I had a great week this week working with two organisations on behalf of Live and Learn, one was Humberside Airport, and the other was Net EDI in Preston. Both Masterclasses were very enjoyable and both groups were excellent.
Next week I am in London delivering my Mental Resilience Keynote talks to two great organisations on behalf of speaking agency ‘Champions’ and I am really excited about my trip to London as the last time I was there to work was before Covid.
Happy or Content?
I had a fascinating discussion with someone I met in Marks and Spencer café where I was working yesterday. We talked about happiness and contentment and discussed the difference between the two.
Many years ago, my aim in life was to be happy and I worked hard to try to achieve happiness. I thought that when I have X amount of money in the bank or have that particular car or that house, I will finally be happy.
Happiness didn’t seem to be the answer
What I found to my dismay was that every time I reached a particular goal, I was indeed happy but only for a fleeting moment. The happiness didn’t last long, and I was soon looking for the next thing which would bring me happiness.
In fact, if I am honest most of the time, I wasn’t happy at all because I was working so hard to reach those lofty goals I was tired, angry, short tempered and miserable.
Around 6 years ago after 1 year of marriage to Julie I started to discover that happiness is almost unachievable it’s like chasing the wind. You look for it, you seek it, you desire it, and you give up many things to find it. Once in a while you will find it and experience the joy of it, but these moments are quite rare.
I started to experience contentment
What I slowly discovered with Julie is that I started to become content with the simple things in life. I am not sure when this all started but I found that I was feeling very grateful for the simple things around me. Julie, the garden, the birds, the house, even the broken-down porch which needed fixing.
I started to appreciate how content I was with life, and this really surprised me. The more gratitude I felt for everything and everyone around me the more content I felt, and this led to a feeling of deep contentment.
So, over the past few years I have been striving for contentment in my life and this has been a wonderful experience because contentment is very different to happiness. You can’t be happy in all circumstances, but you can be content.
They are not the same
Happiness is a bit different from a feeling. Rather, it is an experience, usually hallmarked by positive thinking, joy, pride and even laughter.
Contentment, on the other hand, is a long-lasting feeling accompanied by peacefulness, gratitude and satisfaction. In other words, happiness is a temporary feeling whereas contentment possesses the ability to last indefinitely.
Definition of Happiness and Contentment:
Happiness can be defined as the state of being happy or else showing or feeling pleasure.
Contentment can be defined as satisfaction.
Happiness is an emotional state that is temporary as it can come and go based on the situations that we face in life.
Contentment is more of a way of life.
Fading Away and Lasting:
Happiness involves moments of joy, which fades away.
Contentment includes a calmness that lasts.
Connection between Happiness and Contentment:
A person can be happy as well as content because happiness adds a bit more spark to an already satisfied individual.
A person can be happy without being content, in which case there will be moments of happiness in a dissatisfied life.
Happiness is short term.
Contentment is long term.
Happiness is influenced by external factors. Happiness is very subjective.
Contentment is not influenced by external factors.
Which one are you working towards?
So which one are you striving for? It takes time to develop contentment and a huge element to this is being grateful for what you have right now in your life. As you focus on being grateful for these things you start to experience positive feelings for the simplest of things.
As you continue to do this you will find that you are grateful for more and more things in your life which leads to a feeling of contentment and peace. This in turn makes you grateful and the process continues.
Thoughts for the week.
- Have you ever thought of the difference between happiness and contentment?
- Ponder on this and see if you agree with the difference.
- This week make a point of starting to be grateful and satisfied with what you have right now. This includes things and people. Look for all the positives.
- As you do this you will start to experience wonderful feelings of contentment that you can grow and develop. Sometimes the simple life can be the best life.
Well that’s it for this week have a wonderful weekend and keep believing.