It was Elbert Hubbard, the American artist and philosopher, who said, “Life is just one damn thing after another”. Inevitably, we are always going to have problems to deal with and inevitably going to find ourselves in a variety of situations; some of which will make us happy and some will make us unhappy.
To a greater or lesser extent, life just happens to us all. The sooner we come to a point of acceptance about this, the sooner we are likely to find peace and more importantly contentment. However, you can’t find contentment by just trying to be happy. There are far too many factors outside our circle of immediate control to contend with.
Even the very word itself is derived from the Norse “hap” which means luck or chance. “Happy” is a silly, childish word full of connotations of birthday cakes, parties, days at the beach and laughter. It’s a pleasant but transient state, fleeting and shallow. Sometimes we are happy and sometimes we are sad. It’s surface level and fluctuates day to day.
Happiness is temporary
Trying to be happy is like clutching at straws, throwing spaghetti at a wall and hoping some will stick or nibbling just the icing on the cake. Instead, you need to be working on contentment as contentment is the cake itself, the bedrock and the foundation. If you can find contentment then happiness will naturally follow.
Your level of contentment is the context. You can be transiently happy or sad on the outside yet still be firmly content at your very core. You are essentially, and fundamentally still content even though the events of the moment might be making you happy, sad, or hurting you.
“Happiness is nothing but temporary moments here and there – and I love those. But I would be bored out of my mind if I were happy all the time.” – Zoe Saldana
What does it mean to be content?
Luckily, whilst happiness is an emotional state, short term and largely controlled by extrinsic forces, contentment is much more within our grasp as it’s controlled by internal choices. Contentment is to a much greater extent, a way of being and thinking that we can cultivate and develop.
In it’s purest form it boils down to acceptance of the moment and gratitude for what we have got rather than what we haven’t. As the philosopher Diogenes the Wise said: “people have the most when they are most content with the least”. And that really is the key. Taking time to be in the present and to enjoy the current moment rather than constantly craving something “better”.
Contentment gives us an opportunity to enjoy life right now, not on the weekend and it’s the only way to true long term satisfaction. It’s not dependent on consumption, gaining things or life “going our way”. It’s a choice of perspective that allows us to be compassionate towards ourselves, to take time and to find satisfaction in the here and now rather than in the “if only” mentality that our consumerist society has conditioned us to believe in.
Contentment in “flow”
The ultimate expression of contentment in the moment is when you are in a state of what’s called “flow”. “Flow” is one of the most satisfying and contented states that a human being can experience. You might think that this might be when we are passively watching TV or relaxing but it’s actually when we are being creative and actively participating in an activity that we attain this state.
All of us have different activities that can trigger flow. Often, it will be something that we love doing or are maybe good at and it will be something that gives us a sense of self-identity and value. It will be the thing that fires you. The thing that makes you feel alive, the thing that, when you are doing it, makes time stand still.
You forget everything apart from the moment and, rather than fighting and forcing your body or brain to do stuff, it just sort of goes on glorious autopilot as if it was always meant to be doing “the thing.”
“Control of consciousness determines the quality of life.” – Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi
Find your thing
If you can, find “your thing” and do more of it and start to identify yourself as someone who is a “thinger” (if that makes sense) rather than just all of the multitude of other roles you perform, then you will be well on the way to contentment. You will find that it centers you, gives you much more satisfaction in the moment and you will source contentment from within yourself rather than looking for it from external stimulation.
Finding your flow activity and developing it will give you the energy and the fortitude to battle through the rest of your messy and stressful life. It will become a haven of peace, a well of strength, a way of identifying yourself, giving you self-belief, purpose and self-confidence. If the thing is beautiful, central to your life and a well of strength then you have found contentment.
With “the thing” at the core of your being you will start to have an inner strength and energy that will filter into the other aspects of your life. You will have found long term satisfaction and an abundance of happy days will follow and, when you are unhappy and troubled by the world you will be solid and steadfast in your contentment.
Go and find out what your personal thing is. Love it, grow it and nurture it as the very centre of your quest to accept and be in the moment. Don’t waste your time looking for happiness, take control, alter your perspective and develop a habit of contentment. Only when you do this all the happiness in the world is yours for the taking.
What do you think about being content at your core to find long term satisfaction? Please let us know by leaving a comment below!
Image courtesy of Twenty20.com
How to Appreciate Life and Not Just Exist in It
Do you sometimes stare off into space and wonder “Why am I here?” “What am I doing?” or “There has to be more to life than just this.” We get caught in the everyday routine of sleep, work, home, sleep, work, home, and…you get the point. (more…)
7 Ways to Declutter Your Personal Health
For most of us, our health is cluttered. Not necessarily cluttered by stuff, mind you, but cluttered with information. Too many new diets, new must-have supplements, or new workout plans. Too many opinions on how much water to drink, which must-have supplements to take, and how much sleep you need. (more…)
Life Lessons From The War of Art That Will Change Your Life
Life is chock full of both good and bad experiences. But, when times are hard, it’s, unfortunately, a natural reaction to revert into yourself as you take on the blows that life has dealt you. However, with that said, there is one simple truth that I’ve tried to stand by over the years. Instead of hiding away from the world during the tough times, always take a second to reflect on what got you to that position in the first place. (more…)
There’s More to Life Than Building a Business: 4 Areas of Life That Also Need Your Attention
You don’t have to look very far to see a post, article, or video about what it takes to build a business. The advice ranges from “build with balance” to “hustle until you die or you’re not trying.” (more…)
5 Ways to Encounter Creativity and Innovation That Lead to Incredible Success
3 Easy Steps to Achieving Your Goals According to Science
5 Mindset Hacks to Gaining More Opportunities and Increasing Your Income
3 Things Every Entrepreneur Must Know to Grow Their Business
Acceptance is the Key to Resiliency and Success
55 Inspirational Quotes That Will Change Your Life
(Images) 52 Motivational Picture Quotes For An Epic Year Of Success
30 Famous Quotes That Will Inspire Success In You
72 Positive Thinking Quotes For More Inner Strength & Growth
40 Rare Motivational and Inspirational Picture Quotes
3 Prince EA Videos To Change Humanities Path To Greatness
(Video) What Is Success? An Entrepreneurial Story To Inspire You
(Inspirational Video) What If Today You Knew You Were Going To Take Your Last Breath?
How To Make Enough Money From A Blog To Quit Your Job – Kate McKibbin
How Finding Your Passion And Becoming An Entrepreneur Can Lead To Happiness – Chiquita Searle
- Entrepreneurs4 weeks ago
7 Inspiring Lessons Colonel Sanders Can Teach Us About Entrepreneurship
- Life3 weeks ago
Here’s a Morning Routine That Will Make You Unstoppable
- Success Advice4 weeks ago
Why Wellbeing is the Single Most Important Skill for Your Personal and Professional Success
- Life4 weeks ago
7 Simple Strategies to Increasing Mindfulness in as Little as 30 Seconds
- Motivation3 weeks ago
How To Create Everlasting Motivation To Achieve Your Goals
- Life4 weeks ago
Here’s Why We Fall Into Self Sabotage When Things Are Going So Well
- Life3 weeks ago
5 Power Truths The Pandemic Has Taught Me About Life
- Success Advice2 weeks ago
From Foster Care to Billionaire: 6 Lessons On Building Success from John Paul DeJoria