Or is it?
Our elder helps find the balance between appreciating what you have and striving for more.
Hello. I am trying to figure out how to balance what I consider to be two opposing views in my mind. On the one hand, I’ve been told it is a virtue to be content with what I have. This idea leads me to believe that I should be content with what I have and thankful that my needs are met (food, water, shelter, etc.). Which I am thankful for! I have been very fortunate thus far to have never had to worry about where my next meal is coming from. On the opposing side of my mind, I have been influenced by our culture and long for success. As such, I have devoted a strong portion of my goals and time towards attaining monetary and career success. These two points of view seem to be in contrast with one another! Being content with what I have and at the same time being ambitious/wanting more seem to be difficult to balance. Any help you could offer me on the subject I would greatly appreciate!
What an interesting question! Contentment is finding a sense of satisfaction and sufficiency. It allows us to find pleasure in the smallest things in life…finding the beauty in everything. I believe that it is possible to value and appreciate all the basic necessities in life that we have and still strive to improve ourselves. Striving for a successful career doesn’t preclude contentment. We all need to provide for ourselves and in some instances a family. You may be lucky enough to attain a career that gives you satisfaction in addition to making you financially stable. Finding happiness in your life’s work is a blessing.
I fear pursuing money just for the sake of having money will not make you happy, but that isn’t the feeling I get from your letter. If you are successful you may be able to help others in ways that you may not otherwise be able to. I believe your answer is there. How do you plan to use your success? If you don’t envy others, you are more likely to be generous. This to me is the key to contentment. Make goals. Plan for success. But do so without envy and with a sense of generosity. You already express gratitude.
I believe just by asking the question you are already quite self-aware. By practicing gratitude daily even in the smallest things such as appreciating a beautiful sunrise or a smile from a stranger, you will stay centered. Stay true to yourself. Please feel free to write back to Elder Wisdom Circle. We are always here to listen.