Curiosity, Gratitude & Spirituality – 3 Steps for a Meaningful Life

It’s easy to take life for granted. We assume we’ll live to be at least 80, we’ll always have that job, our tea will always be hot, we’ll always have food to eat, and that our pet will always come up to us showing love.

Already thinking how can all this be true? Of course, our tea won’t stay hot forever, within the next second we might face a huge recession and lose our jobs and who knows we might live till 80?

So we know that nothing is permanent, right?

But, sometimes we fall into the trap of acting like things are permanent, that everything will stay the same. We start ignoring opportunities that can change our lives to better, being satisfied with what we just have.

We didn’t think if our comfort will always be exactly as it is. In other words, we lose touch with our strengths that add “meaning in life” and fall into the trap of taking things for granted.

Here are these strengths and how they can help us achieve a meaningful life:

Curiosity

If you are high in curiosity, you love to explore what’s new and unique. Novelty is your best friend. Making inquiries is your default approach. Trying new foods and different cuisines, meeting new people, and making trips to new places are ways you fulfill your curiosity forever.

When you utilize curiosity to explore the world, you are looking, wandering, and wondering– you are looking for experiences, you are looking for adventures. Along these lines, you are attempting to understand your experiences and your general surroundings. That sort of attempt and sense-making is known as coherence and is the main component of meaning in life.

Gratitude

Gratitude goes beyond expressing thanks to somebody who has been decent to you or has given you a gift or a blessing.

People who are thankful have a wide feeling of gratefulness for life– they appreciate their very own life, regardless of whether they are in the midst of battles. They rush to catch themselves underestimating life or taking life for granted.

These people are thankful for every opportunity that comes their way, and they never let a good chance pass by.

These are the people who can quickly move their concentration from autopilot thoughtlessness to mindful attention. They notice what is great around them and what could be made greater by simple efforts 🙂

Spirituality

Spirituality has been defined consistently as the search for or communing with the sacred.

But what is sacred?  

Sacred is one of a kind to every individual. It can be spending time with your kid, taking part in a religious custom, enjoying the magnificence of nature, or even contributing to other people’s development.

Gautam Buddha was also a teacher, did you know that? Teaching was holy to him.

Even traveling solo is sacred because many people do that not just to explore the world but to explore themselves. They travel around and notice things. They leave a mark wherever they go. They find themselves and find a meaning of their life.

Meaning of life fits this strength like a pen in hand. If you are investing time deliberately engaging in what you accept as sacred, unique, or heavenly, it would be almost difficult to not see that as meaningful and important in the meantime.

When we permeate something as holy we are pressing significance filled goals and vitality toward that path. We are demolishing the effect of taking life for granted.

By using these strengths, we can achieve anything!

We can easily overcome every situation or battle we are fighting.

How? Because these strengths never let us give up and we hope for better and taking every chance we get as an opportunity.

So, how are you using these strengths in your favor? Let us know in the comments!

To read next: Choices, chances & changes – Three Cs that can change your life

The Lion King And His Road To Leadership

For most of us, The Lion King was an important part of our young lives. It is a moving story about the circle of life, that portrays a lion cub’s journey to adulthood and the royal throne.

If for some reason you don’t know the story, here’s a brief summary.

Simba is the son of the powerful and beloved King Mufasa. He is an honored prince who is far from danger, as he grows up in a very caring family and a protected environment. But his happy days turn into tragedy when his cunning and evil uncle, Scar, murders his father and influences Simba to think that the tragedy was a fault.

Scared and guilty, Simba runs from the kingdom and lands in a jungle. There he learns to live a carefree life with his new friends Pumbaa, the warthog, and Timon, the meerkat.

The story rolls on for some time and takes a turn the day his father’s spirit visits him and asks him to go back and defeat the wicked Scar to repossess his Rightful Throne.

After rewatching The Lion King for the umpteenth time after growing up, it becomes clear that the movie was full of life lessons and that it shapes our own lives.

With The Lion King we learned about right and wrong, the importance of following your heart, and some other things that we’re about to list for you now:

1. Respect others, regardless of who they are or where they stand

“Mufasa: Simba, everything you see exists together in a delicate balance. As a king, you need to understand that balance and respect all the creatures, from the crawling ant to the leaping antelope.

Simba: But dad, don’t we eat the antelope?

Mufasa: Yes, Simba, but let me explain. When we die, our bodies become the grass, and the antelope eat the grass. And so we are all connected in the great Circle of Life.

From a young age, Mufasa taught Simba that even though lions are the most powerful animals in the kingdom, they would be nothing without the other species existing in their ecosystem.

Life is all about respecting and treating others the way you wish to be treated.

There are leaders and then there are those who lead. Every individual is an important part of your life and you must respect that person. That is what makes you a good leader.

Actions, not position matters.

2. Lead by Example

“Believe in yourself and there will come a day when others will have no choice but to believe in you.”

– Mufasa

Scar was under the impression that all of the animals would become his loyal followers once he became the next king.  However, this was not the case.

He learned it the hard way that demanding respect is not the same as earning respect.

Simba, on the other hand, became a leader in his own right, by treating outsiders Timon and Pumbaa with respect.  The same applies to us – leadership is not just about having a glamorous title, but rather it is earned by gaining the respect of your co-members.

If you are a leader of a team, your responsibility is to lead and make sure that your members are growing with you along the way.

3. Believe in the Power of Hakuna Matata

“It means no worries for the rest of your days!” 

– Timon and Pumbaa

Is there a better life motto than this?

No, we reply. Because we’ve all been there, thinking about how much time we waste worrying about what needs to be done, instead of focusing on the task at hand.

While some worrying is healthy, chronic worrying actually makes you far less productive at work.

Living by Timon and Pumbaa’s “problem-free philosophy” will help to keep you focused on one project at a time, motivating you to get those tasks checked off your to-do list.

4. Leadership is not about position

“There’s more to being king than just getting your way all the time.” 

-Mufasa

Right in the beginning, Simba famously sings about how he “just can’t wait to be King.” But seeing his father Mufasa meet his untimely fate due to his position showed Simba that being King isn’t a role to take lightly.

Mufasa taught Simba some great lessons about life and leadership and made some big decisions as a ruler to keep everyone safe and content.

A leader must know what he’s in for and be willing to accept the full responsibilities of the role – for better or for worse. Deep inside we all are very powerful to accomplish great things. All we need is the realization that I Can Do It’.

5. Become a Lifelong Learner

“Oh yes, the past can hurt.  But the way I see it, you can either run from it or learn from it.” 

– Rafiki

One of the major plot points throughout The Lion King is watching Simba grow from a rambunctious cub to a fierce lion.  

Along this journey, Simba learned valuable lessons from Mufasa, Rafiki, Timon, and Pumbaa. All of them shaped him into an effective leader once it was time to take his rightful place as King.  

A good leader should strive to be like Simba by taking a lifelong learner mindset.  

Realize who you are and unlock your true potential, by tapping into the power of your deepest motives and values. True leaders commit to perpetual growth, discovery, and learning.

Another sub-life-lesson, just because everyone tells you that you’re a lion, doesn’t mean you can’t do non-lion-y stuff. You should be whoever you want to be, and eat whatever you want to eat.

As you can see, just because it’s tagged as “childhood movie” doesn’t mean it’s just for children!

There are many lessons we can – and should- take from our childhood. So next time you are wondering what to do on a Saturday night when it’s raining, just think to yourself “Hakuna-Matata!”

Which other movies have inspired you to be a better person?  Let us know in the comments section below!

If you liked this blog, you may also like: 6 Life Lessons That FRIENDS Taught Us


Written by

Studying bachelor’s in biotechnology, Aayushi is a really passionate person, who loves to read and travel. She believes people, places, and stories have the power to change anyone and help them understand the purpose of life.

5 Reasons Why Traveling Can be Your Best Teacher

“Traveling is a brutality. It forces you to trust strangers and to lose sight of all that familiar comfort of home and friends.

You are constantly off balance. Nothing is yours except the essential things: air, sleep, dreams, sea, the sky – all things tending towards the eternal or what we imagine of it.”

Cesare Pavese

I live for exploring the world, trying new things, and meeting passionate people    

Very often, when I’m craving for adventure but am stuck with work, I scroll through Facebook, Instagram, and all the social media sites, in an attempt to quench my thirst for exploration.

However, this doesn’t work.

Instead, I just watch people go away on seemingly incredible adventures, having the time of their lives, while I’m at home working on the computer, wondering when I would go on my own.

This entire scenario puts me in a state of despondency, for I know it’s about time that I start to focus on things that nurture my soul.

Hence, I decided to take a break from my daily life and feed my wanderlust!

It’s easy to get bogged down by all the day-to-day pressures and get stuck in a continuous cycle of work and life commitments. However, having new experiences and pushing ourselves out of our comfort zone on a daily basis is essential for growth, balance, and happiness.

I have always believed that travel teaches you without a scorecard.

It enriches and molds you gently. When you step out to see the world – meet people, get acquainted with different cultures, taste new cuisines or simply breathe in an unfamiliar city – you learn a lot!

I have had incredible learnings through my travels and  I am keener than ever to learn more through it.

Here are the top  5 things that I have learned from my travels so far.

1. Listening to my inner voice

Being alone for most of the time while traveling, introspection is the one thing that happens to all of us!

Even though I would do the same back home, being completely alone in a foreign environment heightened it.  It can really teach you a thing or two about yourself.

When you’re away from everything you‘ll be surprised by the magnitude of the zen you experience!

Probably the most important lesson of all that comes from traveling is that you are stronger than you thought yourself to be.

2. Seeking out people with different beliefs and views of the world and getting to know their perspective

Some of my beliefs about the world are not in unanimity with a lot of people.  If everyone thought like me, the world would’ve been quite boring.

So when I meet someone with a very different belief system to mine, I try to mix with them rather than trying to “change” them. Despite all the external differences, people are the same everywhere you go.

They’re driven by all the usual urges; from base fear and anger right through to the most awe-inspiring generosity and love. There are innumerable instances when total strangers have strengthened my faith in humanity: chasing me down to return dropped money, inviting me to family dinner, etc.

When you stop seeing people as some different from yourselves, I reckon you can relate to just about anyone.

3. Lessons come in the most unlikely times

While traveling solo, we interact with people around us: on buses, trains, and planes throughout the journey. Every new person we meet offers an intriguing story and maybe even a shred of wisdom.

When we surround ourselves with a variety of different people, we learn a lot.

Go and explore all you possibly can. For not all classrooms have 4 walls. 🙂

Through our conversations, we realize how different our lives are. We also learn that most of us, in spite of the cultural differences,  eventually want the same thing: happiness.

4. To accept kindness with humility

Without even realizing it, most of us follow a cynical attitude towards people.

It’s a great shame because we often overlook genuine kindness in the world. When we travel, we’re bound to meet a whole new variety of people. Not everybody is going to be kind, but accept that some people are.

Meeting people through your travels will teach you to accept kindness – often from strangers. And it is your job to be open to invitations.

Accept the chai latte from the shop owner, accept the invitation to the local family wedding, and accept kindness whenever can – the rewards will be enriching.

5. Amazing things lies on the other side of fear

Fear paralyzes us. We miss out on tons of opportunities because of our fears.

Traveling alone, for instance, may be something you’ve always wanted to do. What stops you from doing it? Besides money, it’s probably fear. You overlook all the excitement and focus on all the bad things that could possibly happen.

Sometimes, we need to do the things that scare us the most because it’s often on the other side of fear, that we discover the most amazing things. Trust me, it’s the most liberating thing ever!

“If you’re twenty-two, physically fit, hungry to learn and be better, I urge you to travel – as far and as widely as possible. Sleep on floors if you have to. Find out how other people live and eat and cook. Learn from them – wherever you go.”

– Anthony Bourdain

Travel isn’t always blissful and comfortable. Sometimes it hurts, it even breaks your heart. But that’s okay.

The journey changes you; it should change you. It leaves marks on your memory, on your consciousness, on your heart, and on your soul. You take something with you.

Depending on where you go, you’ll see the different strata of the society. You’ll realize that everyone, in a way, is fighting the same battles as we are, only the environs are different.

Traveling changes you completely.

It gets you in touch with a  side of the world that not everybody knows. It changes your perspective on things and life.  Explore, dream and discover.

To Live an Experience like this, find an opportunity on aiesec.org.

To read next: 7 Things I Achieved Thanks to my Exchange in Turkey


Written by

Studying bachelor’s in biotechnology, Aayushi is a really passionate person, who loves to read and travel. She believes people, places, and stories have the power to change anyone and help them understand the purpose of life.

4 Lessons to Take from Rajkumar Hirani’s “Sanju”

Rajkumar Hirani’s ‘ Sanju ’ became one of the massive hits from Bollywood. Besides that, it also helped both Ranbir Kapoor and Sanjay Dutt to elevate their film career.

Although the film gained appreciations from all quarters, it was also criticized for not showing all the aspects of the actor’s life. The film focused mainly on the father-son relationship between Sanjay and Sunil Dutt, and how his friends influenced his life.

Henceforth, the film showcased everyday life, which every person experiences in life – actor or non-actor.  

sanju


But here are some very
important lessons that Hirani’s movie taught us 🙂


You can pick yourself up, even after falling

Due to his drug addiction, “Sanjay Dutt’ was sent to rehab. But, he started to pick himself up. However, the withdrawal symptoms became too painful, and his body craved drugs.

sanju as a begger

As a result, he ran away from rehab. During his time away, he begged on the streets to reach New York to his friend who could lend him money for drugs. And when he finally reached, he found his father there who got him back into the rehab. After this time though, Sanju was determined to make it through.

Invest in yourself if you need to

After coming back from rehab, Sanju hit the gym with a vengeance. He poured all his anger, frustration and insecurities into lifting weights, and no longer sought peace or comfort in drugs.

He started working on improving his acting skills and picked roles that suited his image and helped him in building on his strengths.

sanju with a guitar

A key turning point in his acting career was when he signed up for the role of “Munnabhai MBBS” with father Sunil Dutt which he played effortlessly.

Your time will definitely come if you are right

Sanju was labeled as a terrorist by the media, under the TADA act for possessing an AK 56 rifle in connection with Mumbai blasts.

A lawyer advised him to accept the charges and turn as an approver, in exchange for which the lawyer can get him released. After this, he should run from India and live abroad.

sanju

Sanju refused to do it. As a consequence, he was sentenced to prison for 5 years for possession of arms. But, Supreme Court also removed the label of terrorist from him mentioning that, owning of arms doesn’t make him a terrorist. Hence, he served his time and was released later.

Had he ran from the country, he wouldn’t have been able to remove the tag of a terrorist that he was labelled with.

Depression is not the end of your life

His career and personal life had many ups and downs. In fact, he didn’t even remember the last moments of his mother’s life. His girlfriend ended up marrying someone else. All of this happened because of his drug addiction.

When Sanju was in depression and became a drug addict, he went to his father and asked for his help. Sunil Dutt admitted him to rehab, which occupied nearly one and a half year of his life to overcome the problem of drugs.

The movie was brutally harsh as it spoke of a broken childhood, drug abuse, the effect of bad company, imprisonment and also some consequences of a bad mental health (taking drugs in stress and it’s after effects).

Sanju teaches us important lessons which are really needed today.

Sometimes we may come under bad influences by circumstance, or do something wrong. But we can always come out of it and become a better person, even becoming an inspiration too 😉

Well, overcoming challenges always makes us a better person. At AIESEC we also believe that great things come out from our comforts zone. Therefore, we provide opportunities that put people into a challenging environment to bring out the best in them 🙂

What are the lessons that you learned from Sanju? Do let us know in the comments section below!

If you liked this blog, you may also like 6 Life Lessons That FRIENDS taught Us.


Written by

Anisha Bhawanani is graduated in Marketing and Finance and loves writing. She is a happy go lucky girl with a head full of dreams, very passionate about traveling and exploring different cultures. One day she wants to win a man booker prize.