We all seek satisfaction in our lives, and we all attain a degree of satisfaction. Yet, often we find that our satisfaction can be quite fleeting. Why does satisfaction wane? Are ways to increase satisfaction? Let’s take a closer look at what influences satisfaction and then we’ll reveal a few simple secrets you can practice daily to increase your levels of satisfaction in every area of your life.
The Satisfaction Shift
When we set our sights on achieving a goal, we live in a state of anticipation. As we move toward our goals and ultimately achieve them, we feel a rush of excitement and satisfaction from our fulfillment. Over time though, we become accustomed to having our once longed-for goal (landing a job or promotion, buying a new car or home, finding a relationship, etc.), and we take for granted they will remain status quo. When this happens, our focus shifts from what we have already achieved to what we hope to achieve next. While this is a natural progression, this shift can also lead to a sense of reduced satisfaction with all we have achieved.
The Thrill of Benefits
As we achieve goals, we not only have the satisfaction of that achievement, we also reap any associated benefits (awards, money, recognition, praise, etc.). This can create a perpetual chase of greater payoffs, yet not necessarily deliver any greater satisfaction. When this pattern becomes addictive, nothing is enough and satisfaction evaporates (addictive disorders such as gambling, drugs or alcohol follow similar patters with dire results).
The Authenticity Influence
When someone has yet to discover their true self and lacks clarity on their values or goals, it can be quite challenging to obtain any real life satisfaction. If know your true self, yet are not living an authentic life, you will also experience reduced satisfaction. Even when goals are reached, if they were only pursued in an effort to please someone else or to avoid the disapproval of others, satisfaction will be extremely low. When we compromise our true desires and settle for a “good enough” or a “safe” option, lasting satisfaction is unattainable and you will continue to hunger for more.
Easy Come Easy Go
When we work hard to meet a goal or we make sacrifices, when we finally reach our goal, we feel a great sense of satisfaction. When we attain a goal with little to no effort our satisfaction is equally marginalized and brief. When we compromise our values to attain an easy win (lie, cheat, steal) any true satisfaction is limited. It’s not that goals must be difficult and require a lengthy process to achieve. It’s that in order to obtain any great degree of satisfaction, one must: value the goal, pursue the goal with integrity, the goal must be in alignment with your authentic values and you must be fully invested in the achievement of the goal.
When we are children, satisfaction comes easily with the simplest of achievements. As we mature, we shift our perspective from simple joys to more demanding goals, from little to no pressure to greater internal pressure to achieve more. This progression of change is so subtle we often don’t notice. But change is always constant and we continually shift our goals and expectations and these shifts affect our levels of satisfaction. Fortunately, no matter where you are in life, there are a few simple secrets you can practice daily that will increase your satisfaction levels.
When you make an active effort to appreciate all you have achieved, attained and received, and you appreciate all of the people who make a difference in your life, you will find your satisfaction greatly increases. It’s easy to overlook that which we already have as we focus on that which we do not have. When we take time to truly appreciate what we have and what we receive from small to great, our perspective shifts to abundance. Active appreciation fuels the spirit and increases joy and satisfaction. It takes a conscious effort to practice appreciation daily, but it becomes second nature with regular practice and is one of the key secrets to greater satisfaction.
Gratitude is another secret to satisfaction that can be easily overlooked. Most of us are very fortunate. We have so many things to be grateful for on a daily basis, yet we are so busy and focused on other things we often take many of our achievements, blessings and the people in our lives for granted. Yet when we lose something or someone we have taken for granted (e.g. a job layoff), we experience a state of shock and disbelief. It seems impossible that anything so seemingly stable can be lost. We are suddenly acutely aware of exactly how much we valued and appreciated what we once took for granted. It is important to remain aware of all you value and be grateful, and at the same time, be poised to accommodate any shifts of change. When we take stock of all we have achieved and we appreciate and are grateful for what we have learned, experienced and possess, our satisfaction soars and we retain the value of these achievements.
To Thine Own Self Be True
In order to feel deeply satisfied, its imperative to follow your own path and pursue goals that are authentically true to you. Many people influence our lives or try to do so. Some mean well, but can be too forceful in exerting their will on our lives. Only you can be certain of what is valued and most important to you. Follow your heart and pursue what you love, need and desire. When you live to please others or live in fear of losing their approval, you will never find lasting satisfaction. When you follow your heart and your own authentic goals and work hard to achieve them, you will find deep satisfaction and fulfillment from both the pursuit and the resulting achievement.
We hope you join in the conversation and share your secrets to greater satisfaction in the comments section below. We wish you the best in your authentic pursuits with lasting satisfaction and joy as a result.