mnmlist: on finding contentedness
by Leo Babauta
Almost everyone I know is looking for something better, all the time.
They want a better life, better clothes, a better car, a better job, a better place to live. And I understand this, because I’ve been there, most of my life. It wasn’t until I learned to find contentedness, slowly, that I was actually able to improve my life:
- By realizing that spending time with my wife, my kids, and myself was all I needed, I no longer needed entertainment or shopping. I spent less, and got out of debt.
- By learning to be content with food I made myself, I stopped needing to eat out all the time (although I still do on a semi-regular basis). I lost weight.
- By learning to explore and be amazed by all that was around me, I stopped needing to drive so much, and now am ready to ditch my car. I contribute less to global warming, and am getting pretty fit from all the walking and biking.
- Most of all, I stopped the endless cycle of wanting more, of wanting better, and realized I already had everything. I’m so much happier now.
Finding contentment isn’t something that usually happens overnight, but rather comes in small doses. Some things you can do today to learn to find that contentedness:
- Look around you right now, or perhaps when you’re sitting at home. Realize that everything around you is all you need for happiness. What do you need to be happy? Food, shelter, clothing, other people, something meaningful to do, and a mindset of contentedness.
- Want something meaningful to do? You don’t need to change jobs — just help others, in any way you can. Help co-workers succeed. Be there for friends when they need you. Spend time with loved ones and be encouraging. Volunteer to help the needy. Improve your community in small ways.
- Need others in your life? Find a neighbor, and make a friend. Volunteer and be friendly. Hang out with co-workers. Be considerate, friendly, positive, in all human transactions.
- Start counting your blessings — all the things that you have to be grateful for.
- When you find yourself thinking about what you want, start appreciating what you have, every day.
- Be more mindful in everything you do – eating, showering, walking, working, washing dishes, talking, writing, drinking water.