Post #60 It’s Not What you Think
After you earn your engineering degree, you will most likely pursue your next degree or pursue employment. And you probably believe that after you land your first job or your first promotion, life will be fulfilling. Only then will you get to be truly happy. This is not so. I am going to enlighten you a little (or a lot) so brace yourself. The key to fulfillment is not what you think.
What is your Idea of Fulfillment?
Each individual has their own definition of fulfillment and happiness. Only you can be responsible for determining your own criteria. At the same time, others cannot know what will provide you with happiness or fulfillment. I caution you to be weary of others’ influence. While I believe most adults truly want to help, they cannot know how you can live out your own definition. Since life is give and take, since life is full of negatives and positives, you must pick and choose. Your answer will morph over time. But when thinking about your own happiness and fulfillment, do not neglect practical things. Besides your career, there is potential family obligations, finances, living arrangements, intellectual stimulation and hobbies among others. My point: do not rely on your career to provide you the necessary happiness and fulfillment you desire. It is not your job’s job to make you happy.
Why you Seek It
Our society tends to put much emphasis on ideas of happiness and fulfillment. It seems most prevalent in advertising, but there is an underlying message that we ought to seek happiness and fulfillment. You have probably been told that one way to do this is to get your engineering degree (or other ‘respectable’ education). Because a respectable degree, after all, is almost a guarantee that your future will be secure, stable and enriched. Be curious: your degree will not necessarily translate to your being happy and fulfilled. I want to caution you to be aware of and to question this type of mentality. Who is making these claims? Are they going to somehow benefit if you believe them? Most important, what is your backup plan if you find yourself unfulfilled or unhappy in your future life?
What is the Key to Fulfillment?
Life is a mixture of negative and positive. You will make life much more difficult if you try to resist or deny the negative. The negative serves a purpose; we need to feel negative because that makes the positive so much better. Life is a constant and consistent contrast between the two. The key to fulfillment is to understand HOW to enjoy all the positives and still maturely accept the negatives. Accepting the negative situations with maturity means not reacting, not resisting, not avoiding and not running away. Rather, recognize and allow the negatives to be what they are. This is one of the most important skills you can master. As humans, we are fair game for all emotions, good, bad and everything in between. Learn to live in harmony with negative emotions as they will always be a part of your human experience.