“Fulfillment” has a range of definitions to a variety of people. For the purpose of this discussion, “fulfillment” is a feeling of contentment and peace. It isn’t necessarily ecstasy or euphoria, but quiet satisfaction with life and the direction in which one is heading.
Define Satisfaction: Level of happiness, overall contentedness, and life-peace on a scale of 1-10 (1 being the absolute most miserable human existence you can imagine, and 10 being maximum fulfillment).
Satisfaction can be broken down into three subsections.
- Sporadic Satisfaction
- Drawn-out Satisfaction
- Consistent Satisfaction
Let’s start with Sporadic Satisfaction.
Range: 1 minute-1 day
Sporadic Satisfaction is a spike in your feeling of overall fulfillment and happiness. Everyone feels sporadic satisfaction on occasion. For example: imagine your average happiness level is a 3.5 out of 10. Unexpectedly, you experience a moment of ecstasy. You kiss your girlfriend and she kisses you back and everything is butterflies and roses and downright incredible. You feel like you are on top of the world—soaring miles above all the poor souls on earth. This feeling of ecstasy can last anywhere between 1 minute and 1 day.
Sporadic satisfaction may be caused by a variety of factors—the most common is guilty pleasures. Often times, things we know we shouldn’t exactly be doing, cause Sporadic Satisfaction. Eating an entire tub of chocolate moose-tracks ice-cream is an example. Sporadic Satisfaction lasts about as long as it takes to finish the last bite.
Many, many experiences may lead to an individual experiencing Sporadic Satisfaction. The only common factor is length of enjoyment—which happens to be very short. These moments of complete ecstasy are nice, but they will never be able to boost your overall happiness scale spectrum for longer than a day.
Most people who base their overall happiness on Sporadic Satisfaction are generally mentally and physically unhealthy, as well as unhappy.
Range: 1 day-4 months
Drawn-out Satisfaction usually results from a beneficial life-altering experience. For example: Imagine your average happiness is a 5. Then you receive a job promotion. This boosts your satisfaction level to a whopping 9. This is what you’ve always dreamed of. You’re making a decent income and the prospects of a nice house and a fancy car are in the near future. You finally feel like you’ve reached your goal and are satisfied. However, before long, you realize that the promotion and additional work load leaves you with little time for family and friends. Work becomes a constant source of stress and you get bored driving your new car. Slowly but surely, your happiness level goes back to what it was before your promotion: a lowly 5.
Drawn-out Satisfaction is really just a lengthier version of Sporadic Satisfaction. The common denominator is that circumstances dictate satisfaction level.
And finally we have Consistent Satisfaction.
Range: a whole lifetime with occasional, brief interruptions
Everyone experiences consistent satisfaction. It’s your natural default level of happiness and fulfillment. The natural default varies from person to person. Some believe it’s their life calling to be downright miserable all the time. Their consistent satisfaction level might be a 2 or 3. Sure, a pleasurable experience may cause them to rise to a 4 or 5, but after a few minutes or a few months, they’ll go back to being a 2. Others live their life with a consistent satisfaction level of 9 or 10. These are the people who seem to be un-phased by the pressures and stresses of daily existence. They’re constantly happy and cheerful. They too experience the occasional satisfaction fluctuation. They too may receive a promotion or experience a first kiss. But generally, individuals with higher consistent satisfaction levels have less dramatic fluctuations. The thing about consistent satisfaction is that it is not based on circumstances. It’s a choice. For those who choose a higher level of satisfaction, when something good happens, they’re overall happiness might increase for a while, but to a lesser degree than someone with an average happiness level of 2.
Contrarily, when something bad happens, the 8s, 9s, and 10s tend to bounce back rather rapidly. Sure, after a break-up or death in the family, their satisfaction level might drop for a while. That’s completely natural. The trick is they don’t stay in the dumps for long. The higher the happiness level, the greater the intentional choice.
Naturally, genes do play a significant role in one’s overall happiness level. Some people are naturally inclined to a happier personality. However, every single human has the choice to be internally satisfied, or allow outward, uncontrollable circumstances to determine their happiness.
This brings me to the 100% Principle.
The 100% Principle is the intentional choice to live life with a default satisfaction level of 10. It’s the intentional choice to make life as awesome and amazing as you can, despite the struggles you may be facing. It’s choosing to be positive no matter what the external circumstances may be.
People who live the 100% Principle are governed by an internal compass. Their actions aren’t determined by others’ perceptions. They aren’t influenced by the crowd. Internally strong, the 100%-ers stand firm and find their self-worth in themselves. Their confidence isn’t influenced by their friends, and while they accept advice and listen to criticism, it does nothing to change their personal value or default happiness.
100%-ers are rare to find. If you happen to have one as a friend, keep them close. They’re loyal, honest, and consistently happy.
The Cup Theory and 100%-ers in Relationships
As an illustration, imagine that the satisfaction scale can be viewed as an empty cup. Each life is a cup, and the satisfaction a person experiences is the amount of liquid filling the cup. For example: a person with a satisfaction level of 1 will have only a few drops in their cup compared to a person with a satisfaction level of 5 whose cup will be half full (or half empty depending on your desire to argue). A person with a satisfaction level of 8 or 9 will have a cup that is nearly full.
Inherently, a relationship is formed when two people combine their cups trying to find fulfillment, satisfaction, and happiness. It’s our primal human desire to search for happiness and when we find someone who makes us happy, we cling to them closely. The problem arises when two people with a low level of consistent satisfaction find themselves together. For a while, the couples exchange the water between their two cups. Back and forth, the cups are simultaneously filled and emptied. A person with a low default level of satisfaction can only give so much, and the recipient, who is seeking a deeper purpose and meaning in life, will be left only slightly more filled than before and with a partner who is practically empty. As the relationship progresses, each partner will attempt to take more and more from the other in an effort to fill their own cup. But there will never be enough consistent satisfaction to keep both cups full.
Another possibility is a relationship where one party has a satisfaction level of 10 and the other has a very low satisfaction level. One cup is full, the other cup is practically empty. The empty cup will soon demand to be filled. But as the full cup is emptied for the other person, while one partner may feel partially satisfied, the other will feel drained and unhappy.
The Cup Theory states that a relationship can only be truly successful with 2 100%-ers. That means, that each party brings 100 percent to the table. Their cups are filled. They no longer seek to find satisfaction in each other or any outward circumstances at all. They find satisfaction and fulfillment in themselves. When 2 100%-ers come together, they experience a default feeling of satisfaction times 2. No longer are they just 100%, but 200%.
It’s one of the most amazing experiences in life to find a partner who can offer 100% and a full cup—that is, only if you have 100% to offer in return. Two people who offer 100% are a team. Two people who offer 100% are unbreakable. Two people who offer 100% are not controlled by the world. Two people who offer 100% build each other up in a way no one else can.
Consistent Satisfaction: How to become a 100%-er
So this is all well and good. But how does one become a 100%-er? I’m so glad you asked! Here are 6 simple steps to keeping a full cup and a consistent satisfaction level of 10:
- Intentional Choice
Yeah, circumstances suck sometimes. But when it comes right down to it, attitude is choice. Sigmund Freud, a famous and slightly wacko 20th century philosopher, argued that there are three chains that influenced a person and their development: Nature (genetics), Nurture (how one was raised), and Self (intentional choice). How you respond to circumstances is paramount in maintaining a high level of consistent satisfaction. No one will feel like everything is 100% perfect in their life all the time—but it doesn’t matter. You have to choose to be 100%.
- Never Compromise
There’s something about a personal moral code that is vital for the internal well-being of every individual. Everyone has a set of standards—a code which dictates right and wrong. As soon as compromise creeps into the equation, distress, depression, and despair quickly follow. Never compromise on your beliefs or morals. That is the quickest way to guarantee misery. Stick to your standards—whatever they may be.
- Ignore Negativity and Focus on Thankfulness
Don’t complain—ever. You think you have it bad? I can absolutely guarantee you someone out there has it worse. Whenever you feel like you are entitled to complain, remember the blessings in your life. Are you literate? Do you have a roof over your head? Can you walk? Can you see? Can you breathe? When was your last meal? Are you safe? Cultivate an attitude of thankfulness. If you focus on the negatives (and yes, everyone has something negative in their life), you will become a negative person. Negativity decreases overall happiness and makes maintaining 100% in life extraordinarily difficult.
Do something for others. This if probably the simplest and most effective way to boost overall satisfaction as well as sporadic satisfaction. Selflessness—even the smallest act—leads to a sense of worth and peace and the indescribable feeling of making a difference. You don’t even have to serve in a third world country or donate thousands of dollars to charity—serving can be as simple as offering a hand to an elderly lady or smiling at a child or buying that homeless bum a burger.
- Learn and Move On
Instances of pure stupidity on my part seem to occur far more frequently than they should. I tend to get into trouble and foolish situations that could easily be avoided by exercising mere common sense. Following an aforementioned episode, it’s very easy to wallow in guilt and shame. But life is about moving on. Everyone does stupid things sometimes—a wise individual will learn and move on. Never dwell on the past. Forgive yourself. Forgive others. Now learn and move on.
- Take Care of Yourself: Physically and Mentally
See: The Thing about Self-Respect and Holistic Health. In a nutshell: eat healthfully, exercise a lot, spend time with friends and family, and engage in meaningful hobbies. Read, write, and study a broad range of topics. Listen to classical music. Spend less time on worthless media consumption: TV, social media, pointless internet browsing. And whenever you’re faced with a choice: choose the better option. Take a walk or watch TV? Always take a walk.
I believe that everyone is truly searching for happiness and life-satisfaction. They seek fulfillment and purpose. Strive to be a 100%-er, live life with a full cup, and remember that no matter what happened yesterday, tomorrow is a new day and you can make it AMAZING!