Thanks to social media, it has never been easier to see everything you could have that you don’t have. The grass isn’t always greener on the other side, but most of us still gaze across the fence anyway. And as you stare and scroll, it doesn’t take long to become dissatisfied with what you drive, where you live, or how high your ceilings are.
Awareness of what we don’t have fuels discontentment with what we do have.
Of course, not all discontentment is bad. Maybe there’s a habit you’re trying to break. Over time, your discontentment with the consequences of that habit may cause you to finally break it. Maybe your discontentment at work will help you discover your next career move.
In fact, dissatisfaction and discontentment have led to powerful improvements to some of the world’s greatest problems. Poverty. Hunger. Joblessness. Illnesses. In many cases, the people who make these improvements are driven by discontentment. But they’re not controlled by it.
So how do they do it? What do they know about deep and fulfilling contentment that most of us don’t?
First, it’s important to understand you can’t tame discontentment by simply ignoring it. It must be replaced with something. If awareness fuels discontentment, then contentment is found by redirecting our awareness. In other words, we must shift our perspective from what’s in it for me to what’s in it for other people.
The apostle Paul wrote, “For we brought nothing into the world and we can take nothing out of it.”
In that way, we’re reminded how the value of a life is never determined by what was accumulated, consumed, or collected. Rather, it’s measured by how much of it was given away. You can’t take your stuff with you, so what will you leave behind?
When your perspective broadens and you re-prioritize what’s most important, you’ll be able to enjoy what you have, but what you have will never have you.
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