How to live a fulfilling life.

How to Live a Fulfilling Life Beyond the Rut – BtR 268

We have a discussion on how to live a fulfilling life through balancing the areas of faith, family, fitness, finances, and your outlook on future possibilities.


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Happy Life Versus Fulfilled Life

“I’m just not happy in my ____.” Have you caught yourself saying this before? If so, you may be stuck in a rut. Positive psychology, such as what is described in Shawn Achor’s The Happiness Advantage, posits that if we put on a happy mindset or a positive mindset, then the happiness we are looking for will come. That is a gross over-simplification. You can listen to our 2-part series on The Happiness Advantage here.

Positive psychology is a great start and a very important one, however as an emotion, happiness can be fleeting and not very sustainable. What we may be looking for is how to live a fulfilling life.

I’ve been saying lately, “Life is just too dang short to live stuck in a rut.” When you ask yourself about the meaning of life, how will you measure that things are going well? How will you determine that it was meaningful?

Fulfillment is the process of living a valued life. It’s a life where your pursuits align with what you are passionate about and what matters to you (Dr. Barbera, Ph.D.) The framework at Beyond the Rut focuses on five circles that overlap to create your life, and that is what we are discussing in this episode.

How to Live a Fulfilling Life Using the Five F’s

At Beyond the Rut, we believe that once you have declared the values that you choose to live by there are five areas that create the stage for a meaningful life. Those five areas are referred to simply as “The Five F’s”, Faith, Family, Fitness, Finances, and Future Possibility. When these areas are aligned to your values and balanced, you will experience contentment being neither in a rut nor on the verge of burnout. 

Let’s take a look at how you can find fulfillment as you live intentionally in these five areas.


This is about believing in something greater than yourself, having a purpose in your life. For Christians, it is following the teaching of Jesus and living in a way that shows the grace and forgiveness He has given you. That’s the only difference in this area.

Not everyone who comes to Beyond the Rut to listen to the show and follow our posts is a Christian. This circle can still apply. What is the change you want to see in the world? What is your higher purpose going to be? How do you want to impact other people for the better?

Pursuing a path where you know and feel you will make a significant impact in the lives of others is a key element on how to live a fulling life. You’re living by a code, a mantra, and carrying out a mission.

Recommended Reading

The Purpose-Driven Life: What on Earth am I Here For written by Rick Warren was published in 2002 and meant to be a wake-up call to Christians about living with purpose. 

Man’s Search for Meaning by Viktor E. Frankl shares his experiences in the World War II Nazi concentration camps and the following search for meaning in life.


There is the family you are born into, good or bad, and there is the family you create. We mostly talk about the family you create. Family comes in many shapes and sizes today. The important thing is knowing how to create healthy relationships and boundaries that work for your family.

While the main focus on Beyond the Rut will typically be in the context of “biblical” and heteronormative marriage, we will at the core explore what creates healthy relationships. How to create a fulfilling life through the creation of healthy relationships.

Recommended Reading

Why Marriages Succeed or Fail: And How You Can Make Yours Last by Dr. John Gottman explores the characteristics of marriages that succeed while others fail. This is the book where the “Magic Ratio” was discovered.

Fight Fair: Winning at Conflict without Losing at Love by Tim and Joy Downs provides practical tips on how to stay calm in an argument and approach issues as two members on the same team.


Take care of your body, mind, and soul and you’ll set the stage for a long fulfilled life. That pretty much sums up why this section is important. Our levels of physical health can influence our confidence. Our mental health is important to handle the ups and downs life throws at us.

Recommended Reading

Let us know in the comments what your favorite fitness-related books are.


Money does not buy your happiness, and the pursuit of money is not how you find a life of fulfillment. Money is, however, a resource to be managed. Money itself is not evil. The love for money is where we can become obsessed with taking away from our faith and family. A lack of it can create stress that distracts us. Whether you make a lot or a little, it is important that you are in control of your finances and making it work for the life you want to build.

Recommended Reading

Total Money Makeover by Dave Ramsey

The Automatic Millionaire by David Bach 

Justifying Happiness written by Beyond the Rut alum Dan Hinz


Future Possibility

The area of Future Possibility has to do with personal and professional development. You were not meant to live stuck in a rut. Personal growth prepares you for future possibilities whether or not they are planned. How do you live a fulfilling life beyond the rut? Intentionally make yourself better today than you were yesterday. Take another step forward the next day, and repeat.

Recommended Reading

The Leadership Challenge by James Kouzes and Barry Posner

CHANGES: The Busy Professional’s Guide to Reducing Stress, Accomplishing Goals and Mastering Adaptability by Michael Chastain-Diettrich

Listen to these past episodes:

Try These Tips to Master Money Issues in Marriage During a Pandemic with Dan Hinz – BtR 237

3 Hacks to Master Change at Work Michael Diettrich-Chastain – BtR 249

If You Only Have Five Years to Live – BtR 045

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Episode Credits

Host, Editing, and Production: Jerry Dugan

Music: “Oceans Apart” is our theme song composed and performed by Scott Ian Holmes.

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