Why is it that we seem to see things most clearly when we’re at our lowest? Is it a survival instinct, like some sort of emotional adrenaline when we need to get ourselves out of a rut? Or is it only when we’re at our worst, that we have the perspective necessary to see what needs to be changed at the most basic (and therefore clearest) level?
In regards to personal fulfillment, I believe these moments of clarity act as “bumpers” to life’s bowling alley. When we are feeling unfulfilled, unhappy or depressed, there is usually (hopefully) a very strong want. To feel better, to perform better, to reach someone, to be happy.
When we are failing spectacularly at this goal, ideally, we hit our “bumper”. The moment when we re-evaluate the fundamental want or belief that is driving us and re-align ourselves on a path of improvement. I would guess the amount of time it takes to reach this moment is different for everyone, but when it kicks in, it sure lights a fire under your ass.
When we are “successful” or even just “stable”, I think it’s easy to get complacent and forgive the lack of fulfillment in our lives. The once-sharp vision for self-satisfaction may become fuzzier and neglected, in favor of the status quo. Then we get knocked down, have that crystal clear moment of purpose, and climb back up.
So maybe the hills and valleys are just something we have to go through. Or maybe it is possible to hit a plateau of self-fulfillment and maintain that clarity and happiness. Or maybe I have no idea and am just rambling for an answer!