Are you happy?

by 17 Dec, 2015Life planning0 comments

picture of 2 happy kids at sunsetAre you happy?

Are you happy? Today I want to share an exercise with you which I trust will give you a better understanding of what true happiness is.

To begin…… would you rate your level of happiness on a scale of 1 to 10.  Using this scale, a score of 1 is you are definitely not happy with life, and a score of 10 means you are deliriously happy with your life.

For some reason my personal growth reading lately has been around the topic of happiness and fulfillment. I’m also watching a daily series of videos which is currently exploring this topic.

So, why this is showing up on my radar, I’m not really sure – I’m feeling in a great place in my life right now, and have felt this way for some time now.

Perhaps it has something to do with the time of year. In Western society it is a short time for holidays for many people. It is the festive season where we celebrate Christmas and the arrival of a new calendar year.

For many people this is often a time for reflecting on the year past, and for making resolutions and plans for the coming New Year.

You probably know the type of thing I mean. People make resolutions to do things like:

  • get fit, lose weight, give up smoking
  • start a relationship, mend a relationship
  • change jobs, or get a job, get a career promotion
  • and so on……

The reason we make New Year’s resolutions is of course an attempt to change our lives for the better in some way. One way of looking at this is that we want take action to be happier with our lives.

Therefore, I thought it would be useful to share some of the things I have been reading and watching lately about this topic of happiness. And in particular, where we might find true happiness.

Happiness vs Fufillment

I hope you don’t mind, but I’ve taken a lot of what follows from another page on my website – it deals with the topic –  clarify what is important in your life. I have included what I have previously written in quotes:

“It is a natural human inclination for us to strive to achieve happiness in our lives.

But in carrying out the exercise of determining what is important to us in life, I think it important to draw a distinction between happiness and fulfillment.

Happiness is fleeting. Here are some examples of some of the things that can cause feelings of happiness:

  • you watch a beautiful sunrise or sunset
  • you go out and have a nice meal with a loved one
  • you get a pay rise or a promotion
  • your favourite team wins an important game
  • you buy some new clothes, a new car, a new something….

These types of things have the effect of boosting our mood, We feel happy.

And, while we may derive pleasure from these kinds of things, and feel happiness – that mood, those feelings tend not to last very long.

Fulfillment on the other hand is a more enduring emotion. It is not about experiencing a mood boosting event.

Instead, feelings of fulfillment are closely related to the things we have identified as being the most important in our life.

If you think about it carefully, feelings of fulfillment are to occur, and endure, when we are doing something that is related to helping or enhancing the lives of other people.

Try this exercise – Happiness vs fulfillment

Here’s a simple exercise that might help you to understand the difference between happiness and fulfillment.

Take a sheet of paper, or in a notebook that you can carry with you, and set up a page this way – draw a line down the middle of the page and then write the heading “Happiness” on the left side of the line, and the heading “Fulfillment” on the right hand side of the page.

Now, for the next week, twice a day – at lunch time and also before you go to sleep make some notes on your page.

Reflect on the day’s happenings and make a note of things that made you feel either happy, or fulfilled. When you look at the results it is quite possible that you will realise there is a difference between feeling happy, and feeling fulfilled.

Would you agree that it is more likely you will have feelings of fulfillment when you have done something that has made a positive impact on someone else’s life?”

The point of the exercise

If you end up doing the exercise you will realise there is a difference between being happy, and being fulfilled.

So, in this time of reflection, make the time to clarify what the important things in your life are, and evaluate if you are directing your attention and effort appropriately.

And don’t get me wrong…..happiness is a hugely important factor in our lives. But understanding that happiness is a fleeting state, if all we are doing is chasing those fleeting moments our lives may seem hollow and unfulfilled.

Finally – enjoy the video


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