On the Subject of Contentment

Listening to many gurus talk about contentment, one would assume that being in that zone is the goal. While helpful to be content, is it really the full story?

Today, the post will propose that contentment is not the end-all-be-all goal. It is just one part of the journey. Kind of like a tool.

So, let’s dive right in.

Be Content

Content1

Too many people do not know how to be content with where they’re at, what they have, who they are, and what’s going on in their world. The fascination with comparing oneself with others create an ever vicious cycle of sadness, misery, and euphoria.

One moment, a person is thrilled they got a brand new car. But the minute they get home and see that their neighbor got the same car in a higher trim with fancier colors, they’re unhappy and unable to appreciate the new purchase.

OK. Artistic liberty of writing to over simplify the point

We’ve all been there. That moment when we thing our situation is not as good as we’ve once thought. It’s hard on the emotions. Hard on motivation. Worse, it bleeds into others as negative energy spilling out of our pores.

To be content means being satisfied with where one is in the moment. For many, that is just fine and rosy. The majority of us try to get to that level to experience contentment.

But… but… always a but!

But. See. What happens when you are content though? Are you settling? Are you accepting the little you do have? Some would have you believe that contentment is equivalent to giving up.

If you’re in a poor neighborhood, being content is like accepting that being poor is the best that it will be.

Sadly, that’s a very popular notion, albeit a wrong one.

Being content is independent of settling. To settle is to accept that things are as they are and won’t get better. To be content is to be satisfied with where one is. That has nothing to do with what can be.

The Drive while Content

A person who is content with where they’re at is one who will not actively look for the negative in what they have. They know that things could be worse and they’re grateful that things are not. They’re also aware of the fortune in being where they’re at. They do not need more to be happy in the moment.

They understand that more is available and possible. It just may not be for that very instant of time. They understand that they can build better and do better, just not in that split second of time.

Let’s use two story examples.

First one: Bob is living in the poorest part of town. He’s aware that he’s going to go hungry for the night, but is happy that he got a good meal earlier in the day. He’s content only in that he’s glad to be alive, well, able bodied, and of sound mind. He’s got a place to place his head and sleep without the rain pounding on his back. He has plans for tomorrow that he will address tomorrow. He’s excited that he has a chance for more but he’s also grateful that he’s not worse off than he is.

Second one: Bobby is living in the poorest part of town. He’s aware and angry that he has to go hungry yet another night and has forgotten the hardy meal from earlier in the day. He’s throwing a pity party for barely being alive and having the system rigged against him. He’s got no plans for the next day and is highly annoyed the rain is beating down on his single pane uncovered glass window. He’s cursing his misfortune and wishing he didn’t have to wake the next day to face the same drudgery of his existence.

The point kind of speaks for itself

A content person is calm. Goes with the flow when the flow says go. Works to swim upstream when the time allows for the effort. That person is not emotionally swayed by the uncontrolled realities of life. They’re more focused on doing what can be done to change the things they can change… but only when they’re able. Otherwise, they live as fully as possible moment to moment in the moments.

“Just because you’re content where you’re at doesn’t mean you’re settling where you’re at”

Motivational Monday Point

Have a spirit of gratitude. Enjoy the progress you’ve already made. Celebrate the wins. It’s OK to plan for better but do not take for granted the success you’ve already made.

It’s the current success that influences the momentum for the coming success. It’s the ability to embrace the reality of where you are that gives you the foundation to build better than where you’re at.

If you’re busy feeling bad, you’ve got less available to be positive and push forward. If you’re busy being content, you’ve got the positivity already buoying you forward for your next move.

Being content is not giving up. It is accepting the current launching pad for where ever one plans to go.

For the record, there is nothing wrong with being content and accepting where you’re at in life. That is totally and perfectly normal. We are not all called to excel endlessly. Sometimes, it’s good to hold station and enjoy the view.

As you gear up to face the week, be content with where you’re starting. Then, drive forward with gratitude, ambition, dedication, and aspiration. This will help you be an inspiration, motivation, and rejuvenation to all who you influence.

Happy Motivated Monday!

3 thoughts on “On the Subject of Contentment

  1. Loving the storyline as well as explanation on the difference between being content vs settling. Also the notion of feeling settled as is…sort of disagreeing on a piece of one’s feelings on even within comfort day in day out qualms of life..same bread and water…I’m a feeling of content to a certain extent. Happiness yes for me I’m referring of, yet I’m tired of the bread n water, but lol as you’ve quoted! There’s no need to fret, I can spice up the bread, add a bit of color to the water…yet it will taste exactly the same (food coloring no sugar lol) now my bread on the other hand has that hmph in your mouth tasting vs as it was…there was a bit of my change on contentness. This way I’m not viewing life as, same circle I continue to view whereas I’d get tired of eventually but lol without complaining aloud. We all have issues/concerns/problems, yet telling others aloud is always another story!!! Again my feelings of content is a much better view bs settling. So not my style lol. Thank you

    1. Each person’s definition of contentment will vary. What makes one content also varies. The foundation of contentment is finding peace with where one is at. It helps to have joy, but it’s not always the case. In your example. Water. One is content with water for hydration. It won’t spice up life, but it sustains life. It could have been worse, no water at all. It could be better, cold refreshing water. However, having water… being content to have the water… is the point.

      Now. The second point, one is not obligated to settle for the water. The hunt for juice and soda and ice scream to spice things up is the drive to get better. That may take time. That can be tiresome. However, the content mindset means that one is satisfied with having the water… day to day… even when not getting the soda and juice yet.

      Thanks for sharing your point… even on your train ride. Very much appreciated 🙂 Glad my shared thoughts touched feelings 😉

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