How to Achieve Fulfillment

EQ Durban, EQ South Africa
Written by: Avril Kidd
Category: Habits | Life Skills
Happiness and fulfillment are within our grasp, but sometimes just out of reach. We spend so much time chasing what we believe will bring us happiness but maybe we should be working on becoming fulfilled.

Life is more meaningful when our goal is fulfillment rather than gratification.

Have you ever wondered about the difference between happiness and fulfillment?

The Oxford dictionary’s definition of happy is “feeling or showing pleasure or contentment”.

Fulfillment is defined as “satisfaction or happiness as a result of fully developing one’s abilities or character”.

Fulfillment is the things in life that feed our heart and soul, like healthy relationships, enjoyable physical activity, a satisfying career, and meaningful spiritual practice. These things can satisfy our deepest hunger, a hunger for a happy and fulfilling life.

The difference between happiness and fulfillment is the difference between liking something and loving something. Happiness comes from what we do. Fulfillment comes from why we do it.

Simon Sinek uses the example of how, at times, we may not like our children but we always love them. He compares this to loving your job or where you work but at times are not liking some days there.

Happiness is often linked to hedonism and can be a fleeting emotional state, says clinical psychologist Khosi Jiyane. Happiness comes and goes whilst Fulfillment lasts.

Fulfillment comes from relationships, belonging, and purpose says Sinek.

Sinek also speaks about a finite and infinite life. To lead a finite life, we would accumulate as much as we can in our lifetime: money, power, the need to be the best. Whilst living an
infinite life means we want to leave the world a better place; we want to positively impact the people around us; to teach others so that they will carry on your work after you are gone.

Dewitt Jones refers to “Being the Best FOR the World” rather than “Being the Best IN the world”. The difference may appear subtle but take some time to reflect on what it means.

I have always loved the answer that the Dalai Lama gave when asked this question: “What thing about humanity surprises you the most?”

His answer was as follows …

Because he sacrifices his health in order to make money.
Then he sacrifices his money to recuperate his health.
And then he is so anxious about the future that he doesn’t enjoy the present.
And as a result he doesn’t live in the present or the future.
And he lives as if he’s never going to die, and then he dies having never really lived.

Working hard for something we don’t care about is called stress. Working hard for something we love is called passion. [Simon Sinek]

10 Points on Achieving Fulfillment

We spend so much time chasing what we believe will bring us happiness but maybe we should be working on becoming fulfilled. I have noted Barton Goldsmith’s 10 points on achieving fulfillment below that may help you to realize fulfillment:

1. Be with others who make you smile.
Studies show that we are happiest when we are around those who are also happy. Stick with those who are joyful and let them rub off on you. I refer to these people as my ‘feel good’ people.

2. Hold on to your values.
What you find true, what you know is fair, and what you believe in are all values.

3. Accept the good.
Look at your life and take stock of what’s working, and don’t push something away just because it isn’t perfect. When good things happen, even the very little ones, let them in and appreciate them.

4. Imagine the best.
Don’t be afraid to look at what you really want and see yourself getting it. Many people avoid this process because they don’t want to be disappointed if things don’t work out. The truth is that imagining getting what you want is a big part of achieving it.

5. Do things you love.
Maybe you can’t skydive every day or take vacations every season, but as long as you get to do the things you love every once in a while, you will feel greater happiness.

6. Find purpose.
Those who believe they are contributing to the well-being of humanity tend to feel better about their lives. Most people want to be part of something greater than they are, simply because it’s fulfilling. As Simon Sinek says,it is about finding your why.

7. Listen to your heart.
You are the only one who knows what fills you up.

8. Push yourself, not others.
It’s easy to feel that someone else is responsible for your fulfillment, but this is within your power. Once you realize that, you have the power to get where you want to go. Stop blaming others or the world, and you’ll find your answers much sooner.

9. Be open to change.
Even if it doesn’t feel good, change is the one thing you can count on. Change will happen, so make contingency plans and emotionally prepare yourself for the experience.

10. Bask in the simple pleasures.
Those who love you, treasured memories, silly jokes, warm days, and starry nights: these are the ties that bind and the gifts that keep on giving.

Happiness is not about getting all you want. It’s about enjoying all you have.

Happiness and fulfillment are within your grasp, but sometimes just out of reach. Understanding what works best for you is the first step in finding more of it. So much of what gives us fulfillment comes back to the basic EQ competency of optimism – when we choose to be happy, when we allow ourselves to see opportunities, and when we find our people and sense of belonging, that is when we will truly live fulfilling lives.