People are constantly striving for the sense of fulfillment that comes from true satisfaction. Satisfaction comes in two forms. There is the emotional, often fleeting, feeling of accomplishment that comes from achieving a goal. Getting a raise, buying a new car, or hitting a milestone in life provides temporary happiness. However, this soon becomes the new baseline. Psychologically, people quickly become accustomed to their new situation.

The second type of satisfaction is more intellectual. It takes the whole of a life and analyzes how the person feels about their overall situation. Generally, people tend to be more satisfied in this sense than when they consider their immediate satisfaction level. This is something that can be measured by progress, as opposed to a specific marker. You may not have reached particular goals, but you can take solace in how far closer you are to them.

Satisfaction is always counterbalanced with areas of dissatisfaction. Sometimes this is as simple as areas you want to improve in your life. For example, a person may feel satisfied with their overall life, but dissatisfied with their weight and health. These areas act as a drag on overall satisfaction. At the same time, they can be a motivator that pushes you toward accomplishing new goals.

Satisfaction can also be viewed with different frames of reference, from the personal to the global. You may have an extremely satisfied personal life, but when you look out the window everything is getting worse. This is increasingly the picture in America. According to a Gallup poll, only 26% of Americans are happy with the way things are going in the United States. Are things really that bad in the nation with the most powerful, advanced economy in the world? Or is that just our perception, given our expectations?


Podcast – Satisfaction – The Adam Goldfein Show – Hour 1

Podcast – Satisfaction – The Adam Goldfein Show – Hour 2



Additional Resources

Psychology Today, Can’t Buy Happiness?

Talent Management, Satisfaction vs. Engagement:

Change it, Can’t Get No Satisfaction…

Psychology Africa, 6 Ways to Maximize Your Job Satisfaction:

Boundless, The Effects of Satisfaction on Productivity:

Springer, Momentary Happiness: The Role of Psychological Need Satisfaction:

Psychology Today, Sexual Compatibility:

PsyBlog, 10 Psychological Keys to Job Satisfaction:

Self Determination Theory, Basic Psychological Needs Scale:


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