We humans…we’re amazing. We can climb mountains, fly to outer space, travel faster than sound, and communicate across the globe with a single swipe on an electronic device in the palm of our hands. It’s simply incredible. It seems that whatever we conjure up in our minds, we can eventually achieve.
The constant aspiration for growth and innovation is great when it improves the entire world…But more often than not, our aspirations are self-serving. We want more because we assume we’ll be happier. After all, if we earn a $100,000 salary today and are somewhat happy, then $150,000 should create even more happiness, right??
We live in a discontented world — A civilization that’s constantly reaching for bigger, better, and…simply more. However, no matter how much we have, we can always have more. And, if we think that more is always better, than we’ll just never stop. So…perhaps the real answer to being happy is with contentedness. If we learn how to be content, then maybe we’ll just always be happy regardless, and not sporadically happy based what’s happening in that moment.
What Does It Mean to Be Content?
Contentedness… Nobody talks about this word these days… What does it really mean to be content?
It means that in all things, in all situations, we’re genuinely happy with who we are, where we are life, and what’s coming for us in our future.
Instead of constantly wanting for more, for bigger, for better, we’re totally good with what we’ve got! Sure, it would be awesome to have some more money, but whether I have a brand new car or brand new house vs. the used car and shelter than I already have, no big deal. Life is still good and I’m thankful for it.
That is what it means to be content. And quite honestly, it is a FANTASTIC state of mind to be in.
10 Ways to Be Content in a Discontented World
Want to know how to be content in a world that keeps wanting more? I don’t profess to know all the answers, but I have been a man with constant wants, and it has plagued me often. I have reached high into the sky, only to have my basic wants and needs crumble beneath my feet.
When I finally learned how to be content, life suddenly slowed down, it opened up, and I became so thankful for every day on earth. And, thankful for those that I’m spending it with.
Below are my lessons. My journey. And, my current methods for achieving contentedness.
Like I said, it’s a work in progress, but the lessons thus far have been powerful for me, and my hope is that they will be for you as well.
This is a pretty loaded question, but the beauty is you don’t need to have the full answer for it to be effective.
I don’t necessarily know how I want to impact the world just yet. But, I do know that want a great relationship with my wife and my kids.
What is it that you want? Think about that as we go through the rest of these points.
2) Put your time toward what you want
I just said I want a better relationship with my wife, so naturally, I should start to think about how I would achieve that!
How will I develop a great relationship with my wife?
- By spending the majority of my time at work?
- By often going out with my buddies for a drink or signing up for softball 3 nights a week?
- Or, perhaps by constantly treating her like a servant rather than an equal?
Ummmm, no! of course not! …Yet this is what many of us do in our lives.
If you want a great relationship with your wife, then you’re going to want to spend time with her, ask her questions about how she’s doing, and surprise her with things she actually wants! And most importantly, not asking for anything in return.
Find out what’s important to you and then set up your life to actually coincide with those goals and aspirations.
Making more money by working more is often NOT the answer.
3) Put your blinders on in your neighborhood
Sure, your neighbors have a boat, the other neighbors have a camper, and that guy down the road has a fricken sweet sports car.
Are any of those things going to make you happy? Probably not.
Stop worrying about what they’ve got and instead spend time thinking about what you really want out of life. Chances are that Jimbob down the road has no clue, so stop copying him.
Related: 10 Things I Learned From a Dying Man
4) Facebook is not real life
If you want to know how to be content with life, then it may be best to stay away from Facebook.
People don’t want you to know how crappy their life is. In fact, they want you to be envious of them. So, they do every possible selfish thing they can think of, post it on social media, and then get a ton of fake friends following them for their shallow life.
In the end, they’re miserable because they’ve done nothing purposeful on this earth.
Stop being envious of people that look like they have a great life. Chances are they don’t.
And, you’re wasting your time scrolling through your phone wishing you were someone that isn’t at all happy. How dumb is that??
5) “Creating a better life” rarely creates a better life
A few years back, my wife and I decided to buy a house, fix it up, and flip it for gobs of money.
- The project took 8 months to finish
- My wife and I spent very little time together
- And she ended up hating that house in the end and resenting me for talking her into buying it.
Our relationship was literally hanging on by a thread because we were “trying to create a better life” for ourselves and our kids.
Were we hard up for money? Did we really need the extra $20,000? Did it change our lives dramatically enough to call it worth the sacrifice?
No, no, and no!
It was dumb. We were fortunate to get through it without divorcing each other. If nothing else, it was a valuable life lesson…but I wish we didn’t have to learn it the hard way.
That next project of yours…Is it really to make life better for you and your family? Or is it just another thing…? Another distraction? Another senseless to-do that will have very little positive impact in the end?
Related: Your Money or Your Wife?
Want to be content with your life? Then figure out how to make a living doing what you love. Sure, it might only pay $80,000 a year vs. $200,000 doing what you hate, but so what?
Can’t you live a pretty good life on $80,000?
Why waste your whole life doing what you hate just so you can buy little snippets of things you like? Why not instead just do what you love and be happy all the time?
7) Be intentional about being thankful
Some of the most miserable people are always wanting more. I know some of them. They have no end goal. They just know that they want more.
To them, they’re becoming successful.
To a person that’s content, they’re just an idiot chasing their tail.
If you want to be more content in life and want to stop that constant wanting, then start being intentionally thankful.
- Be thankful for that roof over your head during the rainy days
- Be thankful for your healthy kids that still look up to you
- And, thank God for your health, your physical body, and the beautiful area you live in.
There is SO much to be thankful for. Even if you’ve experienced painful loss, there are still countless things that should make you feel blessed in this life.
8) Help those in need
If you have a hard time with #7, then it’s probably time that you start hanging out with people that have far less than you.
- Help out at a Boys and Girls Club
- Serve food at your local shelter
- Drive through that neighborhood on the other side of town
It’s time to open your eyes.
You’ve got it good. If you don’t think your life is all that great, start helping those that are truly in need.
9) Recognize the greatest things in life
When are you the most happy in this life?
- Is it when you’re flashing cash and buying a round of drinks at the bar?
- When you’re weaving in and out of traffic, putting the pedal to the metal?
- How about when you take a trip to the other side of the world?
Sure, those things are exhilarating, but do they provide lasting happiness? Nope.
Based on my time on this earth so far, the greatest things come from:
- Helping others
- Close friendships
- Believing in a higher power
Those three things can really go a long way if you truly want to be happy and content in this life.
10) Don’t try to drag anyone else along with you
Want to be more content?
All of your friends will probably think you’re nuts. And no, they’re not going to want to go volunteer at the homeless shelter with you.
But you know what? It’s their loss.
Let them drive their fancy cars and live in their huge houses. While they’ll have nicer stuff than you, they won’t love their life like you will.
And be honest with yourself now.
- Would you rather have cool stuff?
- Or would you rather have a genuine smile on your face each and every day?
Screw the stuff, I’m choosing the genuine love for life!
Are you content in life? Are you striving to be a more content person?
My name is Derek, and I have my Bachelors Degree in Finance from Grand Valley State University. After graduation, I was not able to find a job that fully utilized my degree, but I still had a passion for Finance! So, I decided to focus my passion in the stock market. I studied Cash Flows, Balance Sheets, and Income Statements, put some money into the market and saw a good return on my investment. As satisfying as this was, I still felt that something was missing. I have a passion for Finance, but I also have a passion for people. If you have a willingness to learn, I will continue to teach.