(Distinctions are subtleties of language that, when gotten, cause a shift in a belief, behavior, value or attitude.)
When asked what they want most people say they want to be happy. When asked what would make them happy, they trot out a list of external conditions — more money, time, love, experiences. However after they receive the things that make them happy, the happiness fades, and they end up with the dreaded “more” disease.
Happiness is about externals. It is transient. It can be adrenaline-based. It can even be addictive. It is a useful intermediate step in your development, but it is not a useful destination.
To be content is to be satisfied with who you are, not wanting to be more or to be anyone else. Content is sustainable and has a calmness, peace and strength associated with it. It is based on an internal frame of reference.
However, to be content does not mean that you quit learning and growing. You simply cease striving and start living. And the living you do will be a reflection of who you are, not because you’re trying to be happy.
Copyright 1998 Steve Straus. All rights reserved.