I was once accused of being content. I'll admit, it was confusing. What the accusor was really angry about was what they saw as a lack of ambition. So I'll pose a question; what is the difference between unambitious and content? Is there a definite laziness factor or is it a financially responsible distinction? If it has to do with finances I'm afraid I'm not one to be easily convinced on the concept of "financial contentment". I don't believe that there can ever be enough money for someone who looks toward "financial contentment". (Notice the "quotes" around those words; yeah, I do that to show my contempt for the idea. If I were in front of you I may even use the air quotes gesture with an eye roll tossed in to drive home the point so picture that if you want to ) And don't mistake financial contentment with financial responsibility! Pay bills, yes! Save if you can, absolutely! And if you apply living simply but meaningfully into this equation, contentment, for me at least, has been attained.
Perhaps the difference between contentment and lack of ambition is based on what other people think you're capable of achieving. If you haven't been reaching for those lofty stars you either must be afraid of failure or just plain lazy. Real nice "outlook" (air quotes, eye roll). I've been accused of the 'fear of failure' one as well and to this I have spent some thoughtful nights considering the possibility but again, contentment has nothing to do with fear. It is very much lacking in any fear of anything. Otherwise there wouldn't be a content mind but an anxious and nervous one.
Now keep in mind that I'm smart. Not 'medical school' smart, mind you (my focus is a bit too shaky for hovering over an open chest cavity and due to such focus issues I'm a bit of a scatterbrain) but smart nonetheless. It is not, however, in my intelligence that I am most proud. It's in my ability to connect with everyday people. And when I say 'everyday people' I'm referring to the state of mind in which an individual's defenses are down. We all have moments of being 'everyday'. I'm talking about real people doing real things. We all need groceries and most of us use grocery stores. No need for titles, airs or fronts; you're grabbing milk. And here is where I not only get to throw in another shout-out for my love of night shift but for my love of the common man as well. It's a misconception that there are uncommon people out there; we are all the common man when we're pumping gas, waiting in line, and at the end of our days just looking forward to rest. This is the man in whom I continue to have faith. This is the man that keeps my hopes of humanity aloft. I love the common man! And with all of my valuable night shift, grocery experience I can personally affirm that the common man at the end of his day is......wait for it.......cordial. Friendly, down to earth, and just damn cordial! Do you know why? Because he is face to face with another common man.
It doesn't get much lower in the eyes of society than night shift stocker, janitor, or cashier. We are the grunts that get stuck giving our days away to another job or responsibility which is why we have to work nights. That is indeed factual. So here is your common man coming face to face with someone who has no judgement of him and no need to manipulate or trick him into doing something he doesn't want to do. They are there to ring out his milk. His relief is shown when the clerk smiles and asks if it's debit or credit, paper or plastic. These are possibly the easiest decisions of this man's day! So not only does cordiality come out from the exhausted business common man but gratitude to the grocery common man for not expecting more of him. And small conversations are carried out and the man's night is to an end and he finished it with another tired common man smiling back at him. And in this, I find contentment.
Now, not only am I smart (yes I'm getting to the reason for such emphasis!) and gifted in the art of connecting with everyday people but I am known most for my incurable habit of seeing the positive in every damn situation that is thrown my way and here is where the real confusion over the meaning of 'contentment' comes into play. When someone is around this optimism and hope during the darkest situations their lives have yet to encounter the optimism appears to be more of a personal delusion. Contentment within sorrow or poverty doesn't always give hope to the others sharing in their dire situation. It becomes mistaken for foolishness, misplaced faith, stubbornness, and naive thinking. And in these times, when strength and action seem to be the most valuable tools in the arsenal, contentment can be the enemy.
I'm going to put together the aforementioned elements of me; I'm intelligent. I'm gifted. I'm hopeful. These are not the attributes of a lazy or unambitious woman. (Okay, here's where the intelligence really comes in to play.) And I have no delusions that I am alone in my perspective of what is truly valuable.
So, as the end of this pat-on-my-back blog post reaches near let me broaden the scope to the point of application in everyday life. Contentment is also not an attribute of an uninspired person. Contentment takes motivation. It doesn't, for myself anyway, always come naturally and so I work at bright-side, less is more, embrace the moment thinking. And, as I mentioned, so do others. Why do we do this?
it helps the common man in his own contentment.
1) inspiring others and 2) appreciating what you have before it passes are what we've
found to hold two of the major positions near the top of the 'important lessons in life' list.
we love to give and hope is free.
Got an optimist in your life? Thank them. (You're very welcome :)