Life is the best teacher and there is no preview to the various ups and downs that life presents to you in the journey with her. No school, college or MBA can teach you how to deal with life, how you feel about your experiences and how not to be knocked out.
Many people you meet in your life tell you to be content with life. True that, but the following quote by Oscar Wilde has always been with me to make changes and facilitate growth from where I am. “Discontent is the first step in the progress of a man or nation.”
Think about this quote carefully :
When have you really challenged yourself?
When have you strived to get something done?
When have you decided to end a relationship?
When have you decided to change your job or career?
When have you made life changing decisions?
In each of these situations above, is it from discontent with the current being or situation?
Should we be discontent all the time?
No, I cringe to imagine a situation of discontent all the time because that causes negativity and being in the spiral of negativity is possibly the worst damage that you could do to yourself.
Why and when is being discontent a true guide to life :
1. Cruise Control and operating on auto pilot– In her book, My Stroke of Insight, Jill Bolte Taylor, Ph.D. tells us and I quote
“In addition, our minds are highly sophisticated “seek and ye shall find” instruments. We are designed to focus in on whatever we are looking for. If I seek red in the world then I will find it everywhere. Perhaps just a little in the beginning, but the longer I stay focused on looking for red, then before you know it, I will see red everywhere.”
If we settle for mediocrity when we are capable of lot more, we stop to grow. Observe a child and you’ll see how Children are so enthusiastic to learn, to explore, to dare and be curious. Curiosity to learn more about different things in life, different fields and phenomena should always be there. When you stop to learn discontent should enable us to take the next step forward which is to challenge our self for something different or new. ‘Unless you try to do something beyond what you have already mastered, you will never grow.’ ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson
2. Control your mind – the power to control your mind rests with you and none other. If you examine life, review, renew and search for new discoveries and push your mind to reach new destinations, you’ll participate in life. Discontentment should enable us to find our inner self and go on a journey within.
3. Relationships – treasure and thank those who didn’t leave you when you needed them the most. Thank those who stood by you during your hardships. Use discontent in some of your relationships to question your own behavior, behavior of others and decide whether to work on the relationship or move on and walk away.
4. Question – In all forms of communication, one’s impact is most effective when we pay attention to the receipt of our influence. Questions, in my view, allows one to listen and interject at the relevant time and get the other party engaged and excited about the conversation or the subject being discussed. In the relevant context, a question constructed and asked properly acts as a catalyst. Any question is relevant if asked in the right context and enables you to determine if you can continue to push forward, pull back or change your style.
Initiate and Embrace positive change, a change that leads to growth and improvement. You can initiate change only if you are discontent about the current state of affairs in some aspect of life.
5. Gratuitous – have a sense of gratitude with what you have but never be content with the kindness that you can spread amongst others and with others. Avoid excesses in that don’t hoard things that are not essential since they will become a source of misery. “Become a hunter of blessings, actively seeking them out in every experience and person you encounter.” ~Kate Nowak
Being discontent with anything that triggers growth, improvement and development of self is necessary but not one that will lead to negativity and complaints without striving for a positive change. I would say let me choose to be discontent so that I can grow, develop, and create a positive influence.
Doesn’t Self Improvement Begin With Discontent ?