Achievement vs. Fulfillment - Which is more important to YOU?
Some of you who have already read some of my blogs here will see that there's a pattern to the topics I write about. I tend to weave stories about myself and my experiences into lessons I have learned to apply to my ongoing life journey. You may also notice how I may weave in subjects about learning the lessons here on how to start your own website, the concept of market affiliation and what our instructors, Kyle and Carson teach us as we progress thru the levels of training.
I will be the first to admit, I only commit myself to blogging weekly since I joined WA. It is reasonable and doable for me to keep to this commitment to this site and my own website called lifeafter50plus.com because the rest of my time is devoted to other parts of my life that are a priority such as helping Bertha (my recovering shoulder) improve through physical therapy, spending more time with my spouse on weekends because we both work full-time, taking care of reaching my daily 10,000 steps or more daily, and focusing on my writing and side gigs.
When I first started blogging, I used to worry whether I could come up with something interesting enough for even 1 person to select a "Like" on me. But over time, I realized the habit of weekly blogging became more of a practical exercise in self-development. Did I have what it takes to stay consistent in this one area? Was I going to commit to my own passion for writing to not make excuses on a leisure Sunday afternoon and consider this actual work that will help me get closer to my dream of becoming a best-selling author?
Is it an achievement or a fulfillment in my life?
I have 3 world-wide speakers I follow on the internet today. Dan Lok, Lisa Nichols and Tony Robbins. I use various methods of social media to follow them, learn from them and gain a lot of helpful information I can apply to my own life The title of this blog stems from Tony's explanation about achievement and fulfillment - and what the difference is between them.
He said that achievement is a science. You can achieve a way to be at the top of your career through a system, a method, a scientific way to measure the progress and determine the means to get there (such as education, internship or actually on-the-job training). Achievement is great and can lead you to complete a goal or something you always wanted to accomplish but it does not necessarily fulfill you. It might, but more often than not, once something has been achieved, the natural tendency is to ask, "Now what?"
Fulfillment is an art. As you and I well know, science and art are opposite subjects - one is logical and the other one defies logic. One is practical and the other reflects passion. One is results-based through theory, and the other one is creation-based through imagination. Fulfillment feeds the soul. Achievement applauds the ego.
Neither one is better than the other, but most people go through life having one without the other and somehow, there is a "gap" or a "void" that even the most sucessful people in the world will stay awake at night trying to figure out how to fill that void.
A perfect example I remember learning in Sunday School was about King Solomon. For those of you who remember Sunday School or paid attention just a little bit, or even were Sunday School leaders and teachers - King Solomon was God's gift to King David and his wife, Bathsheba. If you recall, their first son died in infancy though King David prayed and fasted and mourned. He realized this child symbolized the stain of his sinful ways, so he repented and moved on after realizing he could not negotiate with God on this one.
With painful loss, he and Bathsheba moved forward in life and some time later, she conceived again and had another child named Solomon, which translates to "peace." Aptly named since years later when he was christened king, God appears to Solomon and says "Ask for whatever you want me to give you" [found in 2 Chroniciles 1:7-10] and of course, we all know Solomon chooses wisdom and knowledge to rule over his people.
Pretty smart guy to ask for wisdom AND knowledge because we know that there is a difference between the two. Just like there is a difference between achievement and fulfillment.
Solomon ACHIEVED great things in his 40-year reign over Israel. Solomon ACCOMPLISHED many goals he set out to do like building his own palace, building the Lord's Temple and creating political alliances. He ACCUMULATED vast wealth beyond anything during his lifetime. King Solomon set out to ACHIEVE everything he put his mind to and completed it with the help of his loyal subjects. He ACQUIRED stables, gold, silver, exotic animals, slaves, concubines and multiple wives of different nations.
But was King Solomon fulfilled? Did he find his own life fulfilling?
The Bible has another fantastic book called Ecclesiastes. Many scholars debate over whether or not it was actually written by King Solomon and King David though many attest that portions of it were written by both rulers with most of it written by King Solomon. Studying this book growing up in the church, I found it to be very interesting. The author of this book a "wise Teacher" often cites the folly of men and how "Everything is meaningless, a chasing after the wind."
The author has experienced all there was during his lifetime: being rich, living in luxury and ease, seeking one pleasure after another - yet never being satisfied. Why? Because he concluded it was all meaningless. It doesn't last. It is not fulfilling. Achievements are great while they last but sooner or later everyone ends up in the same fate - so what's the point of it all? And he goes on to describe that youth, beauty, wealth, vigor - hold onto it while you're still young but sooner or later we all meet the same fate. Whether we're rich or poor, none of us can escape the fact that someday we'll return to the earth (hence the phrases "ashes to ashes, dust to dust").
The final conclusion of the book is rather somber: Fear God and keep His commandments. it's the entire duty of man. Also, everything we do in open and in secret will be brought to judgment, good or bad. (Ecclesiastes 11:13-14). It's a rather serious and grim way of viewing life but here's the great thing about free will: perception is relative.
I like to view these verses as ones to keep my integrity and morality in check, but this is also an opportunity to enjoy one's life in every aspect but I have added to my understanding that so long as one can achieve the highest aim to serve others while enjoying life, I reach fulfillment.
How? You might ask
It bridges the gap between achievement and fulfillment. It unites science and art. Logic and passion. This duality that often creates struggle within us becomes balanced when we understand that we actually serve a higher purpose when our achievement to succeed brings forth our desire to help others succeed.
It's a radical kind of thinking but it monumentally opens your mind to looking at things a lot differently than before.
We can't chase the wind (though some of us try to chase tornadoes and hurricanes..perhaps some day people will even attempt to ride tsunamis), but we can achieve and fulfill our goals, dreams through service. We can bridge the gap. We can unite duality. We can succeed in an area we didn't think we could.
Service to humanity is the highest form of achievement. It can be as simple as buying a cup of coffee for a stranger. Fostering an abused animal. Donating time to talk with lonely seniors in a rest home.
Simple acts of service is the highest form of fulfillment. It doesn't need public recognition. It doesn't need a million likes on Facebook or Instagram. It doesn't need to be printed in USA Today or Wall Street Journal. It doesn't need a red carpet or a golden trophy of some kind.
It simply exists when we take action.
So which one do you plan to take action on?
Which is more important to you - achievement or fulfillment or both?
Whichever one is more important to you, figure out a plan and take action. I want both. So I create opportunities in my daily living to do so because I have been learning in my journey in life that I can have both and I have done it.
But just a warning: It is addictive and it is unstoppable once you start.