You want more. Maybe you’ve achieved all of your goals and you are successful, but you want more. Then again, maybe you have not achieved any of your goals and you do not feel successful. Either way, you want more. You want more money and things. You want more stuff. Maybe you don’t want more, but instead want better things. Maybe you want perfect things. You are sure you will be happy and content once you have more.
The truth is, you can be happy and content with what you already have, and in the process have a more peaceful existence. Success is not measured by stuff or money. Additionally, you won’t be happy once you have obtained “more” if you cannot be happy with what you currently have. There are two things you can do right now to be happy and content with what you have and remain that way even if you never obtain more.
First, stop comparing what you have with what others have. Once you have done that exercise, the second step is to start comparing what you have with what others have. This is not the contradiction you think it is.
Stop comparing yourself with others
Stop comparing what you have with what others have. When you visit your friends are you comparing your home and furnishings with theirs? If you feel that theirs is better than yours, you may suddenly have a desire for a new home or new furniture. This is a very unattractive form of pride. Is your current home comfortable and safe? Does it provide enough room for you and your family? Is it in the school district you want for your children? Does it provide a satisfactory commute to work or easy access to stores or other businesses you frequent?
If the answer to all of these questions is “yes” you can simply decide to be content with it. You are not in competition with your friends. You may be surprised to learn they actually envy you – especially when they start noticing your new level of contentment. Use this exercise for everything. Are you envious of someone else’s salary, clothing, or other lifestyle factors? Take a closer look at your own salary. Is it enough to meet your needs? Is your clothing in good condition, comfortable and flattering? Is your family happy and healthy? If so, simply be content. Live Simply.
Compare yourself to others – a different group
Now, compare yourself with a different group of people. This is a group of people you either know or interact with in some way who have far less than you have. These may be people who have less money or fewer possessions than you have, but remember money isn’t a true source of happiness and contentment. If money is the only measurement used, your home, car, clothing, and furnishings may be far superior to theirs, and you should be the happier person. Fortunately for them, money is not the only measurement. If they have learned to live within their means, and they are not chasing after more, you may be shocked to learn they are far happier than you probably are.
Since money and possessions are not the ways to measure happiness and contentment, you must also consider those who are less fortunate in very different ways. You may know someone with a child who has a life-threatening illness. You most likely know people who are divorced. You may know someone who is sick, physically or they have a mental illness. There are those who are fighting for custody of their children, fighting addiction, living in a domestic abuse situation, have no education as were never given an opportunity or failed to take advantage of one, or even living in an actual war zone.
In comparison, your life looks like a fairytale, and these people would probably switch places with you without giving it a second thought, and they would be perfectly content living your life with the things you currently have.
Being successful is not how much your income is, how much money you have, or how many possessions or experiences you have. it is not how much money you spend on yourself, which does not lead to happiness. Among other things, it is how you give back, help others, and leave the world when your time is up. Happiness, success, and content are not about getting more or better things.
Once you have done these two exercises, take a good look at what you have. Don’t just look at the material things you have. Also look at your relationships, your talents, and your passion. If you truly feel that you need more and that having more will increase your happiness you should go for it. But if you like who you are and where you are in life, you can honestly say you are happy and content with what you have.