On Contentment

I’ve always tried to live life with a purpose.  How I interpret what my purpose is changes from time to time, but I adjust and continue pursuing whatever goal I have in mind. That goal always existing on some distant horizon.

I define myself based on that never ending quest to fulfill my purpose. Sometimes I call it passion, preventing complacency, or just zeal for life. An unquenchable desire to learn and grow. Restlessness. Pride.

But another part of me knows that this feeling is directly opposed to true contentment. That I can never be truly satisfied unless I give up this type of passion, ego, and my lust for consumption (of knowledge and of things). This is difficult to accomplish since so much of how I define myself is linked to these desires.

So how does one balance being content without the guilty feeling of stagnation? Maybe it’s all just in your state of mind.


6 thoughts on “On Contentment

  1. Marc R. White

    Interesting Atticus you mention “state of mind”. With such struggles of the mind/heart, I often look to some of our best teachers from the past. John Wooden is one of my favorites, having grown up during one of the last of the true sports dynasties. He describes success as the following (not the Webster’s definition but one I prefer that is my “life compass”): “Success is PEACE OF MIND, which is a direct result of the self-satisfaction in knowing you did your best to become the best you are capable of becoming.” So unlike Webster’s, it has really nothing to do with results, rather INTENT and the very peace of mind knowing your INTENT was pure.

    1. Atticus C. Post author

      That is a good definition. I think intent is a very important component – regardless of result.

      But even with the intent to become successful there is struggle. I wonder if we can learn to become content with just how we are regardless of outcome.

      We move on, learn, live life content along the way free from ambition one way or another.

  2. trueandreasonable

    Sorry, but after reading this I couldn’t help thinking about the movie the Jerk and his special purpose.

    But I agree that our lives should be aimed at something. I tend to think they should be aimed at doing good and avoiding evil, i.e., living morally.

    1. Atticus C. Post author

      Haha, Steve Martin. Classic.

      To your second point – I think living morally and being content are two separate issues (though they often intersect). My post was more so referring to the struggle to avoid personal suffering and dissatisfaction with self in aim to be more personally content.

  3. Pingback: On Purpose | BlogTruth

  4. scottishmomus

    If you seek to relinquish those things that you feel define yourself it almost seems like negating who you are. Why would you want to do that? Unless those things that define you also make you unhappy with who you are. Your ability to question purpose and reason in the world may very well be your significant purpose. Perhaps? Embracing who you are and those gifts that define you and then using them for ‘a higher aim’ that fulfilled you would seem like a healthy way forward. So much of what you have written in the posts I am currently reading are thought provoking and expressed in a way that seem uniquely you.
    Perhaps contentment is defined by letting go of what causes us personal angst. But might we not also embrace that and use it for good? In this way there is acceptance of what makes us tick while also realising relative insignificance in the greater scheme of things. I don’t know that I would want to change those things I am passionate about as I think there is a reason that I am. And a purpose. Maybe the trick is to keep things relative while accepting our strengths and weaknesses. A whole sort of package.
    Anyway, you’ve got me thinking. 😉
    Another excellently reflective post. 🙂 x


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