Every year, I choose a word. One word to keep before me. This word is pondered, considered, and savored throughout the year. It helps me focus and live intentionally.
Fulfillment is this year’s word. The dictionary lists more than a few meanings…
fulfill (-ment is the suffix making the verb form a noun)
The word has two distinct meanings for me. Fulfillment is allowing gratitude to magnify what I already have, creating a sense of contentment and happiness. Second, it is a call to stretch toward the promises and dreams yet unrealized. It’s living in active expectancy of the manifestation of long-held visions and goals.
For each of us, the path to fulfillment and happiness is personal and unique. It’s an inside job – not to be confused with the accumulation of stuff. All of humanity shares basic needs in the pursuit of life, love and happiness that reveal three keys to fulfillment.
3 Keys to Happiness
- Life-long Learning
Relationships are not just assets in this life – they are meant to be part of our true riches. Undoubtedly, most of us have had days when we wanted to fly away into a land where no one knows us and enjoy the peace of anonymity. There are a rare few who actually experience that – like those in a government witness protection program. But there remains the question, did they find happiness? I doubt it.
Evidence substantiating the basic human need for connection with one another starts with newborns and covers our entire lifespan. Many children who have not had ample physical and emotional attention are at higher risk for behavioral, emotional and social problems as they grow up. In adults, research suggests that married people live longer and are healthier than singles. Despite the aggravations and annoyances, people need people. We’re wired that way. Investing in healthy long-term relationships is a key to fulfillment. Team-building is one of the ways I help whole organizations tap into the power of this key to happiness.
Life-long Learning. Another form of fulfillment comes with the stimulation of our brain cells in the ongoing process of learning. Whenever you are “on the hunt” for knowledge, information or the satisfaction of gaining a new skill, you become sharper in the process. There is clear evidence that education and learning produce favorable changes in the brain. Whether it’s learning to play an instrument, changing careers or reading a book, it is vital to your well-being to stimulate your brain.
Purpose. The third key is tied to your identity. Mark Twain is credited with saying, “The two most important days in your life are the day you are born and the day you find out why”. Your purpose is not as ethereal as you might be led to think. Your gifts, talents, goals, dreams, and experience converge as a unique expression of life. Despite our tendency to compare and measure ourselves against others, there is a unique design, plan and purpose for every human being. And we all influence someone. Your life makes a difference. When you are constantly in pursuit of the expression of your matchless individuality, you will live with a sense of vitality that eludes many.
In this first quarter of the year, I’ve realized the fulfillment of a long-held desire to write a book. Win from Within: The Heart of Success and Significance can help you in the fulfillment of your destiny. Check it out.