I’m truly happy. It’s a thought I had last week. I was thinking about life, with its up and downs, highs and lows and came to the realization that I am at a place in life where I accept the ebbs and flows with the knowledge that things are constantly changing. In one moment there could be sorrow and a short while later there could be great joy. There can be celebrations, victories or failures but one thing is certain – life goes on regardless of the circumstance. In that moment, the one where I thought about the fact that I am truly happy, I realized that I felt a deep sense of contentment and I smiled.
Immediately after smiling, I pondered whether contentment is a good thing. Am I really content or have I just become complacent? I thought about Herman Hesse’s words – “happiness consisted of nothing else but the harmony of the few things around me with my own existence, a feeling of contentment and well-being that needed no changes and no intensification” and as I pondered these words, I challenged myself to really explore if my state of happiness is connected to being in harmony and at peace with myself or is it because I think life can’t get any better; which is really the core of complacency.
This thought nagged me. As a leader, I know how important it is to never become complacent. A leader should always be learning, exploring, evaluating, challenging, developing, forward thinking, etc. A leader never stops GROWING. The moment a leader stops growing, it’s an indication that he/she has become complacent in life.
Complacent leaders are less detail oriented, less attentive to results, less focused on goals and become average performers. While on the other hand, a leader who may be content stays mentally challenged, surrounds themselves with people who are as strong or stronger than they are, have mentors or career coaches and are high achievers. Their sense of contentment is not connected to a feeling of having ‘arrived” or a sense that life cannot get any better than it is.
And so, yes, after carefully exploring the difference between contentment and complacency, I feel safe in the knowledge that my sense of contentment is not related to the thought that life cannot get any better than it is but instead that the journey to achieving my ultimate goal is just that – a journey to be savored and enjoyed; a journey that will be filled with successes and failures, happiness and frustration, joys and sadness. I am truly content. Gilbert K. Chersterton reminds us that “true contentment is a thing as active as agriculture. It is the power of getting out of any situation all that there is in it. It is arduous and it is rare. ”
Tip of the Week: The tip of the week is by Swami Sivananda and it says “there is no end to craving. Hence contentment alone is the best way to happiness. Therefore, acquire contentment.”