For a long time I assumed 'fulfillment' was synonymous with 'happiness'. It was recently that I came to the realization that they in fact do not have the same meaning and are both equally required to deserve/have a great life. Below are ten common myths about fulfillment. Take a look through and see if there are any you've been applying that have been stopping you from living your fulfilled life.
1. Fulfillment is the same thing as happiness.
Contrary to popular belief, they are not the same thing. Happiness is the pleasure one gets from doing things that serve him/herself. Fulfillment is the pleasure one gets from doing things that serve others. Starkly different.
2. As long as you are happy, you do not need fulfillment.
If you want a deserving life, you most certainly do. (Refer back to the hotdog/mustard analogy in my Starting With Why post)
3. Most people are fulfilled.
Wrong. Most people don’t even know they should want to be fulfilled. And we should, if we want a deserving life.
4. Fulfillment is an easy choice.
Have you ever heard the saying, “if it’s easy then it ain’t worth it”? That applies here. It is especially hard to serve others when you feel they have wronged you in some way. If you want to remain in constant fulfillment you have to constantly 'rise above' your ego and serve, even if you don't initially feel like it.
5. You must give X amounts of money or X amounts of time or X amounts of resources to be fulfilled.
You must simply wake up each morning with a desire and resolve to serve others. Be it time, be it money, be it kind words; it’s ALL significant. Forget what the person next to you is giving, give what you can and as often as you can to others.
6. Fulfillment is not for everybody.
It most certainly is! We are all given the same chance to live fulfilled lives regardless of our circumstances.
7. Fulfilled people can survive in unfulfilled environments.
Not a chance. If you surround yourself with people, books, and imagery that support self-centered behavior and narcissistic interests at all times, you will not feel a strong enough to desire to act in service of the needs of others. Simple and short.
8. Fulfilled people never feel unfulfilled.
Not quite. It happens from time to time. And why wouldn’t it? There will always be a person who is hungry, cold, homeless, unhappy, depressed, or sick. You do what you can but sometimes you are reminded of just how magnanimous suffering can be. It will leave you feeling somewhat helpless and unfulfilled, but don’t let that feeling last for too long. Truth is, your service is significant…it matters. There is never enough service to do so you should always be doing something (no matter how big or small) to serve someone.
9. Your fulfillment does not depend on other people.
Yes, it does. Your fulfillment depends on doing the things that serve OTHERS, give OTHERS pleasure, and make OTHERS smile.
10. Fulfilled people are never afraid.
They are afraid EVERY DAY. The good thing is they have the secret ingredient to fulfilling their purpose: Courage. Courage is the strength and willpower (from faith) to act, IN SPITE OF, fear. Stop waiting to be unafraid to be fulfilled…have enough faith that your positive service to others is significant and can change the world…because it can.