How Content Are You?

Bill Abbate

There are two essential areas of life in which everyone can choose to be either contented or discontented. Satisfied or dissatisfied. We can be content with "what we have," and we can be content with "what we are." Or not.

Let's look at each side of these two areas to see if we can determine which is better for our lives.

How content are you with "what you have"?

The design of today's world is to keep us unfulfilled, dissatisfied, and disoriented. Much of it wants to keep us off balance when it comes to what we own and what we have.

It is not just companies that make "things" either. Many aspects of our culture and social influences create such an environment as well. The world is constantly pushing something shiny and new, better or improved on us. There is always the next big health trick or way to look better, younger, and more attractive. There is an endless stream of things that create desires that are never completely satisfied. The marketers want us to become as addicted as possible so we keep purchasing their products. But that is much of what marketing and sales are about. They create a craving and desire for more or the next thing.

Then there is the effect that others have on us. That desire to "keep up with the Joneses." To have a newer and better car, a bigger house, the right clothes and jewelry, and on and on it goes.

It is like everyone, and everything wants to make our choices for us. Fortunately, we do not have to choose what they would have us choose. We can make our own choices in life, regardless of how new and how much better something is.

We can make a choice not to allow the consumer-driven consciousness all around us to influence our lives. We can tame the desires and lusts if we want.

When you awaken to the reality that things bring us very little happiness, which is temporary at best, you can begin to make different choices. The trick is simple - wake up to what is happening and start making conscious choices in your life. You must get off the treadmill to create and choose your own path forward—a path that can lead you beyond happiness to genuinely lasting joy.

The way I see it, you have three choices. You can choose to get more stuff, less stuff, or moderation. Which is the right choice for you and your life?

How content are you with "what you are"?

Are you content with what you are and who you are becoming? It can be difficult to become content with who we are when our lives are pulled and pushed in so many directions. Let's narrow it down to three important areas of life - work, home, and relationships.

The constant tugging in each of these areas makes us who we are and who we are becoming. The self-help gurus want to push you by saying you are never enough and can be more than what you are. Work can push and pull you in all kinds of directions. Your spouse may want you to be more involved at home. Depending on your children's age, they may want you to be more or less involved in their lives. Your friends may want you to spend more time and do more with them. Sometimes we can feel pushed and pulled in so many directions we want to scream!

So, what are you? Are you an employee or business owner, a spouse, a parent, a friend, along with many other labels? Most likely, your answer is yes. You are all of those things and more.

It is fine to be happy with what you are except for one little issue called atrophy. If you seek to remain the same, over time, you will lose out in life. Doing nothing to grow yourself, your capabilities, and your capacities can be deadly. Doing nothing leads to atrophy, and atrophy leads to death. If you do not seek to become a better employee, spouse, parent, and friend, you can become less than you may want to be.

The key to becoming more of what you are is balance. Slow, steady improvement is all that is required. As with our entire life, we grow steadily and slowly. So long as you are growing, you can improve your life. Otherwise, well, you know the alternative, and it isn't pretty.

Why not stay aware of your need to grown, ever so slightly and steadily, through the rest of your life. We have more opportunities today than ever before to be more, do more, and become more. Why not take advantage of those that work best for you. Do a quick search on the web for self-improvement or self-development, and you will find countless ideas. Don't be overwhelmed by them. Simply choose one thing you can do each day to improve who you are, and over time you will enjoy what it does for you in your life.

Final words

What prompted this article was a quote by a Scottish gentleman who lived about 200 years ago. His words ring true as much today as ever.

"It is right to be contented with what we have, never with what we are." James Mackintosh

Why not make the choice today to become more content with what you have. Get off the treadmill and onto your own life path. I can assure you your life will become more rewarding and fulfilling when you quit seeking what so much of the rest of the world seeks.

Make an effort, however slight, to become more than you are each day, and you will not only have a better life, you will find more enjoyment and fulfillment. You will build a life that lasts and makes a difference, wonderful things to which you can aspire.

Following Mackintosh's words can help you create a far better life filled with your own choices. Why not heed his advice today?

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Semi-Retired-Leadership/Executive Coach -Personal & Career Growth Expert -Editor and Leadership Writer at Illumination -Author

Richmond, VA
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