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Are you contended?



Suresh Mohan Semwal - Co-founder- POSSIBLERS and Leadership coach


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A contended person can easily be recognised by non-judgmental attitude, soft spoken abilities, gentle smile on face, forgiving nature and humility. However, like any state, it also needs to be checked and maintained daily until it becomes your nature.

We all get shocked when we hear about the depression and suicide cases of affluent and successful people. Isnt it ironical that on one hand so called poor & ordinary people sell their jewellery, house, land and even their organs to continue living and on the other there are some so called Celebrities who have loads of money & fame live in depression and at times even take this extreme decision to commit suicide? Why is it that such talented, committed, physically fit and rich people go through these feelings of aloneness (despite having millions of fans, family, friends), anxieties & depression? The feeling of discontentment can be one of the major reasons amongst many other, I guess.

I watched one YouTube video in which the speaker was emphasising on importance of commitment and not to get trapped in contentment zone. And I think the explanations were although quite motivating but were incomplete and can be misunderstood which may lead to ugly consequences. Is that so? Does contentment stop you from making efforts & progress? Or lack of contentment can drive you so crazy that you live miserably despite of all possessions and positions? I think we really need to look at this discontentment more deeply rather than just dismissing it. Let me try.

I am sure we all havethose moments where wefeel totally restless and upset with life. Sometimes these thoughts & feelings go away quickly, but other times it gets to the pointwhere you have been feelingunfulfilled with your life for weeks, months, and maybe even years. If it becomes a chronic feeling, then we need to look at it carefully. Answer the following questions:

  • Do you get hurt easily?
  • Do you get angry quite often and easily?
  • Do you judge others constantly? Do you also feel being judged? Do you judge yourself frequently?
  • Are you suspicious of others motives all the time?
  • Do you become restless and irritated easily?
  • Will you consider yourself to be a selfish or self-obsessed person?
  • Do you constantly find something lacking in your life?

If the answer to above is Yes, I am afraid you are suffering from discontentment and you must read the complete chapter now.

Most of us are in pursuit of happiness, isnt it? Anything and everything we do or dont do, purpose seems to be to attain happiness. Still, happiness seems to be an ever-elusive target. We hardly see people in constant happy states, isnt it? Life keeps throwing different challenges at us and we get off balance.

Many see contentedness and happiness as one and the same. In many ways, they are. It influences happiness. Contentment is the highest form of happiness.

What is really contentment?

Contentment is a state of being peaceful and thankful for what you have and where you are in life. It involvesacknowledging & appreciating small pleasuresof life and living with faith. It is a non-complaining or non-cribbing state. Living with faith does not mean living idle. I shall explain it later. Of course, I am not saying you should simplysettle for a lifethat doesntbringyou joy. Contentment does not mean not being goal driven:

To be a goal-driven person does not mean that you are discontent with life. You can be extremely content with life, with what you have, and with who you are. You accept yourself fully and still you can strive for goals and enjoy a challenge, and at the same time enjoy each moment of the journey with contentment.So, you should continue to dream, set targets and worksincerely but just remember to be thankful and enjoy the journey of making ithappen.

The strange thing about contentment is that its possible to feel fulfilled inside yet have outer struggleat the same time. Thats because contentmentcelebratesthe good in your life while simultaneously working through the goals. Whereas happiness maycome and go, being content is something you can continually maintain. In the contended state you become more productive and hence chances of you achieving better results are higher. However, in a contended state achievement or failure may not have huge impact on our happiness.

How to attain contentment state?

Well, this is the biggest question. Although it comes with lot of effort, practice, persistence and grace but let me suggest few steps which might help you to get there.

Clarify your values and live by them:

Values are our principles which we believe in. Values are our lighthouse which help in our decision making. Violation of our values makes us discontented. Therefore, one must check his/her actual values. We get to know our real values when they are respected or violated. Values are essentially what we care about most in life. They provide us with motivation, they give us energy and/or calm us down, and they give us a sense of fulfilment.

When your actions and thoughts are in congruence with your values, you can live authentically. Being your authentic self is ultimately going to provide you with a greater sense of contentment.

Accept yourself and your past:

Have you not seen people discontented with their height, complexion, education, parents and past events? What is the use of all this? Its good to work on things to make better but being soar and resentful about past doesnt serve any better future. Isnt it? Being dis-satisfied with current results is ok but we must not become discontented with ourselves and our past. Learn to accept and appreciate the past. Lets not crib or complain about something which either cant be changed or can be worked upon. You and I definitely cant change the past but maybe we can do something for the future in the present. Lets do that with contended state.

Accept yourself totally with your gifts, talents, abilities and limitations too. A contended person pursues goals with patience, peace and acceptance.

Remember to also focus on what you have:

There is no individual on this planet who has everything. Something we all feel lacking in lives, isnt it? But similarly, there is no one who does not have anything. The problem with discontented people is they focus too much on what they lack and forget what they have. Always remember your starting point in life, then look at the milestones you have achieved. My suggestion would be maintaining a Thank You journal and every day write down the thank you moments. Write name of people and events which made your day.

Focus on polishing your strength:

We spend a lot of our lives trying to change what we dont like about ourselves. If we arent changing them, were complaining about them. We all have strengths and weaknesses too. I am all for working on our weaknesses, but one must not forget the strengths and must polish them regularly. We can improve our weak areas for sure, but we can excel in our strength area. Itsdifficult to change the mentality that we have to be good at everything, but the reality is that everyone will have their weaknesses. Therefore, one must focus on what Imnot good at? It can be so much more beneficial and productive to continue developing yourcurrent strengths. Remember, there will never be a day when you will have no weakness but your strengths when utilised properly can compensate for the weaknesses too. Be contended with certain deficiencies in some skills, knowledge or some part of life. It is never absolute for anyone. Accept it and move on.

Being intensely involved with detachment:

A contended person can easily be recognised by non-judgmental attitude, soft spoken abilities, gentle smile on face, forgiving nature and humility. However, like any state, it also needs to be checked and maintained daily until it becomes your nature. Be contented with your past and make efforts in present without worrying about results.

To be content doesnt mean you dont desire more, it means you are thankful for what you have and patient for whats to come. Tony Gaskins