How Contentment Leads to Ambition
Contentment can easily be misunderstood.
Before I jump into the misunderstanding that many people have concerning it, let me begin by saying that contentment is desired by most people.
A definition might be helpful. To be content is to feel or show satisfaction with one’s possessions, status, or situation.
And there is a beautiful freedom that accompanies contentment: a freedom to be who you are, enjoy who you are, and live the life you were destined to live.
Most people, I believe, desire to be content with what they have.
But there still exists, it seems to me, a sneaking suspicion that contentment might lead to complacency. “If I was satisfied with all that I have, I would lose the drive to succeed,” some might think. And this whisper of uncertainty holds some people back.
For others, their fear of complacency results in them arguing against the entire idea of contentment. But I have found the exact opposite to be true.
Contentment isn’t about giving up or not wanting more. It’s actually a powerful force that can lay the groundwork and the inspiration to reach higher heights than we ever dreamed.
Contentment doesn’t squelch ambition. Contentment fuels it.
Contentment isn’t about settling. It’s about recognizing what you already have, valuing it, and deciding to make the most out of it.
And correctly understood, it’s acknowledging that while you have enough, you also have so much potential that’s waiting to be unlocked.
When we are content, we better focus our energy on what truly matters. When we’re no longer pursuing endless material acquisitions, we’re able to redirect our efforts towards our passions. We get to invest our time, our resources, and ourselves in the things that bring real meaning and fulfillment in our lives.
Contentment leads us to make deliberate choices about how we spend our lives. No longer are we running the rat race, trying to keep up with everyone else. We choose our own path—embracing what gives us meaning, and letting go of what doesn’t.
A mindset of abundance brings ambition because we are not acting out of scarcity, but out of gratitude for what we already have, enthusiasm for what we can achieve, and a desire to share our gifts with others.
Even more, contentment compels us to redefine success. When we are no longer tied down by society’s expectations of what we should be or how we should spend our time and money, we’re free to set our own goals and aspirations. We get to decide what matters to us, what success looks like, and what kind of life we want to lead.
And contentment sparks perseverance. You see, as we learn to be satisfied with what we have, we become better equipped to deal with life’s ups and downs. We’re more prepared to tackle obstacles and to persist in the face of adversity because nobody’s life has been perfectly easy, and yet the secret of contentment was found.
It would be wise for all of us to redefine what it means to be content. Contentment isn’t about giving up on our dreams or settling for less. It’s about appreciating what we have, recognizing our potential, dreaming even bigger dreams for our lives, and channeling our resources into our most meaningful ambitions.
Contentment doesn’t drain ambition from our lives. It fuels it.
Related reading: Contentment: How to Find This Unmistakable Freedom