This quote, on a sign at Jimmy John’s, caught my eye recently.
(I tried googling to see who came up with it, but I can’t find the answer. If you know, drop me a comment!)
Of course, I immediately thought of how this relates to contentment.
More does not fix the problem.
I’ve often said that if you can’t be content with what you already have, getting more is not going to fix the problem.
If you are unhappy with a $100K salary, you will not be happy with a $200K salary.
If you are not content with the car you have, a nicer one will not make you content.
If you are not grateful for the house you have, you will probably still not be grateful if you buy a nicer one.
The problem is generally not with our circumstances (though certainly there are exceptions), but rather a problem inside of us.
Getting more of what you think you want is never going to lead you to that mystical place called, “Enough”.
There’s also the fact that reaching for more without ever getting to “enough” can lead to extreme behavior. For instance, you might:
- work out too much
- continually upgrade your house
- keep adding things to your car
- get obsessed with self-improvement
Sometimes, wanting more is a good thing.
The desire for more is what drives us to improve our lives, and that’s not a bad thing at all.
The human race wouldn’t be as advanced as it is if we hadn’t wanted to change and improve things, and I’d hate to live in a world where everyone was just satisfied with the status quo.
Who knows how many things wouldn’t have been invented by now? I personally am grateful that someone wasn’t content with outhouses.
But, you can get TOO focused on more.
Wanting more is fine.
But when wanting more consumes you, you’ve probably got things a bit out of balance.
And when you persist in focusing on more when that particular more is really out of reach, you are going to be unhappy.
The answer? Balance. OF COURSE.
Do you ever get kind of tired of the answer to everything being balance? It’d be so much easier if we could just swing to extremes.
Unfortunately, balance does seem to be where it’s at.
Contentment and the desire for more balance each out.
Wanting more will drive you to improve things, but contentment will help you realize that even without more, things are still ok.
Pursue more, but start from a place of contentment.
If you have a grateful attitude about your current salary, then when you get a promotion, you will feel joy over it. You started from a place of, “This is enough.”, which means that the new salary will also be enough.
I started lifting weights with an attitude of, “My body looks fine already.”, which means that I am free to be happy about the muscle I’ve added, but I am not focusing on all the bodily imperfections I could ferret out if I tried.
If you try to buy a better house but it doesn’t work out, you’ll be ok because your contented heart knows how to see your current house as enough.
Starting with a, “This is enough, and I also see that things could improve.” mindset will help you to aim for an outcome but also hold that desired outcome loosely.
Then if it works out, great! If it doesn’t work out, that will be ok too.
I’d love to hear your thoughts on this quote and also on the balance between contentment and wanting more.
P.S. Looking for more help? Read all my posts on contentment right here.
P.P.S. The flowers in this post are from a hydrangea I purchased at Aldi some years ago. It always produces deeply colored pink blooms, but some this year are purple and I have no idea why. I am not displeased, though!