The starting gun fires! Life gets underway, as does the soul’s early and intuitive search for significance, the pursuit of pleasure and ultimately, The Quest For Fulfilment. Our generation is engaged in a physically challenging; mentally demanding; emotionally charged; and adrenalin pumping; intense roller coaster ride, that we’re often surprised by and unprepared for, as we anxiously and genuinely attempt to find fulfilment in our life!
Fulfilment is, as we perceive it to be. As someone aptly reflected, What a wonderful life I've had! I only wish I'd realised it sooner. Fulfilment is very much the willful demeanor and disposition of the soul; which specifically describes a sense of satisfaction; pleasure; contentment and happiness.
People strive to achieve these common objectives in a multitude of ways. Despite the simplicity or complexity of your personality or lifestyle, you wouldn’t be alone if it was your underlying desire to seek out such outcomes in life. It is an innate desire to pursue fulfilling your God-given purpose, destiny or calling, and to achieve something great with your life - to live happily ever after!
What makes your soul happy? - Life is filled with highs and lows, and fulfilment in life can be fleeting. There are special occasions like weddings; a graduation; a promotion; or a grand final victory that are filled with positive emotion, giving us good reason to be happy! However we can’t rely on events and circumstances as a primary source of fulfilment, as they don’t normally present themselves on a daily basis. And though a little pessimistic, this quote is nonetheless insightful; you need to learn to be happy by nature, because you'll seldom have the chance to be happy by circumstance. However, may these happy circumstances be more frequent in your life! Though we have more control over our happiness than we sometimes realise, as someone once said, the foolish man seeks happiness in the distance; the wise grows it under his feet. In other words, the grass will be greener where you water it!
People, knowingly or unknowingly are genuinely looking and longing for happiness in a plethora of places. Happiness for many is either a mirage or a memory – it’s either out there or back there! Enduring fulfilment in life and leadership ironically seems to elude those who are desperately or diligently in search of it, sentiment highlighted in this quote; the search for happiness is one of the chief sources of unhappiness.
Recently a journalist was interviewing Warren Buffett, America’s well-known billionaire businessman, seeking to understand his unusual and modest lifestyle choices. He was asked why he still lived in the same five-bedroom family home since 1957, and hadn’t upsized and upgraded. To which he replied, If I thought a bigger house would make me happier I’d buy it. Just because I have the money to do it doesn’t mean it’s smart to do it. Reinforcing the mantra that, money can’t buy you happiness –but mind you, happiness can’t pay the bills! His response reminded me of one of Benjamin Franklin’s quotes; Content makes poor men rich, discontent make’s rich men poor.
The Bible says, You’re addicted to thrills? What an empty life! The pursuit of pleasure is never satisfied. You could argue that power; popularity; prestige and pleasure inherently fail to satisfy the soul long-term. Again we quickly realise the soul’s insatiable potential, when experimenting with such finite and often disappointing remedies. So despite all admirable achievements and acquisitions along the way, all misguided and tenuous personal quests for fulfilment will over time all but leave you feeling internally empty, and having to manage an insolvent soul.
The Apostle Paul shares his own recipe for being happy. He says; I’ve learned by now to be quite content whatever my circumstances. I’m just as happy with little as with much, with much as with little. I’ve found the recipe for being happy whether full or hungry, hands full or hands empty. Whatever I have, wherever I am, I can make it through anything with the One who makes me who I am.
My purpose, Jesus says, is to give them a rich and satisfying life. A full schedule; a full crowd; a full portfolio; a full resume; a full stomach; or a full trophy cabinet doesn’t necessarily mean a full life, and neither does the absence of these, point to an unfulfilled one. The Bible says, A pretentious showy life is an empty life; a plain and simple life is a full life. Fulfilment need not be a pipe dream, elusive or a vague ethereal concept! We can experience-enduring fulfilment in life beyond any contextual catalyst. We need to look beyond the temporary and the transitory, to find lasting fulfilment in our soul.
There's an evident disconnect in society between the timeless Beatitudes profoundly taught by Jesus, and the dubious philosophies and questionable ideals espoused and advocated by our world today. Jesus says, You’re blessed when you’re content with just who you are-no more, no less. That’s the moment you find yourselves proud owners of everything that can’t be bought. On the contrary it's been observed, The world is full of people looking for spectacular happiness while they snub contentment. This could be because contentment is poorly misunderstood or misrepresented; it’s as if you’re handing your resignation in, and rejecting all that life has to offer! This couldn’t be further from the truth! After all in the Parable of the Talents, Jesus directed praise to those who showed initiative, and who were innovative and productive with the opportunity they had. Contentment empowers you to stop to appreciate life as it is; to enjoy who you are and what you have. It's been said that plenty of people miss their share of happiness, not because they never found it, but because they didn't stop to enjoy it.
Consider the quote, It is not in the pursuit of happiness that we find fulfilment it is in the happiness of pursuit. Contentment effectively calibrates the pursuit and conquest of the soul. We begin to pursue achievement, accomplishment and acquisition having already conquered, The Quest For Fulfilment.