Pursuing Pleasure vs Fulfillment: The What, Why and How


Pleasure vs. Fulfillment

I’m writing my first blog post in a while because this is a topic that keeps coming up when I talk to groups about health and wellness and success on a broader level. It’s an important topic because it’s one filled with myths and confusion and generally just a lack of knowledge.

The basic idea here is that most people get so wrapped up in pursuing pleasure – often short-term pleasure – that they miss out on the much more valuable and lasting fulfillment of life.

What’s the Difference?

Pleasure is what we get from eating ice cream, watching reality TV or gossiping. Pleasure adds no real value to your life and sit on the entertaining side of the ‘entertaining to educational spectrum’. There’s nothing intrinsically wrong with pleasure, it’s just that most of us spend too much time pursuing it above all else and because of that ferocious need for it, we often find negative ways to get it (ie. the ice cream in your freezer right now).

Fulfillment, on the other hand, is a deeper feeling, often tied to meaning. Because of that, it’s harder to feel, but it’s a more lasting feeling. This is the feeling we experience when we help someone, when we choose a path of service or when we nurture ourselves through some healthy means like a hard workout. Fulfillment is what sticks around long after pleasure has passed.

Why Pursue Fulfillment over Pleasure?

My argument for focusing on pursuing fulfillment over pleasure boils down to the fact that by pursuing fulfillment, you are aligning yourself with your best self, what the world needs and the greater good. This promotes progress in your life and service to yourself and others. When we pursue pleasure, we love the feeling of experiencing it, but feel deflated and anxious when it passes. But when we pursue fulfillment, pleasure comes and goes as it always does, but when we experience it, we can enjoy it just as always, but the difference is when it passes, we can feel grateful for the fact that it came. Truly the best of both worlds. Have your cake and eat it too.

How you Pursue Fulfillment

To me, the simplest way to pursue fulfillment is by doing the right thing. This sounds corny and oversimplified, but in my experience, this is when I feel the most fulfilled. This is when you feel the most aligned with yourself, those around you and the greater world, and when you have faith and follow that intuitive feeling to do the right thing, you naturally feel fulfilled. One challenge with this that can come up is clearing the clutter and the blockages to allow yourself to follow this path and that can take time. But it is time and effort well spent, for the riches and success you may desire, just might lie on the other side of these blockages.

What to do Now…

If this resonates, do some journalling on it, meditate on it or chat about it with a friend (make sure to send them this article first so they know what you’re talking about). Make a decision to even just start to recognize your level of pleasure and fulfillment throughout each day and week to get a sense of what is creating those feelings. There’s a great quote from Robin Sharma that applies here… ‘with better awareness comes better decisions, with better decisions comes better results’.

Also, leave a comment below sharing something that makes you fulfilled so we can all learn from your success!!


Thanks so much for taking the time to read this. From sunny California, I’m Brent Seal wishing you an awesome day!!


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