“I have seen all the things that are done under the sun; all of them are meaningless, a chasing after the wind.” – Ecclesiastes 1:14
What brings fulfillment in life? Is it money, power, fame? Can financial independence bring satisfaction?
I don’t believe anything or anyone can bring true fulfillment. Perhaps the only true pleasure is the pursuit of our goals. Goals give us purpose and keep us motivated. However, after we accomplish a feat, we quickly begin our journey towards another. Achieving goals brings a temporary period of euphoria and then a familiar feeling of emptiness. Each new goal initially appears as the answer for personal happiness and contentment. For me, those goals are often in finance and career. I hit a goal and life suddenly becomes good. I got the job, I earned the amount of money, I made the friendship… Suddenly, that climax of achievement tapers off. That job or that person temporarily increased my happiness …but it will not last. Now I am back to the drawing board chasing the wind. I am running on the hedonic treadmill of life and can never catch a breath.
Maybe it is my outlook… how I view things. Perhaps I need to look around and be content with what I have and where I am at. Unfortunately, human nature will always lust for more. You bought the car — not good enough. You won the race — not good enough. You got the girl — not good enough. Maybe I am the only one stuck in this terrible cycle without an escape? I contemplate this probability until I look and see all around me souls stuck in the same tortuous path. They can never make enough money and never have a nice enough car. They can never have enough time and never have enough energy. They can never do this or never have that. It is no wonder the divorce and suicide rate is so high.
So what is the answer? Are we doomed to a life of disappointment and endless desire? There is not a simple solution. The happiest people I know are those who are content with where they are at in life. They realize life is not perfect and they will never attain perfection—and this is OK. It may take some a lifetime to attain this point, some may never reach it at all. With that said, becoming content with where you are at does not mean you must forget your dreams and ambitions. Instead, realize the pursuit of your ambition may be the hidden pleasure despite the eventual outcome fading away. Become thankful for where you are at and do not take anything for granted. Treat everything and everyone in your life as a gift, there is no guarantee how long each gift will last.
Best of luck to you and your journey forwards fulfillment!