Weekend Reading: Oliver Burkeman's Last Column: The Eight Secrets to a (Fairly) Fulfilled Life

This article appears as part of Casey Weade's Weekend Reading for Retirees series. Every Friday, Casey highlights four hand-picked articles on trending retirement topics and delivers them straight to your email inbox. Get on the list here.
Weekend reading eight secrets to a fulfilling life Weekend reading eight secrets to a fulfilling life
Weekend Reading

There is no exact “secret recipe” to human happiness, but here, you’ll find eight principles from an author who has studied and written about what lends to a fulfilling life for over a decade. Some of his biggest takeaways include:


📌 There will always be too much to do, which is a realization that is liberating: Many of us feel as if we’re in a rat race to “get it all done”, but the reality is, that’s impossible. Instead of feeling as if you haven’t accomplished enough, shift your mindset and consciously choose what to “neglect” so you can focus on what matters most.

📌 When stumped by a life choice, choose “enlargement” over happiness: Rather than asking yourself, “Will this make me happy” in the midst of a big decision, instead ask, “Will this choice enlarge me or diminish me?” to truly elicit a more accurate direction.

📌 The capacity to tolerate minor discomfort is a superpower: Wading through “tolerable levels of unpleasantness” instead of putting something off due to fear can reap you quick rewards.

📌 The future will never provide the reassurance you seek from it: Don’t try to control what you cannot control (the future). Instead, make plans, but free yourself of worrying if they will play out as intended, and focus more on the present moment.

Build a big future: Your “retirement” should be a time to seek an even more fulfilling life, not a period in which all discomfort of the past is avoided.