Happiness is fleeting. Search for fulfilment instead.

Happiness is fleeting. Search for fulfilment instead.

I loved this article from boosst on the pursuit of fulfilment rather than happiness. Such a lovely idea that can really help to manage emotional overdraft too. It inspired me to give the two a little more thought.

Happiness is often a fleeting state of pleasure, sparked by moments like enjoying a meal or laughing with friends, dependent on external stimuli. It represents the high points in our emotional experiences.

Fulfilment, however, is more profound, offering a lasting sense of satisfaction and purpose. It develops over time through commitment to activities that reflect personal values, connecting us to broader goals, communities, or causes. In leadership, the pursuit of fulfilment rather than happiness can lead to more meaningful and effective guidance. Leaders who focus on what truly satisfies them can inspire their teams through an authentic commitment to shared goals and values.

Degrees of Fulfilment: From Personal Triumphs to Collective Impact

Fulfilment varies widely, ranging from personal achievements to broader societal impacts. Personal triumphs like completing an academic course or mastering a new skill mainly benefit the individual, enhancing self-growth and self-worth. These achievements provide significant psychological rewards and contribute to personal fulfilment.

As we move along the spectrum, fulfilment extends to actions impacting others, such as helping with daily tasks or volunteering. These altruistic acts tap into our social nature, offering profound fulfilment by enhancing others’ lives, which often exceeds the satisfaction from individual accomplishments. This level of fulfilment strengthens our sense of community and connection.

At the spectrum’s far end, fulfilment comes from influencing larger groups or entire communities, such as a CEO leading a major company or a teacher shaping future generations. This form of fulfilment, tied to a deeper sense of purpose and legacy, recognises the ripple effect of one’s actions on broader society.

Understanding these varying degrees of fulfilment highlights why work is a significant source for many and explores achieving fulfilment outside traditional roles, especially as work dynamics evolve dramatically.

A leadership style focused on fulfilment rather than happiness encourages a culture of sustained motivation and well-being among team members. It helps prevent burnout and avoids a sustained emotional overdraft by promoting a focus on meaningful work and personal growth, rather than transient rewards​.

The interplay between happiness and fulfilment can be characterised as follows: while happiness might occur in fleeting episodes without fulfilment, true fulfilment generally ushers in a deeper, more enduring kind of happiness.

So yes, I’d highly recommend chasing fulfilment, and then happiness is also likely to follow.

Read the full boost article here.



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