How to cheat discontent

Posted by in Productivity

How to cheat discontent

Let’s for the sake of visualization say you’re just reading this after finishing a long day that you weren’t particularly looking forward to – or perhaps it’s morning, and you’re staring the prospect of yet another such day straight in the eye. Perhaps it’s something else entirely, but the telltale signs of discomfort are showing.


The majority of us feel this way at different times in our lives. Interestingly enough, most all of us also feel the exact opposite at some point in time – yet we struggle to uphold the latter status over time since an inordinate amount of resources is required to maintain a continuous state of positive flow.


Or is it?

The chicken and the egg


If you’re discontent, chances are you have good reasons to be – and similarly, chances are you would prefer to be content. Unfortunately, it appears to be an obscenely common ailment of modern society to think that in order to move from discontent to content, one has to act in the physical world to improve ones stature as perceived by others in order to climb Maslow’s pyramid.


But what if you could cheat? What if, you could decide to switch the chicken and egg, and simply have contention as your starting point?


It’s rather interesting to note that Buddhist monks, despite their disavowment of physical belongings, really are happier than most due to, among other things, their focus on contentment. Quoting the aforelinked article from the venerable Times:


“Those who follow the Four Noble Truths and cultivate detachment, acceptance, the control of desires and the contemplation of the moment’s beauty are not only serene but strong — “the gymnasts of the mind,” said one scientist, admiringly. Even when not enwrapped in formal meditation, they are less likely to be shocked, flustered, angry or even surprised. You can, experimenters found, fire a gun near them and they barely jump; yet at the same time they are unusually sensitive to tiny signs of emotion in other human faces.”

What lies within reflects without


Fortunately, neither chanting nor the disquieting bending of legs are required to start moving along the path from discontent to content. You simply have to focus on what makes you content, and make a conscious decision that these things are more worth to you than what makes you discontent.


Wherever you’re at, try this: find a quiet place, sit down, close your eyes and then focus for a couple of minutes on what calms you the most. Then, spend another couple of minutes focusing on something that brings you genuine joy. I’ll be damned if you don’t crack a smile as a result.


Repeat as often as necessary, and if you maintain the focus you’ll quickly notice how your inward contentment will reflect outwards to such a degree that you’ll swiftly notice a positive change in how others respond and relate to you.


How’s that for a Jedi mind trick?