happiness vs fulfillment

Let’s Look At Happiness Vs Fulfillment

Should it be a case of happiness vs fulfillment or fulfillment vs happiness? It can be confusing because from an early age, we’re led to believe that nothing is more satisfying than finding happiness. But happiness is so elusive and intangible most of the time.

So maybe we should stop chasing happiness and try and find fulfillment instead?

happiness vs fulfillment

Happiness Vs Fulfillment

Remember that happiness is different for everyone, so how would one know when they find it? Is there something out there that can make you feel even better than happiness?


It’s called having a sense of fulfillment. Yet, what is that exactly, and how do you get it? Let’s explore happiness vs fulfillment further in this article.

Let’s first take a quick look at what happiness is and what fulfillment is.


Happiness includes feelings like contentment, excitement, and joy, but unfortunately these feelings are all temporary.

Sure, it feels nice while it lasts, but other emotions take over from time to time, like anger, fear, and anxiety.

The trap many of us fall into is that we believe we’ll reach our point of happiness when we achieve certain things in our lives.

We say things like, “If I buy that shiny, red car, I’ll be happy.” or “Once I have my own house, I’ll finally be happy.”

Of course, you’ll be happy! But that happiness can only last so long. After that, reality sets in, especially when the bills start coming in.

Another problem with happiness is that we often view it in terms of other people. So we compare our lives to theirs, which is never a good idea.

No one knows what’s going on in another’s life. It’s not fair to compare only the good parts. It sends you on a loop of perpetual disappointment. The only person you should compare yourself to is you.


When you pursue the things that really matter to you, you bring fulfillment into your life. Fulfillment is when you take actionable steps towards the things you value. Part of it is also achieving goals that were set up based on these core values.

Living your life with a consistent set of values allows you to have integrity towards who you truly are. It also allows you more control over your emotions and thoughts.

This makes it possible to bring the locus of control inward. Thus, you feel stronger and more empowered.

The bottom line is that happiness is dependent on external factors. Many of these factors are material and likely to change at any moment.

Fulfillment, on the other hand, is internally driven. You’re the one who determines what means more to you, and then by going after it, you elevate the levels of fulfillment in your life.

So How Do We Find Fulfillment

You can find fulfillment in many different ways. But you have to choose to see it in every experience and situation in your life, especially those that don’t go your way.

It sounds more challenging than it really is, but it’s actually relatively easy once you know what you’re doing. And it’s way more rewarding and empowering than chasing that ever-fleeting feeling of happiness.

Here are some ways to find fulfillment and bring meaning to your life.

Know Thyself

The great philosopher, Socrates, said, “Know Thyself” to encourage his students to look inward when searching for the meaning of life. So then, when you know your true nature, you can find fulfillment because you know your true self-worth.

You can do that by thinking of a moment when you felt most fulfilled. What about that specific event made you feel this way?

The more you know about yourself, the more fulfillment you’ll find in life. Remember, fulfillment isn’t about having a nice house or the latest fashion. It’s much deeper than that and much more nuanced.

It just takes a bit of soul searching.

Help Others

happiness vs fulfillmentHelping others is one of the best ways to fill your life with fulfillment. You feel good by volunteering your time or money to help someone in need.

The science behind it is that helping others boosts the release of ‘feel-good’ chemicals in our brains. Some of these include hormones, such as dopamine and serotonin.

So, whether you’re helping a friend move or helping out at a local soup kitchen, you’re bringing joy and ease into other people’s lives. Not only that, but you’re also making yourself feel more fulfilled.

Create Connections

Surrounding yourself with a healthy, supportive social circle allows you to feel connected to something. In addition, being part of something fosters a sense of fulfillment in your life.

You have people you can talk to anytime you feel sad or stressed out. Consequently, you don’t suffer from any feelings of isolation, disconnection, or separation.

Be Grateful

Having a sense of gratitude can help you see the purpose in life and feel like you’re connected to a greater good. Gratitude also boosts your overall health and encourages positive emotions, which can come in handy when you’re going through a tough time.

It also motivates you to strive for more. Yet, when there’s a setback, you focus more on what you have and what you’ve accomplished rather than wallowing in your losses.

Being thankful each day can help you overcome difficult times and give you the support you need to get back up and keep trying to reach your potential.

Keep in mind that if you’re not okay with what you don’t have, you’ll never appreciate what you do have, and that is the real truth of the matter.

So that’s my take on happiness vs fulfillment. Do you have anything else to add?


  1. Happiness is the subsequent fulfillment of an ancient wish. That is why wealth brings a little luck. Money is not a childhood wish. I think that today there is really little that can fulfill us to the end. If we look realistically, we should all look for happiness in small things and only in that way we would be happy and fulfilled.

  2. Thanks for your take on happiness and fulfillment. You certainly had some interesting points.

    My take is that happiness and fulfillment are wanted by many. I even believe the definition can vary from person to person. 

    For some people, happiness seems to be wrapped up in material/tangible things. However, other people seem to have it all, the expensive nice homes, cars, and all the extra trimmings but are still not truly happy.

    Then you have those who do not have much, but a well of happiness just gushes from within them and explodes from the inside out to everyone they meet!

  3. Thanks Michel for this awesome article. Happiness is a feeling that everyone can relate to, but the definition of it varies depending on the person. 

    Some people might feel happy when they are in a place where they feel safe and relaxed, while other people may be happy when they are achieving their goals or doing what they love. 

    The question then becomes, “What makes you happy?”You really describe happiness in the right way!

    There is a dark side to all this happiness. And once you start thinking about it, it can only be described as one thing reality.

    There are many things that contribute to a person’s fulfillment, from the career they choose to their relationships or hobbies. The more knowledge you have of who you are and what you want in life, the more likely you’ll be able to find fulfillment.

    Michel, you pointed out all the angles of life in this article, and I am very glad to comment on this article.

  4. Hello Michael.

    The material culture we live in is probably the main reason people try to get happiness by owning money, a car, or a house. I’ve gotten these over the years, but they can’t give me lasting satisfaction.
    Creative artwork, on the other hand, is what I can find fulfillment in. I believe that I create value with my artwork and bring joy to others.

    Kind regards,

    1. I think for most people it is a challenge to find that something that fulfills them. But once you find that thing, you just know. It could be as simple as going for a walk in the evening through the forrest.

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