewing alone—don’t! It’s time to start battling towards bliss!

Many of us were raised to avoid conflict. Avoidance leads to stunted emotions, withholding, and resentment. If you’ve ever given your significant other the silent treatment or felt irritated as you did something for them, you’ve experienced the dangers of staying silent. After time, passive-aggressive actions and reactions start to erode trust in the relationship. We’re constantly frustrated but refusing to express that frustration and get it out in the open.

We need to allow ourselves to feel the whole range of human emotions and express those emotions. Arguing is perfectly okay, as long as it is with intention. Believe it or not–arguing can actually strengthen a relationship. When we argue, we express truth and authenticity. We’re telling someone how we really feel, and that expression is key to building a stronger connection.

Now there are ways we can fight FOR the relationship rather than fighting against our partner. In the book The Heart of the Fight, we explore many common fights and how to set up basic rules of engagement. It’s not about avoiding the conflicts or smoothing things over, but about opening up to each other and finding even more intimacy during our arguments.


Passion is a state of being alive—being emotional and feeling. Sometimes opening up that conflict and expressing those feelings can help us engage more deeply and feel even more passionately about our partner than we did before.


We have different wants and different needs, and those differences lead to conflict. It’s just a fact that all humans face—but a couple that is growing together uses that conflict to connect, understand, and find common ground.

Look at your emotional core and the work you need to do. We often reach to our partners for our own happiness and validation, which can lead to blame and resentment. Take a long hard look at your historical patterns in your relationships and make sure you aren’t falling into common traps like codependency or emotional withdrawal. Try to understand your role in the conflict and how you are reacting to your partner.

Often when one partner is experiencing strong conflict and an emotional reaction, it can stem from our history, our relationships with our parents, siblings, and past interactions we’ve had with others. If you’re feeling that your relationship is fraught with arguments or continuously leaving you feeling frustrated, then you may have some serious reflection and work to do on your own.

The Need for Attention

We all need attention, and our partners do, too. Sometimes the way we acknowledge our partner, their feelings, accomplishments, and disappointments, might not be the way they’re hoping for. Sometimes they may not acknowledge us in the way that we desire either.

Expressing your needs to your partner and engaging in a dynamic relationship is part of the process. The other part is taking personal responsibility for our OWN happiness and our own need for attention. Realizing we have to manage our internal conflicts first is an important step.

Quality communication—talking, touching, supporting, listening, and relating—are at the basis of a strong relationship. We need to examine the ways our partner fills our needs and the way we fill our partner’s needs. Relationships need to nourish us and help us grow and evolve. As you work with your partner and work within your relationship, you may find that those “stuck” feelings quickly dissolve as you both start to evolve.

When we feel boredom or dissatisfaction, it can indicate we need to explore ways to bring MORE learning, more experience, and more purpose to our own lives. We can set these goals for more personal discovery, regardless of our relationship status. Working on ourselves can happen on our own or with a partner, but it’s the counterfoil to our feelings of restlessness.

If you’re looking for deeper, more meaningful relationships, order The Heart of The Fight. We’ll explore how you can get yourself back on track to move forward in a relationship toward the life you both want.

 

 

How to Make a Boring Relationship Fun Again

Relationship boredom. It happens, even to seemingly happy, strong relationships.

Why do some relationships lose their spark? How do you make a boring relationship fun again? Here’s how to overcome relationship “blahs” and reconnect with your partner.


One day, you look at your partner and wonder how you became so distant. Sometimes we get busy, life moves along, we’re going about our day-to-day activities, but we just don’t feel the same spark we once did.

What can we do about it? How do you make a boring relationship fun again? How can you get back the spark?

Is the Thrill Really Gone?

Studies show that boredom is a true relationship issue. Couples don’t break up because of bad stuff…they break up because there’s a lack of good stuff holding them together. When we feel dissatisfied in our relationships, we may start to seek attention elsewhere. We’re looking for novelty.

Think back to the days at the beginning of your relationship. Chances are you were feeling high on your partner. You were stimulated by all this new information. You couldn’t wait to know more about this fascinating, attractive, engrossing person you were dating.

As the years go by, that newness fades. It’s not because our partner has changed or become less fascinating, attractive, or engrossing. It’s because they’re less new. There’s less to discover about them. The fun and exciting exploration wanes.

I was working with Sharon, who told me of her 25-year marriage, “My mother always said, ‘settle for boring and stable over exciting.’ So, I guess I’m expecting too much from Dale. Maybe I should just be happy that he’s a nice guy who’s a decent breadwinner and leave it at that.”

As we explored this a bit more, I said, “Well, what first drew you to him? Did you always find him, ‘boring and stable’?”

“Oh no! When we were younger Dale was always so intelligent and interesting to talk to. We used to stay up having these fascinating talks about science and space. It was like he knew something about almost everything. He was this shaggy-haired, professor who drove around on his moped, played guitar, and read Carl Sagan.”

As we talked further, she realized it wasn’t that she had settled for her husband. It was that she had settled for that status quo in the relationship and in her life overall. She admitted that she wasn’t satisfied in other areas of her life as well—her job, her relationship with her friends. We talked about ways to raise her expectations all around, both of her relationship and herself.


We get used to our relationship routine. It becomes familiar and comfortable. While comfort in a relationship isn’t a bad thing at all, it’s not always conducive to growth.


We can think of our relationships as both a womb and a crucible: a place where we are nourished and nurtured, and also a place where we’re forged and become stronger. In both cases, it’s important to remember that growth isn’t always a comfortable or static state. Sometimes it’s painful.

The spark found at the beginning of a relationship doesn’t go away with time, but you’re used to the thrill of it. This isn’t just relegated to the bedroom “spark” either. The attraction and passion you feel at the beginning comes from intimacy, yes, but intimacy is also born from engagement and connection. Making a boring relationship fun again means finding that connection again.

There’s a great importance of novelty. Trying new things, learning, and discovering are vital to our happiness and sense of purpose. Novelty wakes our brain up; it helps us feel more alive, engaged, and stimulated. When we do something new, life becomes an adventure!

This attraction to the new and exciting goes back to what’s called the self-expansion theory. Our relationships expand and influence our interests. When we try new activities, we start to see life differently. The way we feel changes. Each interaction shapes and expands who we are at our core.

So, the truth of the matter is, perhaps it’s not your relationship that’s lost the spark and needs work. What are you bringing to the relationship and how are you fueling the fire? It’s really the spark inside YOU that needs to be rekindled!

How to Get the Spark Back

If the passion and zest for our relationship starts with us, how do we get that feeling back? How do we reengage and rediscover our partner and ourselves?

Couples grow stronger through affirming, celebrating, and empowering each other. Sharing power, making decisions together, and working as a team.

Carol, another woman I worked with, was a married, working mom of two. One of her children had developmental issues and required a lot of her attention. She was feeling frazzled, unappreciated, and stuck in the monotony of every day life.

She realized part of her frustration was coming from the lack of support she felt from her husband, Dave. It wasn’t that he didn’t help, but he wasn’t as expressive as she would have preferred. “He never says, ‘I love you,’ spontaneously. I feel like he never tells me, ‘you’re doing a great job.’” We talked about the ways Dave did express his affection—through doing things for her and assisting her.

So, how could she shift the pattern they were stuck in? How could she get the affirmation she was craving?

Carol began a new habit whenever Dave did something nice for her. She would say out loud, “Oh you did this for me?! That means you love and appreciate me!”

He would, of course, respond by saying, “Yes, exactly!”

The more he was affirming her, the better she felt. She appreciated his help and naturally, he started doing even more to assist her with the children and around the house. She felt loved and he felt better about himself and more empowered in the relationship.


Sometimes stopping a tedious cycle means engaging in real, truthful communication.


It means that you and your partner need to stop talking about just the logistics and minutia of the day and discuss the big stuff.

Those topics that might even feel scary or “off-limits” are exactly what we should get out in the open. It’s time to “go there” instead of avoiding it.

Now, all couples talk about what’s for dinner, what’s on the agenda this weekend, or who’s going to run the next errand. But sometimes these little topics take over our conversations. We stop discussing feelings, hopes, fears, and our vision for the future. We lose sight of the bigger picture and deeper meaning in our union.

Get back to getting to know each other. Find time to talk about the bigger topics, rather than the logistics of the day. What’s weighing on your heart and your mind? What challenges have you faced recently? What support are you looking for from your partner? What do you appreciate about them and how do you want to support their dreams?

Don’t be afraid to talk about the difficult topics either. Be honest about what upsets you and what resentments you might be feeling. Tell your partner what you don’t like and what’s frustrating you. Agree to speak and listen in turn, without interruption. Express what you’re feeling honestly and truthfully and hold space for your partner to do the same. Conflict and yes, fighting, can bring us closer together. Difficult, honest, and even angry fights are more helpful than bottling up our feelings or sweeping them under the rug. Get it out and battle your way toward bliss.

Making a Boring Relationship Fun Again Starts with YOU

Remember—boredom isn’t just about your relationship. It starts by looking within yourself. Feelings of boredom and disconnection in your relationship are often mirrored in other areas of your life. Are you disengaged with your partner or are you disengaged all around? It’s easy to say, “my relationship isn’t making me happy anymore,” but our happiness is our responsibility.

In our book, The Heart of the Fight, we discuss the Rules of Engagement. These are 7 important rules to fighting fair and productively in your relationship. One of the most important of these rules is that YOU are 100% responsible for your own happiness. Similarly, no one in a relationship can take more than 50% of the blame. Remember, it takes two to tango. It’s not your partner’s responsibility to make you happy, nor is it fair to blame more than 50% of your relationship frustrations on your partner.

What can you do to add more excitement and adventure in your life? How can you become engaged, fulfilled and satisfied? Look at what areas of your life may need some attention.

Get Naked for Greater Intimacy

Excitement in a relationship comes from building a stronger connection and discovering new aspects of our partner. While we may think of the bedroom as the place for intimacy, we can have true intimacy anywhere and everywhere. Sex may be a great way to express intimacy, but it’s not the only way and usually not the best way to express our connection. Our connection comes through being emotionally open…naked and honest with our partner.

When we bring this level of intimacy into every day, each moment of our life together becomes foreplay. We experience greater closeness and joy. Now, this doesn’t come by simply being affectionate with our partner. This comes from digging in and forging ahead together. It comes from teamwork and working together toward a goal. It can be fun, but intimacy also comes from work.

We can liberate ourselves from our patterns and break out of our routine by mixing things up. This means making the choice to fight FOR our relationship rather than fighting against our partner. Fight to bring back the thrill. Refocus your efforts from being annoyed or indifferent toward your partner, to finding new ways to connect. How can you introduce novelty and variety into the every day?


Too many couples settle into boring routines, which is deadly to relationships (Tsapelas, Aron, and Orbuch, 2009). Couples who keep learning, growing, and changing have exciting, satisfying, close relationships. Make your dates count. Exciting dates are better than pleasant ones (Aron et al. 2000, Lyuobomirsky 2013). Go deep. Have a “challenge date” at least once a month. Challenge each other— discuss issues outside the relationship and make observations about how each of you is generating problems for yourself at work, with friends, or in other areas outside the couple relationship. Support each other to keep learning and growing to be your best. Have “show- and- tell” and “inspiration” dates regularly where each of you brings new ideas, demonstrates a new skill, and shares what you are learning and what inspires you.
The Heart of the Fight

So, if you’re ready to make a boring relationship fun again, roll up your sleeves and get to work! Find ways to introduce novelty and excitement into your everyday life. Examine your needs and yearnings and express them to your partner.

Embark on a project with your partner, take a class, try a new hobby, or go on an adventure. Engage in honest, open discussions and focus on bringing the intimacy and connection back to your relationship.

For more ways to strengthen your relationships please visit The Wright Foundation. We have a number of exciting networking events on the calendar, giving you a great chance to connect with others on their journey. Start your self-discovery today and unleash your fullest potential.


About the Author

Judith Wright receives the Visionary Leader Award from Chicago NAWBO.

Dr. Judith Wright is a media favorite, sought-after inspirational speaker, respected leader, peerless educator, bestselling author, & world-class coach.
She is a co-founder of The Wright Foundation and the Wright Graduate University.


Loving the content and want more? Follow Judith on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest!

Liked this post and want more? Sign up for updates – free!

The Wright Foundation for the Realization of Human Potential is a leadership institute located in Chicago, Illinois. Wright Foundation performative learning programs are integrated into the curriculum at Wright Graduate University.

We Are All Connected: Engaging with Others

Engaging with others is part of living a truly great life. After all, surrounding ourselves with others and building our connections is one of the ways we learn and grow.

Would you like to get better at engaging with others? We all share a human connection, here’s how to tap into our common bond for more meaningful interactions.


Our connections to one another are ingrained in our very humanity.

As the saying goes, no man is an island. If we want to tap into our personal power and reach our highest potential, we need support from others. We need to become more engaged with our friends, allies, and the people we encounter.

But what does engaging with others really mean? We hear advice about becoming more engaged at work, more engaged socially, more engaged with our communities…but many people aren’t sure where to start. What does it really mean to engage?

What It Means to Really Engage

To reach our fullest potential, we need to understand ourselves, our environment, our career, and our lives. To gain a deeper, fuller understanding, we must dive in and engage.

When we’re engaged, we’re more present, more aware, more mindful, and conscious of what’s going on around us. Engaged people are in touch with what drives them and propels them forward. They’ve identified their yearnings and are working to fulfill them.

No matter what we’re doing in life, we can explore the deeper yearning driving us. For example, I speak up because I yearn to matter. I go to school because I yearn for accomplishments. I’m expressing myself because I yearn to create.

There is a deeper why—a longing of the heart—propelling us toward most of our activities. As we explore those yearnings and deep drivers, we gain an understanding of ourselves. We also gain a deeper understanding of other people and their yearnings.


It is the moment-by-moment practice of engaging that helps you become more spontaneous and more present in each moment. You step outside your comfort zone, try new things, take risks, and turn your life from a routine into an adventure…
…If you’re like most people, you’re scratching your head and wondering what it really means to engage. Some of you may believe that engaging means paying attention. You listen to every word your husband says (and could even repeat it back). Some of you may think it means focusing on the task at hand. You concentrate on your work assignments and don’t allow your attention to wander.
These are all forms of engaging, but they are probably not full engagement because you have feelings, urges, and yearnings that you aren’t bringing to bear. Engaging is a deeper and wider concept than just listening or concentrating, though these are important elements of engaging.
To be truly engaged, your yearning and your emotions must be involved. You may be completely focused on your new boss at work, a new date, or shopping at an exclusive new store, but even if you are totally turned on by your favorite designer’s hot new collection, these activities don’t satisfy a deeper yearning, and therefore your engagement takes place only on a superficial level. Worrying about the new boss, being curious about the new date or, sorry to say, even finding the hottest new designer shoes doesn’t qualify as fulfilling a yearning, nor does being kind of high and buzzed constitute real emotion.
Similarly, if your mind is into something but your heart is not, you’re lacking the emotional involvement that distinguishes true engagement. Just as emotions help us sense what we yearn for, they are the litmus test for full engagement. We feel an experience deeply when we’re fully engaged in it. So when we ask if you’re engaged, we’re asking if you’re involved in a given activity with your heart, mind, and soul. We’re asking if you are so intimately connected to a given task that you are willing to step out of your comfort zone and push yourself to get it done right. We’re asking if you’re taking risks and stretching yourself in ways that might feel uncomfortable but also provide you with such a spark that you feel as if you could set the world on fire with a touch of your hand.
 Transformed! The Science of Spectacular Living

Engaging is exciting! In fact, engaging has a ripple effect throughout our lives—every area becomes more enriching and juicier as you become more engaged. You’ll face greater challenges, you’ll tackle new endeavors, you’ll reach for new heights. As you engage, you’ll discover new aspects of yourself you didn’t realize existed and you’ll find more joy and satisfaction in your activities.

This sounds pretty great, right? You’re probably thinking, “I want more of that!” So why do we get so much out of engaging with others and following our urges? How do we become better engagers?

Understanding the Engagement Continuum

To understand why engaging with others is so powerful, we should understand engagement exists on a continuum.

Wright's Model of the Engagement Continuum

On one side of the engagement continuum, there’s the person who’s not listening at all. Imagine grunts, uh-huh, yup, nope, and yeah: the most minimal answers possible and extremely low to no engagement.

Then as you move across the continuum, you get the typical “small talk”:

What about all this rain?

Cute shirt.

Thank goodness it’s Friday, right?

Did you see the game this weekend?

Not exactly groundbreaking conversation, right? Small talk is simply words to fill up the silence. It is used when someone wants deeper engagement but isn’t sure of the approach. It may simply be used when someone isn’t comfortable with the situation, like in an elevator, on the train, at the grocery store…

As we get further across the engagement continuum we start to see where true engagement happens. These are the moments when we’re truly engaging with others. We’re in touch with them. We’re connected. We’re fully present and conscious.


This deeper engagement requires you to understand your own feelings and yearnings. It also requires awareness of what other people are yearning for as well. This is where engagement becomes more profound and meaningful.


On farthest end of the continuum is transformative engagement. This is when a person says, “I’m in touch with myself. I’m in touch with you. I’m in touch with the yearnings of the world around us.” You discover yourself in the engagement and recognize those around you. This true state of intimacy happens when you challenge yourself to know every single part of who you are.

Engagement and intimacy are intertwined. The more engaged we are, the more intimate and close our connection. Engagement gives us greater personal power and influence. When we interact with others, they feel seen, heard, and cared about.

The Secrets of Excellent Engagers

If you want to get more out of your communication, start engaging on the deeper side of the continuum. Become emotionally and cognitively present. Tap into your yearnings and the yearnings of those around you.

Remember, activity and attention aren’t the same as engagement. You may feel very focused and engrossed in the latest Netflix series or as you spend hours on Pinterest. You may be busy in the kitchen, at the gym, even at the office. But these aren’t examples of truly engaging.


True engagement works toward satisfying a yearning—not a simple want, but a deep longing. Busyness and even fun will pass the time, but they don’t usually satisfy our underlying yearnings.


Similarly, engagement doesn’t mean making sweeping changes (like quitting your job or moving to a new town). Even though these changes may seem like a magical solution to your problems or a way to meet your yearnings, we often end up emotionally in the same unsatisfied place.

Engaging isn’t a single-minded focus or an obsession, either. Imagine training for a marathon or a bike race. You may be highly driven and focused on your goal, but how are the other areas of your life fairing in the meantime? Often, we become deeply engaged in one area of our life, like work or a hobby, but we’re completely disengaged in other areas like family, spirituality, or friendships. This kind of obsessive engagement masks as achievement, but often leaves us empty. We still climb the same hill (or train for the next race) wondering why we never feel truly fulfilled.

When we’re only engaged in one area of our lives, like work, the area itself may even suffer. We may find we’re putting in long hours at the office, but our career is stalled. This is because we need 360 degree engagement, following our yearnings in all areas of our life to continue taking appropriate risks, learning and growing.

Truly great engagers have developed their grit. They keep going and aren’t afraid to make mistakes. They are willing to accept that growth is painful and hurts at times, and they still forge ahead. They seek novelty and new experiences. They explore their yearnings and the yearnings of others. They’re constantly learning and growing.

And what does all this engagement do for us?


Perhaps best of all, engaging gets you juiced. To transform, you need energy, and engaging is like plugging into your own personal power socket. It creates the momentum necessary to keep you moving through the steps of the process. It serves as a catalyst for the journey that Transformers take, providing the impetus to get you moving in a new direction.
Research from the relatively new field of positive psychology—created in order to study and apply scientific methods to aspects of living fulfilling lives—provides compelling evidence for why engaging is key to our happiness and well-being. Sometimes described as leading “an engaged life” or being “in the flow,” engaging is one of the key elements of authentic happiness.
The key to being happy at work can be seen as intentional engaging—being curious, taking initiative, suggesting improvements, asking for additional work, helping others, and being creative. It seems we are designed to derive pleasure from engaging. Neuroscientists have discovered that our brains light up in ways that result in positive experiences when we are engaging in new things. The novelty of engaging helps facilitate our brain plasticity and, ultimately, our transformation by activating the property of the brain that allows us to learn, grow, change, and fulfill our potential. Neuroscience shows that it is only by engaging—being aware, paying attention, and intentionally doing new things—that we learn, grow, and ultimately transform into someone doing something that would have been unimaginable without full engagement.
Transformed! The Science of Spectacular Living

So, if you’re ready to truly discover your connections with others and tap into your fullest potential, engage! Test it out—take a day where you focus on being more mindful, more deeply engaged in each interaction and conversation. See how often you can operate on the right side of the engagement continuum and watch what happens.

Engagement is a lifelong process, a key to our growth and transformation. If you’re ready to start living your best life, become more engaged.

For more on tapping into your fullest potential and personal power, please visit us at the Wright Foundation. Explore the courses and great resources we offer on our site, to help you stretch your skills and connect with others. Join us for an upcoming networking event where you’ll meet and connect with others on their journey.


About the Author

Judith Wright receives the Visionary Leader Award from Chicago NAWBO.

Dr. Judith Wright is a media favorite, sought-after inspirational speaker, respected leader, peerless educator, bestselling author, & world-class coach.
She is a co-founder of The Wright Foundation and the Wright Graduate University.


Loving the content and want more? Follow Judith on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest!

Liked this post and want more? Sign up for updates – free!

The Wright Foundation for the Realization of Human Potential is a leadership institute located in Chicago, Illinois. Wright Foundation performative learning programs are integrated into the curriculum at Wright Graduate University.