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What Is Fulfillment?
The words fulfillment and success have often been used interchangeably, but they mean different things. One of the definitions of fulfillment is, “the fact of being satisfied and happy for having fully developed your abilities and characters.”
Now, two things come out clearly from this definition. One is that fulfillment is tied to success. That means you must have accomplished something worthy of celebration to experience a sense of fulfillment.
Secondly, fulfillment is achieved through the development of characters and abilities. And since character development is something that’s continuous, it goes that fulfillment is not an event but a long and continuous process – so long that it can last your entire life.
You’ll encounter numerous other definitions of fulfillment. But all of them will have one common denominator – continuity.
Let’s explore the topic further as we distinguish between fulfillment and achievement, while also offering tips on how to attain fulfillment in your life.
Why Success Does Not Necessarily Equate To Fulfillment
The fundamental difference between success and fulfillment is that success is transient. Success causes temporary happiness. For instance, do you remember the day you graduated or walked down the aisle? Or when you landed your first job?
These might have been some of the happiest moments in your life. However, your happiness must have dissipated by the end of each day as the reality that life has to go on hit you hard. That’s how fleeting success-related happiness can be.
On the contrary, the joy you get from being fulfilled is continuous. It’s not pegged on how a single event makes you feel. When you’re fulfilled with your lot, you’ll always find lots of things to smile about even in the face of adversity.
Another difference between fulfillment and success is that fulfillment always results in happiness, while success may not necessarily make you happy. Have you ever wondered why some successful CEOs of blue-chip companies look depressed?
Or why people who’ve had illustrious academic careers wind up feeling sad after their graduation? That’s because most of us don’t pause to celebrate our successes. As soon as we accomplish anything, we raise the bar even higher, instead of expressing gratitude for having made it thus far.
Lastly, unlike success, fulfillment isn’t exclusively tied to wealth and material possessions. Fulfillment can come from anywhere, including going on a nature walk, hanging out with your buddies, or taking part in a sporting activity.
In fact, you can find fulfillment just by thanking yourself for being you. That makes fulfillment incredibly easy to achieve, as it largely depends on how you nurture gratitude and contentment.
10 Ways on How to Nurture a Life of Fulfillment
Nurturing a life of fulfillment doesn’t necessarily require making drastic changes. Here are a few methods on how to become fulfilled;
1. Start Your Day With Gratitude
One of the best things about expressing gratitude is that it allows your mind to shift its focus from what you’ve been denied to what you’ve been given. Expressing gratitude allows you to count your blessings, however small or insignificant they may appear.
You’ll be able to see every situation from the perspective of a half-full, as opposed to half-empty glass. And that will help you to nurture strength and courage to face the day ahead.
2. Adjust Your Mental Focus
Nurturing fulfillment has a lot to do with what your mind focuses on. As the saying goes, sometimes the eyes only see what they want to see.
That explains why some people see opportunities in every adversity, while others see challenges in every opportunity. It all comes down to how you’ve programmed your mind to think.
3. Be a Cheerful Giver
Blessed is the hand that giveth than the one that receiveth. Giving reminds you of how richly you’re endowed. It enables you to focus on your bounties.
The good thing is, you don’t have to necessarily give money. You can also give your time or expertise.
4. Choose Your Relationships Carefully
This is a no-brainer. You are the sum total of the friends that you keep. It’s difficult to nurture fulfillment if you surround yourself with people who only see the worst in you.
Positive people will uplift and inspire you, while negative people will always bring you down. If you experience difficulties establishing great relationships, you can look for a mentor instead.
5. Surround Yourself With Competition
If you want to be constantly challenged to step out of your comfort zones, you should consider surrounding yourself with competition. Learn a thing or two about what makes your competitors flourish.
Also, insist on undertaking activities that leave you physically and mentally challenged. It’s an excellent way of building resilience and tenacity.
6. Live In the Present
Many of us prefer to dwell on our past regrets or focus on our future fears, instead of savoring what we have now.
However, experiencing fulfillment is all about immersing yourself into the stillness of the present.
7. Experiment With Failure
You’ll never know how sweet success and fulfillment are unless you fail a few times. And you’ll almost always fail while attempting a new and unfamiliar task.
So, it’s important to appreciate the fact that failure is a part of humanity. It’s not about how hard life knocks you down, but how fast you can rise up, dust yourself, and continue in your pursuit for fulfillment.
If you ever feel like giving up, think about Thomas Edison who failed a whopping 999 times before achieving his ground-breaking success on the 1000th attempt. Also remember that even if you don’t succeed, you’ll experience fulfillment just by knowing you tried, and that’s all that matters.
8. Accept The Good Enough
Are we endorsing mediocrity here? Not at all. Accepting the good enough is not about finding happiness in your comfort zones. Instead, it’s all about thanking yourself for the steps you’ve made so far.
It’s accepting the fact that perfection cannot be achieved in an instant. And that while perfection remains your end goal, you’re thankful for the little efforts you’ve continually put forth throughout the journey.
9. Have a Value System
This is very important. Without a value system, you’ll be tossed back and forth like a boat on violent waters. Develop your own value systems and remain true to them.
Remember that fulfillment doesn’t imply compromising your values. By remaining true to your ideals, you’ll be confident that your achievements are truly worth celebrating.
10. Drop Your Sense of Entitlement
How badly do you want that promotion? If it’s so badly that you feel no one else deserves it, then anyone else should get the promotion but you.
Having a sense of entitlement affects our ability to experience fulfillment. We build ourselves mini-prisons of expectations and if our expectations are not met, we’re often left nursing frustrations and depression.
Success and fulfillment are complementary. However, achieving fulfillment is better than achieving success. So, even as you dream, allow fulfillment as opposed to ambition be your guide.