Why do you wake up every day? Why work? In one way or another, you are striving for something. You may be after a particular career, a beautiful house, a fast car, or just a retirement in Bali. In any case, you want something. Did you ever bother to clarify what? With what would you be content in life?
I ask if you have ever thought about what you want in life. You have indeed done that in certain moments, even unconsciously. But have you deliberately set some time to do just that? I mean, have you gone to a room for 2 hours to figure it out for yourself?
From my experience, few people consciously attempt to answer such questions. Even less devote as much as 2 hours in a row. The number is not significant. It just conveys the degree of determination and willingness to grow and live life to the fullest.
After all, if you do not know what you want, how can you hope to live a fulfilling life? How could you be content in life? You need to know what you want to work towards that. Now, if I demand a quick response to this question, you will probably come up with the usual stuff: money, status, power. If you sit for 2 hours, much more exciting desires will reveal themselves.
Why money, status, power
Let’s briefly see why the first responses usually boil down to the triptych: Money, Status, Power. In short, this is because, in a way, society conditions us to have such aspirations.
Already from early childhood, parents ask what we want to become. The wording is critical. They ask what we want to BECOME, and they refer to WORK. They expect to hear, “I want to become a lawyer”. The answer “I want to become a happy human being” is out of the picture. I don’t know about you, but I find it sad and somewhat scary.
The same with formal education. We go to high school, and all we care about is the grade because this is what universities and employers want. We get a university degree to get a job. Why not go to university to just learn stuff? With no end goal in mind.
We want a job because it means money. But it is not as simple as that. We do not desire a regular job. We want a high-paying job. Why? We do not wish just to live. We want to live “rich”. In our minds, money will bring possessions and status. And status can be an easy way to grab power.
But why do we want power after all? Is there an innate longing to hold power over others? Are we socially conditioned to believe that people in power are happy and successful? Or do we miss something in our lives and resort to power-seeking? If this is the case, what is that we miss?
The missing link to be content in life
You may already know that if you sit for 2 hours (or 1 hour or 30 minutes at least) and try to answer the question “With what would I be content?”, the final answers may surprise you. Try it and see. The responses will differ from one person to the other. However, an underlying feature will characterize almost every desire.
It appears that we constantly miss something in our lives. Take the yearly goals, for example. In every New Year’s resolution, many people set such goals. Some successfully manage to complete them. Even then, they keep making new goals.
If you keep setting new goals, it means that your previous plans were not good enough, or you just want more. You are not content in life. So, either your ambition or your greediness has increased. Do not worry; it is totally normal. Do not take my word. Just see from your own experience.
You must have set your own BIG goal at some point in time. Let’s say your goal was to find a job in a particular company with a specific salary. Imagine that after eight years of hard work, you achieve your goal. Do you then rest and enjoy the fruits of your effort? Maybe you will do so for a month or even a year. But still, it is not enough.
No matter where you are, you always want more. You make plans to advance your career, to buy a bigger house, a faster car, a better “life”. It is natural. We humans do not seem to be content with anything we have. We keep wanting more. The sooner you see this, the better your decisions.
- Consciously devote some time to locate your desires
- Be alert of the social conditioning: money, status, power
- Come to terms with your greedy nature
Greed is the norm
Do not take me wrong. I do not regard greediness as a virtue; I just observe that our behavior is rather greedy in nature. You can debate if you want. I would be delighted to see what you think (especially if it is an opposing view).
To clarify further, I view contentment as an essential characteristic in everything that has to do with physicality. It is just that since most people’s lives are limited to physicality (as opposed to spirituality), their innate greediness finds expression in desires like money, status, and power. No matter how more they earn, they are not content. It is natural. It’s just unfortunate they are looking in the “opposite” direction.
Again, do not believe what I say. If what I say makes sense to you, that is a good start (maybe). Still, you better not believe nor disbelieve. Whether this makes sense to you or not, you only have your own experience to reach an understanding. Use that. Take this blog as an inspiration, not a guideline.
My opinion is not correct by any means. I am just looking, seeking, and enjoying the journey of life. I am confident anyone can do that. So thank you for reading this article. And always remember: Life is all Around.