Photo Credits: Evan Brooks
No matter what you do in life, it is imperative you are fulfilled in what it is you do, or you will risk your own happiness. A choice we all have to make is the career path we follow, and whether your path is motivated by wealth or passion, we should all choose a career that makes us feel like we are actually contributing to society in some way. Success holds a different meaning for everyone, but fulfillment is even more personal. You can be incredibly successful, and still end up empty within because your achievements did not contribute towards your feeling of fulfillment. In an interview between Harvard professor Todd Rose, the co-author of the book Dark Horse and the Knowledge at Wharton Staff, published by the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania, the subject of fulfillment is discussed. In discussing individuals’ paths towards fulfillment, a trend was brought up of how “…it just was crystal clear that what puts them on these very idiosyncratic paths is that they are prioritizing personal fulfillment over someone else’s view of success.”
By not worrying what others think you should do, and instead focusing on what it is you know you want to do, fulfillment will not be far behind. In other words, when individuals focus on their own avenue towards self-fulfillment, the act of focusing on themselves and not what others think “gets them on that path.” But the interview also stated; “…we found that it is also what allows them to be both happy and successful.”
So, when we prioritize our own journey towards fulfillment, and becoming fulfilled is far from something that happens overnight, our happiness and success follows, not the other way around. Some things require constant attention, and that is what makes them worthwhile because you know in the end, focusing on yourself will have been far more helpful than if you listened to others’ opinions.
How then, should you go about instilling the proper tools necessary in others, so that they may also live a life that is fulfilling to them? According to the interview, “it depends” and we can learn how to instill those tools in others, by how we would go about instilling them in children. As stated in the interview; depending “on the age of the kid. If you have a younger kid, I think the most important thing you can do is help your kid discover what matters to them and what motivates them.”
By understanding what motivates you, the process of understanding what path would lead you towards happiness becomes clearer. To understand your motivations, you have to ask questions. Whether the questions are geared towards yourself or others, asking questions is how you begin. Ask yourself, what matters to you and why? We may have been subject to what the interview brought up, of how others “spend a lot of time telling” us what we “should care about and not letting” us “discover it for” ourselves.
Ask yourself, what notions or ideals have we been told should matter to us that are otherwise subjective? If we do not reevaluate what matters to ourselves every once in a while, we may be stuck doing something we do not like and be unable to explain why we do not like it. When we say we enjoy something, we should ask ourselves, why we actually enjoy that thing, and question if we actually believe it.
The short version of this article is that the path to fulfillment is just that, a path. Fulfillment cannot be achieved out of the blue one day; it is something we constantly work towards. Working towards it means questioning why we like what we like, and understanding that ideals we may have believed in the past, may not be what we believe now.
Evan Brooks is a fourth-year Business Management major with minors in Economics and Civil and Professional Leadership EB916132@wcupa.edu.