In the 1970s I attended a speech by Dr.Viktor Frankl, the psychiatrist and author of Man’s Search for Meaning.
Frankl drew a line on the blackboard that he labelled “failure” on one end and “success” on the other. He said that much of our lives we spent working hard to be successful.
Success is primarily defined by external measures – how much money you make, your rank in the company, and the respect accorded you by your peers.
Frankl believed that there is a wholly separate dimension commonly left out of our thinking and planning. He drew a vertical line across the horizontal line and called it the fulfilment-depression line.
Fulfilment is the deeply felt sense that your life is full, whole. Fulfilment, unlike success, is largely defined by internal measures, by how we feel about what we are doing or have done.
You cannot find fulfilment by chasing success, by working harder, by running faster. We largely know what is required of us to be successful – hard work, perseverance, talent, and a little luck. We are less sure – as individuals and as a culture – of what is asked of us to be fulfilled. What can we do?
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