What Do You Know About Fulfillment, Happiness and Feeling Good
I recently got an interesting question in my inbox from one of my blog readers.
Dear Dr. K
What do you know about fulfillment vs. happiness vs. feeling good?
Here’s my response:
What do I know? I know how to have all three! 🙂 So if experience counts, I must know at least a little something about each of them!
Actually, about 15 years ago I made a video and audio program titled “The Happiness of Pursuit,” (so long before the Will Smith movie, Happyness of Pursuit) in which I made the claim that happiness in this moment leads to a more fulfilling pursuit in life, whereas pursuing happiness means it places finding it on variables outside your control, so you may never get to experience it.
I associate happiness with the feeling of satisfaction. And satisfaction is a choice. Some people are never happy, because they are never satisfied. No matter how much they achieve or how richly blessed they are, they compare it to some unachievable standard and come up short.
And conversely, unhappiness would stem from looking back with regret, contemplating unfulfilled values, or missing this very moment by being distracted or applying an impossible standard, or looking ahead and seeing nothing there.
I’ve known others who are satisfied with being, doing and having nothing. (No, I don’t know them well. I hardly knew them at all, but there was a time, in my late teens and early twenties, when the idea of doing nothing was particularly satisfying, and birds of a feather flocked together!)
So happiness can be a mindset, based on a decision. Yet for people unfamiliar with that kind of control and self determination about attitude and what one does with what is given one in any particular moment in time, satisfaction from choosing is an alien concept. And by alien, I mean completely foreign, because if you say such a thing to such a person and you are speaking gobbledygook.”
I like doing, and I like being creative, that’s in my nature, but I can find satisfaction in most moments if I choose to. One of my favorite things to tell myself, years ago, when I was learning to get a handle on happiness, was ‘This is it and I am satisfied.’ It was handy to learn it then, and it’s a handy thing to know how to say now.
I’ll post the rest in a couple of days. Meanwhile, your comments are welcome!
Rick is a best selling author and the founder of the Art of Change Skills for Life. His book titles include, Dealing with People You Can’t Stand: How to bring out the best in people at their worst, Life by Design and Influence and the Art of Persuasion. These days he is spending quality time away from the spotlight enjoying the company of his wife and practicing his electric guitar.