Are you discontented?
Congratulations! You’re one of the lucky few.
You see, discontentment is a sign that you’re on the path to experience true happiness.
But here’s the catch:
There’s a conspiracy against you never to let you experience true joy and bliss. It began with condemning the very phenomenon that gives birth to happiness and brings contentment into your life—the phenomenon known as discontent.
But, if you can understand this conspiracy and learn to stay out of it, you can change your life for good.
You with me?
Let’s dive right in.
Why You’re Not Supposed to Be Discontented?
It’s because people around you don’t want you to question the status quo.
They want to keep things are they are. After all, the scariest thing in the world is change, right?
Change brings with it a disturbance, chaos, and confusion. And nobody is ready for that.
So, What’s Wrong With Discontent?
In fact, discontent is natural to every human being.
But, it is also the most feared thing in the world. Because you see, most people choose to stay satisfied with what they have to avoid new challenges.
A new career path, a new partner, or a new adventure—such things can only germinate in the soil of discontent. You cannot crave something new and better unless you’re utterly disgusted with your current situation.
But, as I said, change is scary.
That’s why people don’t want you to be discontent with your life (not entirely).
“I don’t know what makes you say that. As I see, people around me are not against discontent.”
Society is not entirely against your discontent. They want you to be discontented (a little), so they can manipulate your emotions.
Because anybody who can control your feelings can also control your actions, and that’s why the world tries to dissatisfy you (just enough) about trivial things, like, the car you drive, the energy drink you consume, the salary you’re earning, and stuff like that.
And they do so because they want to sell you something—an idea or a product. In fact, they are experts at persuading you to believe that you need what they are selling.
But, the truth is:
Such people don’t want you to get genuinely unhappy. Because once you are delighted, you start asking the real questions. And when you ask real questions, you expect real answers.
And they don’t have any.
What is Discontent, Exactly?
Discontent is a state of mind in which you feel something is not ‘right’ and needs to be changed, exactly how we, the humans, have evolved—our roots are discontent.
Notice how most of the inventions came into existence because somebody was not content with the way things were. Let’s take the wheel, for example.
Long long ago:
Somebody was unhappy with the way humans used to travel.
The idea of riding on the backs of donkeys, horses, and camels was not acceptable to him—the ride was too bumpy to enjoy. So, his displeasure kept rising, and as a result, came The Wheel. Today, instead of riding on the back of an ass, you drive a car.
And it’s not just about the wheel. Take a good look at the stuff you have, and you’ll notice that most things were born out of pain and inconvenience.
- Mathematician Acharya Aryabhata invented zero, one of the most important inventions of all time, because he wanted to make large calculations possible.
- The father of Ayurveda, the Hindu system of medicine, Maharishi Charak, presented various combinations of medicinal plants and procedures to help people live healthier lives.
- Thomas Edison discovered electricity and helped people enjoy light even after the sunset because he was unwilling to put up with the darkness.
The same is true for more recent inventions like mobile phones, cars, fire alarms—almost anything you can think of.
When others discussed how bad things were, our status-quo disturber was busy working on his dream—making things better.
And in doing so, he initiated a rebellion against the status quo.
Be Happy With What You Have (Really?)
So, if discontent is the catalyst to a better future, why is it a turn-off for some people?
I’ll tell you why.
People and society want you to be satisfied in all kinds of situations, so you don’t get to dream of a better life. And that’s the reason your parents and society have conditioned you to think and behave in certain ways. In fact, when you refuse to accept things as they are or try to develop a new perspective, you are labeled ambitious, over smart, and overconfident, etc.
But it’s nothing new. It has been like this forever.
Dissatisfied people craving a better future have always been taken for fools. But that’s alright. It’s part of the game.
Don’t Let Others Stop You.
So, am I saying that people condemn discontent because they’re afraid of your rebellion?
And it’s up to you if you let them stop you from dreaming greater things in life. Such as:
- A better health
- A better education
- Better living conditions
If you let others talk you out of your dreams, you’ll always be miserable. But if you let discontent overwhelm you, consume you, eat you from within, a new life can be born.
And believe it or not, you already are discontent. Of course, you appear content on the surface, but an underlying current of discontent is always there. And if not addressed, it can screw your life.
In fact, that invisible undercurrent of discontent can stagnate your life like a dead pool, and the same energy that you could use to create something beautiful can turn your life into a living hell.
Of course, you can kill your dreams and pretend that everything is alright, but that won’t do you any good. And the sooner you realize this, the better.
So, I Must Not Feel Content? Is That It?
No, there’s nothing wrong with being content.
But, here’s the thing:
Contentment or happiness is valuable if it comes naturally to you.
When you pretend that you’re happy, you create more misery for yourself. Because being genuinely unhappy is better than deceiving oneself with inauthentic happiness.
So, basically, pretending or imposing or practicing contentment shows only one thing that you’re not content with your life. It shows that you are utterly anxious deep down, and you want to hide it because you’re unwilling to pay the price to become truly happy.
Don’t Confuse Discontent With Inconvenience.
- Discontent was not that irritating feeling when the waiter served you the wrong type of coffee.
- It’s not that restlessness when you had to bear somebody’s loud voice in the metro.
- And it’s also not the disappointment you feel when you see politicians not keeping their promises.
Inconvience creates frustration. And frustration is momentary.
At one moment, you were frustrated because you couldn’t find a seat on an overcrowded bus. And the very next moment it disappeared when somebody offered you a place.
So, remember: Discontent is not frustration.
Signs of Real Discontent
Here are some signs of real discontent:
- A deep dissatisfaction over the present state of your life.
- Darkness is creeping into your heart lately, and you don’t know what to do about it.
- Your inability to sleep at night because you can’t see a way out of unfulfilled relationships.
If you have any such signs, you’re special. You’re unique in the sense that you can experience a different life than most people.
Some Possible Situations to Help Discontent Rise
You wake up in the morning and look out of the window, hoping to see a bright sun.
But instead, you see heaps of garbage and stray dogs shitting in your backyard. At that moment, something extraordinary happens. You immediately know in your heart that it’s not the kind of neighborhood you’d like for your family.
After a long and tiring session of meetings at the office, you reach home in the late evening…dead tired.
Your head is spinning like anything, and you want to crash on the bed.
But you can’t.
A marriage function is in full swing in the neighborhood park.
“What the hell? It’s almost 11:30.”
You feel like calling the police and filing a complaint. You reach out for your mobile phone, but your wife convinces you otherwise. She explains that the function belongs to a family with strong political connections. And you’ll only make a fool of yourself if you filed the complaint.
You sigh in disgust and curse the system. This time you try cotton balls in your ears, but alas, the music is too loud.
Despite kicking that old scooter a million times, it won’t start.
Onlookers are having fun. Some of them are talking about how stupid you and that scooter of yours look.
You’re sweating like a pig—humiliated in that crowded market. You sit down on the pavement and wonder how you end up in such dire poverty that you can’t afford a decent vehicle?
Your son is brilliant at his studies.
He was the best candidate for the job he had applied for the last month, and you’re sure he’ll get the job.
One day, you’re busy reading the morning newspaper when your son enters the room and sits beside you. And with tears in his eyes, he informs you that a guy with ‘high-level connections’ has landed the job.
You own a gym and have a fantastic physique.
One day you’re watching the boys almost killing themselves to get a leaner and more muscular physique.
Seeing them working hard, you slip into the past. Some of the boys are sitting in front of you to catch a breath. Your eyes get glued to the ceiling, and words automatically start flowing from your mouth.
“There was a time when I used to be the most promising wrestler in the club. I was sure that I’d get selected for the Olympics team because I worked as hard as possible. But, despite my talent and hard work, I didn’t even get a chance. The guy with ‘family connections’ with the selection committee chairman got selected, and I couldn’t do a thing. I was heartbroken, and after that, I decided to quit. Then I had to open this gym to earn a livelihood.”
(It’s a real story narrated by one of my past gym coaches.)
You wanted to oppose the idiotic ideas that the guy was proposing for next month’s sales strategy. But you couldn’t because that guy was your boss.
You wanted to slap that son of a gun who tried to humiliate you in front of your children, but you didn’t. That guy was a notorious goon.
Channelize Your Anguish
It’s important not to react to small things when you’re trying to achieve something more significant.
For example, quite often, I feel like kicking the ass of the guy whose backpack is troubling me in the metro, but I don’t.
Instead, I take three deep breaths and tense and loosen my jaw muscles three times. It helps me relax. While it’s true that sometimes I feel getting into a fight could have been therapeutic, I realize that’s not my goal.
You see, dissatisfaction is like a pressure cooker. If you keep releasing the steam at unimportant things, you shall have no steam left for achieving your goals. Therefore, you need to learn to stay calm.
Exercise regularly. Walk. Run. Dance. Anything that can help you relax would do the trick.
Remember, displeasure is the catalyst that may help you realize your goals, and you must use it wisely.
Gently Guide Your Discontent in the Right Direction
Discontent alone is not enough because you must know what you’re going to do with it.
You need to decide what kind of life you want to create for yourself and then work on creating it.
Here’s a simple exercise to help you define your priorities:
Sit or lie down in a comfortable position.
Close your eyes, take three deep breaths, and relax. When you feel you’re getting calm and serene, ask yourself: what do I want?
You may receive the answer instantaneously, and if you don’t, be patient. The answer will come at the right moment—in a form you’re least expecting. It may be a conversation between two people sitting behind you on the office bus. Or a word or phrase in a newspaper. Even lyrics of a song playing in your neighbor’s house can be the answer meant to you.
You’ll know it when it comes.
And when you do, start building your priorities around it.
When you’re clear about what exactly you want in your life, things start falling into place. And you can figure out ways to get closer to your goals.
Here are some examples:
Should you try to get a better-paying job? Or start a new business on the Internet? Or do you need to apologize to a group of people with whom you’re not on talking terms for the last three years?
Your Discontent Will Pay Off. Just be Patient
One of my cousins once used to work as a cameraman with a photographer in our hometown.
Initially, he seemed to love his work. But after some time, he started feeling restless. And I know for sure it was not momentary frustration because had it been frustration, he would have joined some bigger photo studio to earn a little more money.
But he didn’t. Instead, he aimed big.
You see, Bollywood has always attracted him, and he wanted to make a place for himself in the glamour world. But he had no resources or connections in Mumbai to help him get an entry. And yet, he took the plunge.
Often, he had to survive on biscuits and water for days. And not only that, he had to come back to the village because he couldn’t even afford biscuits and water.
And the worst part?
His own friends and family members used to laugh at him, but he persisted. And today, he makes a respectable living in Mumbai.
The discontent paid off.