Does True Contentment Kill Your Ambition?
Apr 09, 2019
Written by Jason
“I am content; that is a blessing greater than riches; and he to whom that is given need ask no more.” - Henry Fielding
Lately, I've been taking time to practice being really present with all of the good things in my life: the roof over my head, clean water to drink and bathe in, the beautiful companion animals in my house, my new girlfriend, healthy food to eat... the list could go on and on.
And what I've realized about this practice is the feeling that true abundance is consciously receiving that which has already been given.
When I use the word "receiving" it's not about taking the acquisition of a material thing. It's energetically and spiritually receiving it and integrating it into your life. It's allowing yourself to be present to the appreciation for the thing showing up in your life. Allowing yourself to be amazed, surprised and delighted by its presence. Feeling thankfulness flood the cells of your body like a cascade of wonder filling up every corner of your Being.
In this simple, yet profound appreciation for my life, I've discovered that an interesting question has arisen from within:
If I feel this content and joyful with what is... is this feeling of contentment killing my ambition, my drive and my desire in life?
Or, put another way: do I have some belief system that I need to constantly feel like I don't have enough to move me forward in life? To incessantly seek and strive for more?
This internal dialogue hit me like a brick wall.
Perhaps, for years or even decades, my ambition and drive have been fueled by a feeling of never being enough. That once I get enough financial prosperity, or fame, or recognition for my art, or enough sex or enough chocolate covered matcha doughnuts... THEN I'll allow myself to finally be happy.
Which is essentially creating a Sisyphean task for our lives that can never be completed.
For context, I want to share a little Greek mythology with you: Sisyphus was a cruel king who was punished by the Gods to push a large rock up on a steep hill, only to find it rolling back on nearing the top. Ever since he has been known for pushing the rock tirelessly till eternity. The maddening nature of the punishment was reserved for King Sisyphus due to his hubristic belief that his cleverness surpassed that of Zeus himself.
Or, put another way, in the words of singer Aloe Blacc, you keep chasin' the money, but the money don't run.
We have this insane idea in our heads that once we achieve or gain something, happiness will instantly be ours. There are an infinite number of permutations of this insanity:
- Once I lose 25 pounds, then I'll finally love my body
- Bro, when I make a million dollars, I'll be running this shit
- I dunno, I just feel like I deserve the orange Lambo (that's mine - ha!)
- If I could only get my book published, then I'll be a real writer
- When I get that record deal, I'll prove to my family it was worth it
- When I get married, then I'll finally feel lovable
You can see where all this externalization of happiness leads, right?
It's the proverbial rock being pushed up the side of the hill and as we get to the top, the rock rolls back down to the bottom.
Here's an idea: what if we actually practiced BEING happy right NOW?
Even if you're not where you thought you would be by now.
Even if your bank account is in the negative.
Even if you're still not married.
Even if you don't love your body.
Even if you think you're a piece of shit sometimes.
Can you, right now, look for good things to appreciate in your life?
“Happiness is not a goal...it's a by-product of a life well lived.” -
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