I recently heard this topic on a podcast with Tony Robbins and Tim Ferris and I felt like I wanted to speak on it, the topic of achievement versus fulfillment.
Achievement is defined as a thing done successfully, typically by effort, courage or skill.
Fulfillment is defined as satisfaction or happiness as a result of fully developing one’s ability or character.
So, where do the lines get crossed in our world, because if you look at these two definitions it seems obvious to me where you want to be.
Tony used Robin Williams as an example and I thought it was one of the best I’ve heard on this topic. So, I will un-justly paraphrase Tony’s example for everyone.
~Who hasn’t heard of Robin Williams, and for that matter, who doesn’t LOVE his work? I will almost bet that over ninety percent of the people have both heard and love Robin Williams. However, let’s dig a little bit deeper here. Robin Williams has achieved EVERYTHING he set out to do. He won multiple awards at every level in his industry, he won awards for his gift of comedic performance, but also for drama. He crushed box office records, he made more money than he knew what to do with, he made millions of people laugh, cry and love his work. Robin Williams did everything there was to do from the TV industry to the Movie industry and did it better than anybody else. He has a beautiful family that loves him dearly. Unfortunately, Robin Williams took his own life due to depression. Robin Williams had this huge lack of fulfillment in his life no matter what he achieved.
So, how do we circle back in this topic after this. How can you really look inside yourself and decide if what you are doing is just for the sake of achievement or are you truly going to be fulfilled with your actions?
I know a lot of this can come down to the pressures we feel that society places on us. The pressure to make so much money, the pressure to always multi task, the pressure to “climb the corporate ladder,” the pressure to work long hours, look, act, and even show emotions a certain way. (Granted, I completely understand that times can be tough and the hustle needs to be aggressive, this paragraph isn’t referencing that) these are all statues that we may feel we need to achieve to meet the “status quo.” However, what usually happens with people on this track… well, nine out of ten times they are miserable and never truly feel fulfilled in their lives.
Now, I am not saying drop what you’re doing, quite your job and find the inner meaning of life. Jobs are needed for the obvious reasons. What I’m saying is, understand the truest difference between fulfillment and achievement. Understand that just searching and going after achievement will lead you to an empty feeling inside. Money, houses, cars, boats, clothes, shoes, bags, etc… they are all cool, but they leave no impact or importance to a fulfilled being. There are ways to work different paths into your life to help you feel fulfilled. I completely understand that it isn’t feasible to just pack up and start over (granted some people can do this…others can’t) so, what is more feasible? Well, once you find what makes you feel fulfilled then work towards that, and see if you can base your current situation as a means to helping you reach fulfillment.
So, what makes you feel fulfilled? I am not sure, and nobody can tell you that but yourself. I know many people have huge success when they have talks with people that really allow them to dig into their childhood and find the “key log” that holds them back. The “key log” is in reference to one specific event or instance that places pressure, thoughts or emotions on individuals that when cleared up allow the gates to fully open for life experiences. Whether this is a quest for love, approval, or connection, etc. that has led you to a path of needed achievements to feel appreciated. When you can find this instance or occurrence, then you will truly be able to understand what will make you feel fulfilled.
What else can you do? Look to truly sit down and line up all your why’s. Think about what is the last thing on your mind at night and the first thing in the morning. Then, how can you put things in order to help you feel you are on the path to working with your why’s and your thoughts.
I will definitely say that this is something I am still working on too. I think to some extent everyone is working on this, and fighting the pull of what society says you need to be/do to be successful. True success, freedom, and happiness occurs when you feel fulfilled in what your path is leading you towards. So, search for that and you will be one of the richest people around!