Some people believe the only way to be happy is to be content with what you have, without wanting more.
Inherent in that philosophy is the belief that if you want more, you can never be happy since, if you aren’t content with what you have now, you will always want more – regardless of what you achieve or get in life. And what is contentment anyway?
This was the topic recently at our church in Newport Beach, California. It was intertwined with the subjects of abundance versus scarcity mentalities (which is discussed in several other articles on this website and in the BeHappy! Newsletter). And from a “religious” perspective, it seems contentment is important – with the belief that God will provide everything you need in life.
And there are many quotes by well-known people that support this “contentment equals happiness” notion. Here are just a few of them:
|“That man is richest whose pleasures are cheapest.”
- Henry David Thoreau
“If you are not happy here and now, you never will be.”
- Taisen Deshimaru
“Happiness is a function of accepting what is.”
- Werner Erhard
“The best way for a person to have happy thoughts is to count his blessings and not his cash.”
- Author Unknown
“Do not spoil what you have by desiring what you have not; remember that what you now have was once among the things you only hoped for.”
“We tend to forget that happiness doesn't come as a result of getting something we don't have, but rather of recognizing and appreciating what we do have.”
- Frederick Keonig
Sure, for some people contentment does equal happiness. But, everyone is different, and as you know if you have explored this website fully, the first thing we all need to do if we want to be totally happy is to know our own personal Definition of Happiness. You can find out yours by clicking on the "Get Instant Access" button in this box:
So, while there is undoubtedly some truth to the “contentment” philosophy of happiness, it really depends on what you really need in your life to be truly and totally happy.
For example, if you have a small 500 square foot home, an old Toyota that works “most of the time”, a job that just pays the bills – and you want or need nothing more than this to really be happy in your life – then perhaps you might be quite “content” AND happy.
Beyond that, though, how does this contentment philosophy get balanced with the desire to improve your life – and provide a better life for your family (in other words – wanting more)?
How does it create positive expectations for the future – which is a key component of creating the happiest possible life (the fundamental goal of this BeHappy! system)?
This is quite a complex issue – and, I believe, it’s not so “cut-and-dry”.
Is it terrible to want a brand new Lexus, Mercedes, or Porsche rather than stay with that 1985 Toyota? Should you not want to expand your career and get a job that not only pays the bills, but also provides surplus income that allows you certain luxuries like travel, nicer clothes, the best education possible for your children, and some nice furnishings for that 5,000 square foot home?
I believe the answer is … you can have both – contentment and wants or desires. Many people, including me, call them goals. That is, you can be content with what you have AND strive for a better life – yes, even want certain material possessions (like a nicer and bigger house, a new car, and more “toys”). Maybe you want to contribute more. Perhaps you even want financial freedom. None of these things are bad ... they can all relate to happiness, though.
Gratitude is certainly a key to happiness in life. And, you can be grateful for what you have – and need nothing more. The fact is, you can also want more at the same time – without being unhappy. You can (and should) have goals. Happiness and desiring more are, therefore, not mutually exclusive.
Many people feel these two things are contradictory. They think that, if you want more than you have, you will never be happy since, once you get what you want, you just want more.
Again, this gets complicated. And the difficult part is to train your mind – both consciously and subconsciously – to gain pleasure from both, Gratitude AND Goals.
I call it the “G2” mentality (Gratitude & Goals):
That is - be GRATEFUL for what you have (with a mindset of abundance) - AND simultaneously have GOALS (which will create positive expectations for the future) … and you will BeHappy!
Just make sure you have both – Gratitude AND Goals (G2). If one is missing, you’ll either never be able to make your life better or you’ll never have enough – and always feel like you need more.
Here’s how to achieve the G2 mentality:
It’s best to work on the Gratitude component first. This will eliminate "unhappiness" and lead you to complete "contentment".
There are many ways to be more grateful – and even become a grateful person.
First, my FREE Happiness Formula Course will take you there step-by-step.
Just fill out the boxes to the right and get your free course now.
Then, there are many tools and strategies throughout this website to help in this process as well. Here are a just few:
- The Three Great Things exercise
- Take Pictures
- The Losing It All exercise
- The You Don’t Have it Bad exercise
Once you’ve started to develop the “habit” of being grateful (don’t worry – it could take a while for it to be “automatic”) you should then focus on becoming goal-oriented in your quest for a better quality of life.
First, click here for an introduction to goal-setting. Then, use the links in that introduction to start a series of goal-setting articles designed to help you set and achieve the goals you need to improve your life and BeHappy!
There is much more on these topics – and several other related ones – throughout BeHappy101.com, so explore them all.
In the meantime, start working on the first ‘G’ - Gratitude - by getting your free Happiness Formula Video course and by clicking on each of the links above. You will quickly start feeling a difference in your emotional state and your entire outlook on life. This is especially true and effective during difficult times like we all experience in life.
The bottom line to all this is that contentment and wanting more are not mutually exclusive. In fact, I believe to BeHappy! - and lead the happiest possible life - we MUST have both.
BeHappy! my friends
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