This might be a tough one to understand. You may be asking yourself; don’t content and satisfied mean the same thing? Not really.
Contentment is something we should all be striving for. To be content, as far as I’m concerned, is to be able to be happy in the life you’re living; to have the ability to be grateful for what you have and enjoy life. I’m content, but I’ll never be satisfied.
To say that you’re satisfied with everything in your life is just a way to justify giving up on your dreams. I believe that if you ever feel completely satisfied with everything in your life, you haven’t set the bar high enough. You’ve given in to the temptation to accept mediocrity. You’ve settled for being good rather than striving to be great. I encourage you to not allow yourself to be completely satisfied with your life. The only time you should allow yourself to stop striving to be better is when you’re six feet under.
In April 2001 I was forced to live in a hospital while I waited for a transplant. At twenty-two years old, being stuck in a hospital room smaller than some people’s bathrooms for an indefinite period of time was as close to a living nightmare as I’d ever experienced. There was so much I still wanted to do, so much I wanted to accomplish and at the time I wasn’t sure I’d ever get to do any of those things.
Initially I felt like I was wasting time, sitting in a hospital room with my life on hold waiting for a transplant that I wasn’t sure would ever come. While I maintained a hope that a donor would be found in time, I knew that I may never leave that hospital room. I knew that I may just be waiting to die. It was incredibly frustrating and I was far from satisfied with my life, but over a period of six months I found contentment.
I learned to stop focusing on what I didn’t have and to appreciate everything I did have (family, friends, and a relationship with God). I accepted what I couldn’t change and focused on the things that I could. I found contentment, but I was never satisfied. I wasn’t satisfied with being stuck in a hospital room at twenty-two years old when all of my friends were out living their lives, going to school, getting jobs and having fun.
I wasn’t satisfied with the idea that while many people get seventy or eighty years to live their lives, I might only have twenty-three and I might die without doing so many of the things that I’d wanted to do in my life like getting married and having a family.
I think we all need to strive to feel content in our lives and to be grateful for what we have. But that doesn’t mean that you need to be satisfied with everything and stop striving to improve your life and the lives of those around you.
If Rosa Parks had been satisfied blacks may still be sitting at the backs of buses. If Terry Fox had been satisfied with living with his cancer, many people who have survived the disease since, would be dead. Being satisfied is just an excuse for not working hard to improve and there is no excusing that.
Take a few minutes at the end of each day this week to be thankful for what you have and also to think about the things that you still want to achieve. That way you can work on finding contentment, but you’ll avoid falling into the trap of feeling satisfied.
Mark is a motivational/inspirational speaker, a double-lung and heart transplant recipient, and a marathon runner. He uses his experiences on his journey from “Hospital Bed to Marathon Man” to inspire others to “Live Life from the Heart”. If you know someone who would benefit from hearing Mark’s message, contact him at Mark@MarkBlackSpeaks.com or visit his web site at Mark Black Speaks for information about his powerful presentations.