Looking for Fulfillment? Just Google It.

by Alli Polin on November 8, 2013

what's the secret to a fulfilling life?

Google, long ago, ceased to just be a company name and is now a verb.  Want to know something?  Just google it.  It’s all there, at our fingertips 24/7.  It’s amazing, almost anything you want to know not only has one or two articles written about it but approximately one zillion (give or take a few).  Not only can you learn to grill a steak to perfection, get your newborn to sleep through the night and find the date for literally anything but also you can find the secret to living a fulfilling life.

There is a Wikipedia page on the meaning of life.
Wikihow offers us 25 steps to make friends (Really?  25?)
Tiny Buddha offers us tips on how to find ourselves when we’re most lost
Forbes brings us the fastest way to make a million dollars – just ask for it
Oprah chimes in with how to find a hobby you love (and of course, need right now)

The problem is, that if you turn to Google to figure out how to live a fulfilling life, you’re going to be stuck reading for approximately the next million years instead of doing what it is that you say that you want to do – living.

At one point, I was caught up in the fact that I did not have a hobby.  You’re supposed to have a hobby, something outside of work that you love more than work and keeps you fresh, energized and alive, right?.  Everyone I knew had an obsession with something, but was it a hobby?  Did it matter?

The Quest for a Hobby

I tried latch hook.  I had a five-year plan for my first creation because it was so boring it would take me five years to spend enough time with it to get it done.  Finally, I got smart and just tossed the box and my dreams of being a latch hooker extraordinaire.  Who would have thought Alli and hooker would be in the same sentence!?  Clearly, not meant to be.

I tried scrapbooking.  It seemed social and would be preserving memories of important family moments.  I have friends that love it and I’m good at it!  Problem is, I hate it.  My favorite part about scrapbooking is the moment the book is complete. That hobby attempt was more of an obsession to get it done than enjoying the process.

I tried running.  Ok, nature and I and then oh, ow, shin splints.  Done.

I started to get frustrated.  Who needs a hobby to have a fulfilling life? I do cool work, blog, plan amazing travel adventures, read tons of books, play with my family… Wait a sec.  Rewind.  Travel, books, adventure, play.  Sneaking in there as a part of living I was actually doing what I love.  Finding energy and happiness without labels.  Imagine that.  

Do I have a hobby?  I’m going with no.  I have a full life that sparks my imagination, creativity, sense of play and brings me alive.  Part of having a full life is enjoying it, immersed in the moment.  I’ve had work moments that were like magic too – so fun I was afraid that someone would notice and ask me to stop!

Work, hobbies, meaning, happiness… all come from living, not googling.

The next time you hop on Google to google something, do something with the information.  Propel your life forward with gusto.

Break the Frame ACTION:

Stop worrying that if you don’t have what others have somehow you, and your life, are less than ideal.  Who knows best what’s ideal for you?  [Drum Roll Please…] YOU.

What about you?  What’s the craziest thing you’ve ever googled?  What did you discover?

For coaching, consulting or speaking Let’s Connect!

{ 19 comments… read them below or add one }

Callie November 8, 2013 at 6:05 am

Oh Alli, this really made me laugh out loud! Latch-hooking?!!

Google really isn’t the answer to our inner happiness (& a way to guide our extraordinary life!), you are so right: the keys are “finding energy and happiness without labels” and “play” … *hurrah*

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Alli Polin November 8, 2013 at 6:36 am

I am sincerely sorry if I offend the latch-hook lovers of the world – sooooo boring.

I know that you’re all for PLAY!!! Me too! And laughter and living life to the fullest…

Thanks, Callie!

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Jon Mertz November 8, 2013 at 7:42 am

Alli,

I think part of the joy of life is trying different things! You just never know what will make you say “I want to do more of this!”

Awhile back, one of the top keywords bringing people to my site was “blowing dandelions.” That always fascinated me. Why those key words? I had a post referencing them but a top referral? You just never know what people are looking for but we all hope we find it. Maybe the lesson is just don’t be like a dandelion in the wind!

Thanks! Jon

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Alli Polin November 8, 2013 at 8:52 am

Fascinating! Blowing dandelions.

We are indeed all searching. What makes us stop, pulls us in, and change our way of being and doing is worth every moment it takes to find it – even if it’s through a few random hours spent on Google.

Thanks, Jon!

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Stephen Lahey November 8, 2013 at 9:07 am

This year, my hobby of choice has been podcasting. I love conversations with interesting people. That’s how I got to know you, of course. 🙂

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Alli Polin November 8, 2013 at 9:18 am

Your hobby adds exceptional value to many people! So happy to have connected with you and been introduced to your wonderful podcast!

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Terri Klass November 8, 2013 at 5:59 pm

I have had this discussion about hobbies with so many of my family members and friends. Maybe because we need to write it down in various places like a resume or an application. This is my feeling. Just find things to that bring you joy and fun! When we find things that excite us, we are adding true meaning to our lives and that’s what matters.
By the way, I think I am the only person I know who doesn’t knit! I’d rather read or go to the gym or take a walk with a friend.
Thanks for some interesting ponder, Alli! Loved the post!

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Alli Polin November 10, 2013 at 4:31 am

Terri – I think you really hit on something. We feel like we have to have a hobby that is nice and neat and fits on a small line on an application. Something that makes us interesting and stand out and something to talk about 🙂 Truth is, a hobby should bring us happiness! It’s for us to enjoy – not a just conversation starter!

Oh my gosh – knitting is so hot I feel uncool because I don’t do it! I’ve even thought about it and really, knit-wear and Alice Springs do not go hand in hand. Besides, I have a feeling I won’t like it any more than latch hook.

Thanks for shining some more light on hobbies, fulfillment and what really brings joy!

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Chantal Bechervaise November 8, 2013 at 6:30 pm

Alli – I know what your hobby is – it is writing inspiring posts like this one and sharing your wisdom and knowledge with the world. Your passion and love of what you do shines through. Why can’t work be a hobby if you enjoy and love what you do?
I have googled a many different things but I do put to use the info that I search for. I have had some pretty interesting google searches when we had our “hobby” farm. 🙂

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Alli Polin November 10, 2013 at 3:59 am

Chantal –

I do love blogging. It’s fun to share observations and have a conversation with amazing people like you!

As for your question, can work be a hobby? I think work can inspire, give us energy and be incredibly fun – if that’s what having a hobby is all about… big yes! I admit, it’s pretty awesome when you’re bummed it’s time to go to sleep and fabulous that you get to do what you love again tomorrow.

Thanks so much, Chantal! Appreciate you!!

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Dr. Christi Hegstad November 9, 2013 at 8:38 am

I love this Alli! So often we think we need to *add* more to our lives in order to be fulfilled – and the thought of adding one more thing (like latch-hooking 😉 to an already bustling schedule is overwhelming. Your post shows how if we simply pause and look at the richness already present – and perhaps consciously choose to embrace and engage that – we can live with more meaning *starting now*.
Awesome!
Christi

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Alli Polin November 10, 2013 at 4:41 am

Christi –

You summed up so beautifully what I was trying to express. One more should-have, should-do or must-do just adds to the stress of life. The pause is so critical because it’s in that moment that we can really “be with” what’s happening and present in our lives without the need to look back or move forward. It’s a moment of really enjoying the juicy goodness that we allow ourselves all too rarely.

This week I’ve been traveling with family and on social media less and away from work (mostly) and I Googled A TON before my trip and now I’m just enjoying the moments we have together – engaged.

Thanks so much for your insights, Christi!

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Aaron Andrews November 9, 2013 at 11:06 am

Great article! We live in a time where the internet is a part of most of our daily routines. Sometimes we need to just unplug and live life! We deprive ourselves the fullness of life when we are constantly looking for answers on Google. This is something I am trying to get better at. I rely on Google to tell me about certain things instead of just going out and experiencing them on my own! Some times it’s fun not to know what to expect! Lol

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Alli Polin November 10, 2013 at 4:08 am

Aaron –

Unplugging seems harder and harder these days. Sadly, I have had too many evenings of dueling laptops with my husband instead of time talking after a long day at work.

Still… I’m so with you and I’m not sure if it’s a good thing or not. I use Google to find things to see and do and sometimes watch videos that are really like spoilers for the experience. It can amp up the excitement level as we get pumped for our adventures!

Thanks so much for taking the time to comment Aaron and for sharing your insights. Much appreciated!

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Michael Feeley November 10, 2013 at 12:57 am

Hooker…I’m not calling names, I’m just laughing because you have a great sense of humor. Wonderful energy too and you always surprise.

It’s true what you say about our joy and loves being right before us…right in our face. Family, travel ++

My hobby is gardening. Has been for a LONG time. It’s all about caring for something. Creating and being part of the world. It’s simple, hard work, relaxing too.

Thanks for keeping us informed and aware Alli.

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Alli Polin November 10, 2013 at 4:27 am

Michael –

We can get so obsessed with searching for something to make us complete that we don’t realize that we absolutely already are complete.

I wish I loved gardening! What I love about the IDEA of gardening is twofold: 1) I love beauty in my space and flowers, veg, plants all add to creating an environment that brings a sense of peace and happiness. 2) It seem so Zen. Love that you pointed out that it’s also about caring for something. Beautiful!

I’m no longer a hooker (thank goodness!!) but I’m also appreciative that I have a full life.

Thanks so much!! Appreciate your wisdom.

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LaRae Quy November 11, 2013 at 9:59 pm

You have a wicked sense of humor!

Isn’t life the BEST when you wake up and look forward to the day’s activities?

Whenever I buy those fulfillment articles and books, I walk away thinking I’ve missed something in life…but all I’m really missing is a few more $$$ from my pocket 🙁

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Alli Polin November 12, 2013 at 1:09 am

Agree! It is the best to wake up energized and excited about the day!

We’re all searching, wondering if someone else’s life has more rainbows and unicorns because they appear to have “it all.” Shocking to discover that we too, have “it all.”

Thanks, LaRae!

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richmiraclefiles November 12, 2013 at 5:33 am

Hi Alli
The Buddha said desire is the root cause of misery.He was right because we always desire.Because of this our desires remain unfulfilled for a finite duration.And in this waiting period ,while our desires are awaiting manifestation we make ourselves unhappy.We make ourselves miserable due to temporarily unfulfilled desires.
That is why when we google for something we embark upon a project and while it is yet gestating we dump it midway and latch onto another one.
That happens to alot of us.perhaps the way out of that is to persist for 21 days,as that is the advisable period for turning something into a habit.
Thanks
Mona

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