Achieving Fulfillment

Jun 2014

How do you achieve fulfillment?<...>

I was recently part of a conversation about the pursuit of fulfillment. And especially, how fulfillment is very different to achievement.

The latter being something that is easier to gain and recognize; mostly because it's something that can be checked off a list somewhere. Achievements also sometimes has the inherit possibility of feeling hollow.

That's the difference between fulfillment and achievement.

Fulfillment is a much more holistic and abstract consideration. It's something that we own deep within ourselves. Fulfillment has real meaning. It's not always obvious or prominent, but when we are conscious of (the feeling of) fulfillment, it's an incredible experience.

In this conversation, I was challenged to consider exactly how I define fulfillment in my own life.

The first thing I realized is exactly what hasn't been fulfilling.

The best example of that is probably selling my business and equity in WooThemes. Yes, the money is good and whilst it's by no means retirement in it's size, it's definitely accelerated financial security for my family.

Overall, there's an emptiness to the experience though. Whilst I consider this a great achievement, I've gained no fulfillment from it.

Instead, I've learnt that there's other things that gives me immense fulfillment:

  • The "micro situations", where I completely lose myself in the situation. This happens often when I play LEGO with Adii Jr or have meaningful conversations with intimate friends.
  • The process of selecting a bottle of wine from my modest collection, opening it, smelling it, taking the first sip and remembering when I bought it. I easily lose myself doing this for a couple of minutes.
  • Travelling and experiencing other cultures. I think being able to travel and learn about other people has to be one of the biggest priveleges in my life.

For me, fulfillment isn't just one thing, but a combination of many, individual pieces.

How do you achieve fulfillment?

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