In one of the six million books I have read, I remember reading a section about why you should never say that “being happy” is your goal. This resonated with me, as it is probably the number one response I would give to that question, or any other like it.

The next question is, why? Why can you not say that your goal is to be happy?

Happiness is too fluid. It’s not tied to something larger. It can come and go, and the smallest of events can affect it. Happiness can be as minor as being in a good mood, or being involved with something that makes you smile. Another person can make you happy. Another person can make you unhappy.

We want a job that makes us happy. We want a lifestyle that makes us “happy.” We all want life to be fun, as stress-free as possible, and ultimately, happy.

I worked from home today, which is quite possibly my favorite type of schedule. I was able to sleep in, and still started my work day earlier than I normally do. I went for a two and a half mile run on the beach this morning, and captured the essence of an absolutely heavenly day, weatherwise. It’s Friday, and that needs no explanation for adding to my happiness. I have some fun weekend plans with friends, and I get to spend Monday working at a golf tournament. I drove with the windows down and the roof open today. Life feels good; life is “happy.”

But I’m not fulfilled.

That’s where difference lies. You can be extremely happy, but know that ultimately, something major is missing and your life is lacking fulfillment at that time. Fulfillment comes in many forms. While I can say that my job is theoretically “fulfilling,” it doesn’t always go hand in hand with my being happy.

Fulfillment often indicates a purpose; you feel purposeful in your actions and therefore, generally feel happy. Fulfillment is more solid than happiness, less likely to sway with the events of the day.

I can’t knock being happy. There are many days that I can’t come up with legitimate reasons to be happy. I can think of reasons to be grateful, but gratefulness doesn’t have to translate to happiness. And sadly, happiness isn’t as good when it’s not tempered with fulfillment.

There’s something to be said for wanting it all. I suppose that’s why we have goals, and a better goal is to be fulfilled, than just happy.