Great wealth and contentment seldom live together. – Anonymous
What does that mean?
To me, the key to this quote is the word seldom. Not never but seldom. There are people who have been able to amass great wealth and remain contented, but that is not the general condition.
The truth of the quote is seen daily in the newspapers and tabloids around the world. Whether it’s sports figures, politicians, industrialists, or movie celebrities, those with great fortunes are often found to be rather discontented. Celebrity marriages that last less than a used car warranty is just one example.
To me, this isn’t a warning against wealth, but a caution regarding the things you do once you attain some level of wealth. When you have it all, what is your next goal? When you can buy anything, where do you find happiness? These are some of the questions which often accompany the idle rich, and is a basis for the quote.
Why is learning to be content important?
There are people who are not content at every income level. To a billionaire, a millionaire is middle class. To the poverty stricken in the undeveloped parts of the world, the poor in a developed country are rich.
Anyone at nearly any level of income can be considered wealthy by someone else, and can consider themselves poor by comparing themselves to those with more. We’re all somewhere in-between, usually having enough, but rarely having it all.
But somehow, we need to find a way to be content. Not complacent or no longer interested in improving ourselves or our lives. Just happy with what we have. We can be content and still want more, we just can’t be content and desperately desire more.
By learning to be content, we can remove another obstacle to happiness. in my opinion, that’s a good thing to learn.
Where can I apply this in my life?
We all have discontent in our lives. But I believe there is productive and unproductive versions of discontent. Sitting around and griping about something is an unproductive version of discontent. It doesn’t get anything done, and it doesn’t help with the happiness factor much either. This is the kind of discontent I hope we can work on reducing.
The other kind of discontent is the productive kind. If you are content with your car, you don’t get a new one. If you’re content with your job, you don’t look for a new one. If you are discontent, you are going to work for change.
The difference between the two are that the productive kind is used to motivate and inspire, and positive and productive action comes of it. The unproductive kind of discontent is used to drive less useful emotions, demotivates and depresses, and if any action comes of it, it is rarely helpful.
Take a moment and consider where in your life you have some unproductive discontent occurring. Do you grumble about work? Well, more than usual, and without doing anything to change it? What about the other parts of your life? Is there any of the unproductive discontent there?
Grab some paper and write down what some of these challenges are, and why you feel that way about them. Then write down some of the facts related to them, and how they contribute to the unproductive nature of your discontent. The point is for you to examine and become better acquainted with the details.
Chose one of these challenges and write down what you can do to be productive. In some situations, you can’t do much. Your job might be an example. Can’t change the facts? How about your attitude? What can you change in that part of the equation, or in other parts?
We all have great wealth compared to someone. And we all have some little bits of discontent in our lives. The question is what will you do to resolve these issues. It can be done, if you’re willing to work, and not just complain.
From: Twitter, @QuotableQuips
confirmed at : http://books.google.com/ unattributed here, but also commonly credited to Thomas Fuller, who published a book of collected sayings in the early 1700s.
Photo by Howard Lake