Have you ever pondered over what makes you content? If your life was set up like a 24 hour glass (which technically it is, but let’s gamify to make it a little more interesting that it seems), and you were asked that in those 24 hours you’ve been given the opportunity to do the things that make you contented, and if you do not, the supply is cut short, what things would you do?
The genesis of this question was a discussion I was having with a friend around what we deem as contentment (or success) in our lives and our current fixation with wealth, recognition and power. Because believe it or not, at the end of the day, consciously or subconsciously, that’s what the majority of us are aiming for. Each of us has a picture of what contentment looks, and it differs from one person to another. If you were asked to paint a picture of what contentment would look like for you, what would your canvas look like?
Most of the time you will find that people want to be at the top of the corporate ladder, run a publicly flourishing company, own a house in the suburbs with a picket fence and perhaps one at the beach front, have your kids attend ivy league schools, travel around the world for holiday and stay in exotic places, wine and dine in exclusive restaurants or clubs, own fancy cars, heck even a helicopter if you could, shop from designer outlets, be able to call the shots and have people at your beck and call – drivers, maids, watchmen, gardeners, personal assistants and subordinates. But that’s not the kind I am asking, that’s rather obvious.
So you wonder why I ask this. It’s because I keep wondering what drives the greed and selfishness that consumes our society. Why someone in the quest of their success, would leave another to suffer at their expense – look at the corruption scandals left, right and center. Why someone would hinder another as they try to make way for their success too – look at the politicking in corporations and people stepping on each others toes. Or why one would just never have enough of the earthly belongings, why we keep wanting more and more, and not for the benefit of others, but just for the benefit of self – look at the gap between the rich and the poor and it keeps growing by the day. And I realize it’s because we’re fervently chasing the things aforementioned, things that add no value to anyone else but ourselves.
We think that once we have acquired these material things that everything is okay. That when you have the monies and the properties that life will be better, that you will be happier, that you will enjoy the finer things in life that you couldn’t enjoy before. And every day we tag our happiness to that one fine day, that one fine day when everything will fall into place. And we admire people who seem to have gotten there or who seem to have it together materially. We look at them with so much admiration, “oh, he drives that car”, “oh, that’s his house”, “oh, where’s that he has flown to?”, “oh, now he’s the Director of…”, “oh, he just got the tender of…”, “oh, he’s wearing so & so”. We’re fixated on how will we’ll get that money, how will we’ll gain that recognition, how we’ll get into power, and as a result, we die trying. We forget to live for the moment and make the most of it, because the only thing we’re completely certain of, is this present moment we’re in.
I can bet you that the word “content” or “contentment” wasn’t put out there to be experienced by only the people that have money or that are wealthy or influential. I believe it was meant to be experienced by everyone regardless of your status. It’s the state of your heart every other second, based on your actions (internally) and not necessarily based on what you own or have (externally). Therefore what you choose to do every single moment is what determines how you’ll feel about yourself and within yourself – content or contempt. It’s what will haunt your conscience as you make decisions about the direction you want to take in life or about how you want to go about acquiring your wealth, recognition and power. Because let’s be real, we secretly want a taste of each and in our own right we deserve it. Isn’t that part of the reason why we do what we do every single day – wake up and work our asses off in our different spaces. And by all means, that’s A-OK. It keeps you hungry, makes you ambitious, and prompts you to work even harder for the betterment of your life and ultimately, the society.
But while at it, you’ll be surprised that what makes you content, what makes you really happy, is when in your quest for success you uplift others. When you seek to also add value to other people’s lives and make their lives better too. Success is sweetest when shared, rather than when experienced alone.
And that’s how I continue to learn the importance of teamwork, whether at home or at work. Play your part and put your best forward, but also allow others to play their part, and for them to put their best forward too.
Don’t be tempted to pinch out what’s not yours, because then you feed your greed and its one hungry and vicious cycle. It keeps going and going and going and it’s never going to be enough. What you have with you right now might seem basic – where you work or the position at your workplace, the size of your business, your turn over, your salary, where you live, what you drive (or not), what you eat, how you dress, places you go to – but gradually working with these basic things towards what makes you content is what will make you grand one day, some day.
Meanwhile, don’t just keep waiting for that one day, relish every moment, every day. Patience, integrity, persistence, hard-work and being content are key. I keep preaching this to myself every day, and I pray that I’ll always live by these words, because it’s practicable, really.
Happy Hump Day Snippers!
Signing Off ~~~ *Kawi Snippets*