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The Pursuit and Acquisition of Happiness and Fulfillment

March 2, 2011

The Pursuit and Acquisition of Happiness and Fulfillment

Thomas Jefferson, author of the United States Declaration of Independence, wrote that all people are “endowed with certain inalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” The wording of this famous phrase is significant. We are given life by our parents, and enlightened government can grant us liberty, however we as individuals must take it upon ourselves to pursue happiness. We have the choice to seek happiness, and if we value it, then pursuing it is a personal responsibility. It is also a continual process. The same can be said for the pursuit of self-fulfillment. The opportunities and choices are always there for us to pursue and explore.

Research and observations by Harvard Business School professor Howard Stevenson and senior research fellow Laura Nash, authors of “Four Keys of Enduring Success: How High Achievers Win” found that enduring success that satisfaction comes more from the act of achieving than from the actual accomplishment. This point is significant in a world that measures our success by our accomplishments. It is the endeavor itself that creates feelings of gratification.

Matthew Kelly, author of Perfectly Yourself: 9 Lessons for Enduring Happiness suggests that self-fulfillment stems from an intertwining combination of achievement and happiness. He makes a distinction between momentary happiness, like you may experience at a celebration, and enduring happiness. His focus, like ours, is on the enduring aspects — happiness and fulfillment that are woven into the fiber of your being, which becomes a part of you and anchors in good times and bad. Among Kelly’s lessons for enduring happiness are:
• Celebrate your progress
• Just do the next right thing
• Put character first
• Live what you believe

These elements of enduring success and happiness evolve from your actions and how you live your life.

Personal fulfillment is that all-over, deep-inside good feeling you get when you invest yourself in efforts that create value. We might feel it when we do something good for ourselves, such as maintaining our commitment to an exercise program or achieving a personal goal. The feeling becomes even greater, however, when we go outside ourselves. Investing in others and contributing to the greater good instantly taps into that which is bigger than us, and the rewards are exponentially richer.

What can you do to enhance your enduring happiness and fulfillment? How can you further pursue and attain greater and deeper joy in your life?

Steve Weitzenkorn

Visit our new website, see the video: Take the FREE Guiding Values Exercise.

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