Discontentment is a good thing. Discontented people “modify and improve their worlds, leave them better, leave them different.” (From Neil Gaimen.)
Discontentment: An All-Too Frequent Feeling
It seems that these days we are bombarded with messages telling us to live happy and free and fulfilling lives. Shoot, I’m one of the ones sending that message, when the truth is, a big part of life often sucks. Discontentment runs the gamut: Things like, I don’t like my job or career, boss, spouse, friendships, or daily routine. I awake in the morning to “just another day of the same thing.”
Far too often I am not content. Discontentment can result from the disappointment of not achieving the American Dream. It’s unfortunate that we often can feel that way. But, there is something very powerful to discontentment.
I really like Neil Gaimen’s quote above, “And discontent is a good thing: people can modify and improve their worlds, leave them better, leave them different, if they’re discontented.”
Discontentment and Imagination
Neil Gaimen also wrote somewhere, “We all have an obligation to daydream. We have an obligation to imagine. The truth is, individuals change their world over and over, individuals make the future, and they do it by imagining that things can be different.”
In a lecture Gaimen explained this. Paraphrasing, he said something like, “Here we sit in London, in an auditorium with no rain falling on us, sitting in comfortable chairs, and listening clearly with the aid of microphone and speakers. How did this occur?
“It came about because we were discontent with rain, sitting on the floor and struggling to hear. So what did we do? We created solutions to the problem, but these solutions began with imagination, of daydreaming “what would it be like if…”
Discontentment and imagination are two seemingly unrelated words that can also harmoniously integrate and eventually result in innovation and a better life in general. Want a better life? Take a hard look at your discontentments. Are they legitimate concerns that could or should be reconciled? If so, ignite your imagination, day-dream, and then make your changes or create your new reality.
Your Next Chapter
Use your discontentment as a tool to help you create a kind of life that leads you to joy for yourself and joy for contributing to others.
- What is one thing you are very discontent with?
- Imagine what would make you content?
- As Captain Picard used to say on Star Trek, The Next Generation: “Make it so, Number One!”
Just as discontentment is your part of your providence, so is making it better. We humans were given the gifts of intelligence, imagination, and creation. Check ‘em out.
Try Imagination and Creation
Photo courtesy of SIphotography at istockphoto