“There’s nothing you can do that’s more important than being fulfilled. You become a sign, you become a signal, transparent to transcendence; in this way, you will find, live, and become a realization of your own personal myth.” – Joseph Campbell, Pathways to Bliss
“There’s nothing you can do that’s more important than being fulfilled.” It is vital to go for your goals and keep moving on your Journey. Keep doing the small steps that add up to completing your projects. BUT… Campbell has given us a weighty statement. I think the problem with it, though, is our idea of fulfillment. Is it being CFO of an international company? Does it require creating a company or non-profit from scratch? Does it mean all your children are high school valedictorians or tier one athletes? Does my book need to be on the NY Times Bestseller list for a year? Or is it enough that I wrote and published a book?
The dictionary says fulfillment is “the achievement of something desired, promised, or predicted.” No judgment. That’s why I often stop and look up a word. The dictionary definition reminds you of the true meaning, before you’ve laden your expectations upon it.
Is a life filled with gratitude and generosity fulfilling?
I live in a neighborhood of old people. (It’s awesome.) When I talk to my neighbors, I notice who is content/happy/fulfilled and who is not. It’s always very obvious — the signal, transparent to transcendence Campbell speaks of in the quote. Certainly, some of these people had exceptional financial and social success, but it doesn’t seem to be any guarantee for fulfillment. Sadly, age is no guarantee of wisdom or happiness.
For some of us, friends, sunshine, and mobility are more than enough. Painting rocks with funny sayings and figures then planting them for others to find is a real joy. Volunteering to drive those who can’t for simple errands is fulfillment. Conversely, for some, past accomplishments are only a proof that they now feel obsolete and it shows in their attitude.
Take a good look at the goal of your Journey. What is your goal? Write it down.
Now go remind yourself of the Stages of the Hero’s Journey. What’s the last stage? Right! It’s the one where you bring the magic back to the village. Does your goal include that last step? It absolutely must to be a Hero’s Journey and (crucially…) it will be one that finally fills you up.