Have you ever truly been satisfied? So often people settle into a comfort zone by simply raising their tolerance for pain or angst. But achieving true satisfaction demands not just that you become fully accepting of your situation, but that you feel genuinely happy and complete as you experience the ups and downs that go with your journey.
People who live a satisfied life are better equipped to deal with the curves that life puts in their path. They see challenges in business and personal life as adventures and opportunities that help them aspire and accomplish. Here are seven traits you may want to incorporate into your life so you don't end up like Mick Jagger, who still "can't get no satisfaction."
1. They make their own good fortune.
So many people just sit back and wait for luck to shine upon them. Then they get grumpy when no leprechauns show up at their door with a pot of gold. So much of what is considered luck comes from the ability to recognize an opportunity and move on it quickly. Satisfied people know they are in control of their own destiny and environment. They aren't inclined to blame others for their struggles. They see the world as their playground and engage aggressively...not because they are insecure, but rather they love to make the most of the opportunities and relationships that come their way.
2. They are good at making decisions.
So much angst comes from the decision-making process. The typical person makes thousands of decisions a day. Some may be easy, like Mocha or latte? Some may be incredibly difficult, like Should I fire this person? or Are we spending good money after bad on a project that is underperforming? Every sentence or even word choice in this column represents a decision that was made by me today. If decision making makes you cringe it will be tough to ever be comfortable with the choices you make. Really satisfied people aren't hasty; they gather the data they need to make informed choices. But neither do they get trapped in a cycle of analysis paralysis. Once they've got the information, they trust their gut instincts. And they don't waste a lot of time with regret or buyer's remorse. They happily accept the consequences of their decisions, good or bad, and move on.
3. They understand their limits.
If you don't have an understanding of what makes you satisfied, it's difficult to achieve complete satisfaction. Really satisfied people spend time thinking about the limits of what they need, what they want, and what they can do. They aspire high, but they work efficiently to accomplish the most, based upon their strengths and desires. They surround themselves with people who can round out their weaknesses and complement their strengths. Of course, they also know better than to accept those limits without testing them by consistently challenging themselves. And, of course, anytime they exceed their limits, they revel in greater satisfaction.
4. They have realistic expectations of others.
The near opposite of satisfaction is disappointment, which almost always occurs from holding unrealistic expectations. Satisfied people spend less time judging why things don't work out and spend more time being grateful for the rare times when they do. Self-aware, they recognize their own limitations, which helps them also accept that everyone else is less than perfect, too. Their ability to realistically assess people's skills, potential, and desire helps them appropriately apply effort and energy so everyone can exceed expectations.
5. They give more than they get.
One of the greatest forms of satisfaction is to know that you matter. Truly satisfied people thrive on making a positive impact in the lives of others. And they realize that there are a lot more ways to do that than writing a check to a favorite charity. They know the value of personally helping others, from mentoring young people with promise to helping someone less fortunate make a new start. All boats rise on the same tide, after all...satisfied people know that giving back makes the world better for everyone, including themselves.
6. They prioritize learning.
A major source of angst is the speed at which the world progresses and changes. Satisfaction comes from riding the wave forward rather than paddling hard to catch up. Nothing accelerates a person like constant learning. Really satisfied people know that knowledge is its own reward, but that it drives success as well. They also recognize that mental activity contributes to longevity and brain health into old age, which means they'll be around to enjoy the fruits of their knowledge.
7. They know how (and when) to let go.
No one can be truly satisfied when clinging to negativity or delusion. Negative energy does not have an on/off switch. Rather it's like radiation, which can accumulate quickly but dissipates slowly. Unhappy thoughts and feelings can eat away at satisfaction until all that is left is cynicism and resentment. Whether it is anger, resentment, memories, false hope, or grand illusions, really satisfied people have learned how to diffuse negativity quickly before it settles in place. They know when it is time to stop investing time, energy, or money in something that is not working, and when to call for a "do over." And they constantly look to the better days to come and focus thoughts and energy toward future days of happiness and success.
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