Being Content Isn’t the Same as Settling

I feel strongly about the word contentment. It’s a fantastic goal, to be contented.

However I get push-back from a well-meaning colleagues, friends and random people who believe I’m on the wrong track. Most feel that contentment is for lazy people who settle for mediocre.

Therein lies the reason that contentment is exactly the right word, at exactly the right time, for anyone who wants to have success in life and be fulfilled and happy. The very idea that people are uncomfortable with the word “content” means they have forgotten (if they ever knew) what it means and how to experience it.

Just a few days ago I started reading Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi.  On the book jacket it also adds, “Steps to Enhancing the Quality of Life” which says best what the book is about. Many authors and scholars consider this work an instructive, profound resource contributing enormous insights into human behavior and our desire for happiness and fulfillment.

This passage appears on page 10…

“In fact, there is no inherent problem in our desire to escalate our goals, as long as we enjoy the struggle along the way. The problem arises when people are so fixated on what they want to achieve that they cease to derive pleasure from the present. When that happens, they forfeit their chance at contentment.”

That is the sadness, or worse, the tragedy!  That we spend our lives always striving and never taking those moments to recognize and celebrate our achievements, regardless how small.  All it takes is a moment of awareness that we have taken a step forward – no matter that the step isn’t across the finish line. Moments of contentment are what make life rich and contribute to our happiness and sense of peace.

So how can one say that “contentment” is for slackers? One can’t.  Contentment is for the wisest among us who know that a life well lived is one where “enjoying the struggle” is even more important than what lies ahead.  There’s plenty of time to enjoy the future – just wait until it becomes the present.

Hope you find some moments of contentment today.

For those who want to be more content with their time and less annoyed by people, the Minute Shift can help. Weekly tips that take less than 60 seconds to read.

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