The quest for personal fulfillment is one that has eluded many for decades. It’s not because we can’t have it, it’s primarily because we’re not focused on it. Every day we wake up being bombarded with messages telling us that the key to fulfillment is achievement. You constantly hear, you deserve the house, you deserve the car, you deserve the vacation, and you definitely deserve the career. These messages, played on repeat 24/7, have led us to believe that achievement is the answer. So why is it that, even after we’ve achieved some of these goals, we still feel empty? It’s because achievement was meant to be a bonus not the focus. The attainment of a goal (achievement) is a contributor to fulfillment, but it’s not fulfillment in and of itself. While achievement is about a result, fulfillment is about an experience.

So, how can we experience fulfillment in our daily living? Below you will find 3 primary focuses for living a fulfilled life.

1. Focus on Appreciation

To cancel your frustration begin with appreciation. Its difficult to feel unfulfilled when you’re focused on expressing gratitude. What most people often fail to realize is that even when you don’t have much, you still have more than “nothing”. People are often perplexed when I say, everything beyond oxygen and your heartbeat is a luxury not a necessity. The fact is, you and I didn’t have to exist, but we do. So although we have goals we hope to achieve, every day above the dirt gives us another opportunity to accomplish what we desire. Don’t let the things you want make you forget the things you have. Appreciation gives you satisfaction.

2. Focus on Progress

If you post a picture of yourself online and immediately receive one hundred positive comments, you would smile from ear to ear. But if just three people gave any form of critique that seemed negative, it might be enough to destroy your joy. Why? Because we’re naturally conditioned to focus more on our problems than to highlight our progress. People who experience “fulfilled living” focus their energy on what’s moving them forward. You will always have faults, fears, and failures, but focusing on these problems does nothing but keep you stuck in unfulfilled misery. Yes, you could’ve or should’ve been much further ahead, but you also could’ve been much further behind. You’ve made progress, so focus your energy on doing more of what has worked. Progress beats perfection because perfection is impossible.

3. Focus on Service

Mahatma Gandhi once said, “the best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.” Service is a sure-fire way to experience fulfillment; because giving gives you purpose. At the heart of experiencing fulfillment is the feeling that your life is meaningful. So whether you’re giving of your time, talent, or treasure, the act of giving makes you useful to others and to yourself. If service is beneath you, then fulfillment is beyond you. A few ways that you could give service are highlighted below:

  • Volunteer at a food pantry
  • Participate in food drives
  • Offer your skills for free to a worthy cause
  • Sponsor a community event or support a youth sports team
  • Donate funds to address social issues
    Provide mentorship to someone in need

Finding fulfillment has more to do with the mindset you bring when pursuing your goals vs. what you achieve as an end result. If you spend more time appreciating what you have, focusing on your progress, and giving service to others, you will experience the fulfillment you’ve been searching for.

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