Last updated: Dec 05, 2019
You’re not aware of it, but society has duped you.
There’s a conspiracy never to let you experience true happiness.
And it all started with condemning the very phenomenon that gives birth to contentment: Discontent.
If you can understand even a fraction of what it is, and how things work around it, you can change your life for good.
Why It’s Not Okay to Be Discontented?
Well, because society doesn’t want you to start questioning the status quo.
In fact, you’re expected to maintain it—that’s how the world functions. If you start questioning the relevance of status-quo, everything shall be disturbed. And guess what, nobody is ready for that.
Is There Something Wrong With Discontent?
There must be something intriguing about it. But what is it?
Let’s get to its bottom.
You see, discontent is natural to you, to me, to every human being.
But most of the people prefer staying satisfied with what they have and avoid new things—a new career path, a new way of life, an adventure.
You know why?
Because we are conditioned not to feel dissatisfied and unhappy.
You see, it is a state of mind when you “feel” that something is not “right” and needs to be changed. That’s how we humans have evolved; our roots are in discontent.
Notice that most of the inventions came into existence because somebody was not content with the way things were.
Let’s take the example of the wheel:
Somebody was not happy the way humans used to travel.
The idea of riding on the backs of donkeys, horses, and camels was not entirely acceptable to him because the ride was too bumpy to enjoy. The displeasure kept rising and rising, and then one day, out of the blues appeared “The Wheel.” Today, instead of riding animals, you drive a vehicle.
Take a good look around your home. Most of the stuff you have was born out of pain and inconvenience.
Thomas Edison discovered electricity because he was not content with the darkness after sunset—he must have faced difficulty in locating things at night.
Columbus discovered a new land because he wanted to explore the world.
Mobile phones, cars, new vaccines, cameras—anything you can think of was invented or discovered because somebody was not satisfied with the then present situation.
When others were discussing how bad things were and how nothing is possible, he was busy focusing on his dream—making things better and creating a brighter future for all of us.
And by doing so, he initiated a rebellion against the status quo.
Be Happy With What You Have (Really?)
Why is discontent such a turn off for some people? It’s quite obvious they want you to be happy in all kinds of situations, so you don’t get a chance to realise that you owe yourself a better life.
Never aspire to create something groundbreaking.
Avoid looking at grander homes.
A more fulfilling career? It’s not for you.
More wealth? Forget about it.
Well, because dissatisfaction has the power to disturb and shake people from their deep sleep.
Nobody is ready for that.
That’s why your parents and society have conditioned you to think in a certain way since childhood.
And when you refuse to accept the things are they are, when you try to gain a new perspective, you are labelled ambitious, over smart, overconfident, etc.
It has been like this forever. People who were dissatisfied with their present and wanted to create a better future were taken for idiots because they believed in a dream. They desired to create something out of thin air.
They were condemned.
Don’t Let Others Stop You
Does that mean that people shall condemn you too if you try challenging the status quo?
But don’t let this conditioning stop you from dreaming greater things.
Better health, better fitness, better education, better living conditions, better neighbourhood—dream what your heart desires. And never let the unreal content overpower your life.
You may appear content, but the truth is that there is a kind of discontent—an underlying current which, if not addressed, can screw your life.
It can stagnate your life energy, and the power that you could have used in creating something beautiful starts making you sad and anxious.
You feel something is not right.
But since you don’t know what, you start cursing and blaming everyone—parents, society, the education system, politics, world economy, and god.
Nothing is wrong outside; it is there inside you.
The issue is that you’re trying to feel content in spite of feeling dissatisfied with your current situation.
Let me explain:
Can you be satisfied with 2 Rotis when you are hungry for 4?
How long you think you can live in a pathetic neighbourhood when you see comfortable and cleaner blocks daily on your way back from the office?
You think you can be content with a bachelor’s degree when your heart craves for a masters’?
You can only kill your dreams and pretend that you are happy with what you have, but it’s not going to help. The sooner you realise this, the better.
Is There Something Wrong With Contentment?
There’s nothing wrong with being content, but let me also say this:
Contentment or happiness is excellent if it comes naturally to you.
It’s when you start pretending that you’re happy that you create problems for yourself.
Being genuinely unhappy is far better than deceiving oneself with inauthentic happiness.
Pretending or imposing or practising contentment signifies that you’re not content. Somewhere deep down, you are utterly anxious, and you’re trying to hide it because you’re not ready to face the truth – you’re unwilling to pay what it takes to be genuinely happy.
You’re hiding your anguish by practising content; otherwise, there would have been no need to practice being content in the first place.
What’s Wrong With Discontent?
Except that your parents and political leaders and organised religions have vested interests in projecting it as a sin.
The truth is, there’s no sin in being discontented.
I’ll tell you what is:
- To compromise with your present circumstances and not doing anything to change them
- Being submissive in times of crisis when you need to stand up and take charge of your life
“But I don’t think people around me are against discontent.”
The people around you are not entirely against it. In fact, they want you to be a little hopeless and unhappy, but not too much.
That way, they can manipulate your emotions. And anyone who can manage your emotions can control the way you act or respond.
People with vested interests bombard you with insignificant things. They want to make you dissatisfied enough about trivial things, like, the kind of car you drive, the type of energy drink you drink, the salary you’re earning, and stuff like that.
So they can sell you something—an idea or a product.
Such people are excellent at framing trivial questions. They can persuade you to believe that you need what they are selling.
But here’s a catch:
Such people don’t want you to get genuinely unhappy. Because once you are, you start asking the real questions. And when you ask real questions, you expect real answers.
The people who wish to manipulate you are incapable of providing real answers.
If you can understand the conspiracy, then these people won’t be able to manipulate your emotions and eventually lose control.
Don’t Get Confused
- Discontent was not that disappointment when the waiter served you the wrong type of coffee.
- It was not that irritation when you had to bear the loud voice of the person talking over the phone in the metro.
- Don’t confuse it with the frustration when politicians don’t keep their promises.
Frustration is momentary.
At one moment, you were frustrated because you couldn’t find a seat on an overcrowded bus. And the very next moment when somebody offered you a place, you immediately forgot everything.
Discontent is not frustration
Signs that Something is Not Right
You feel a deep dissatisfaction over the present state of your life.
A kind of hopelessness has been creeping into your heart lately, and you don’t know what to do about it.
You are unable to sleep at night because you can’t see a way out of unfulfilled relationships.
These are some of the symptoms.
And if you have any such sign, you’re special. You’re unique in the sense that you may be able to experience a different quality of life than most people.
Unless you’re lucky enough to get infected by discontentment, you shall never be able to understand me.
Heck, you may take me for a guy who just lost his mind.
The Rise of Unhappiness
You kill yourself every day at work—drinking coffee after coffee, playing stupid games on the PC to help you “relax,” staying back till late.
Most of the staff has already left, but you don’t feel like going home because the relationships at home are strained or less than loving. And you don’t know where else to go. Unhappiness overwhelms your life.
Some Possible Situations to Help Discontent Rise
You wake up in the morning and look out of the window, hoping to see a bright sun.
But instead, you see heaps of garbage and stray dogs shitting in your backyard. At that moment, something extraordinary happens. You immediately know in your heart that it’s not the kind of neighbourhood you’d like for your family.
After a long and tiring session of meetings at the office, you reach home dead tired.
Your head is spinning like anything, and you want to crash on the bed.
A marriage function is in full swing in the neighbourhood park.
“What the hell? It’s almost 11 at night.”
You feel like calling the police and filing a complaint. You reach out to your mobile phone, but your wife convinces you otherwise. She informs that the marriage function belongs to a family with strong political connections. You’ll make a fool of yourself by filing the complaint because nothing will happen.
You sigh in disgust and curse the system. This time you try sleeping with a little cotton in your ears, but alas, the music is still too loud.
Despite kicking that old scooter for a million times, it won’t start.
Onlookers are having fun. Some of them are talking about how stupid you and that scooter of yours look.
You’re sweating like a pig—humiliated in that crowded market. You sit down on the pavement and wonder how did you end up in such dire poverty that you can’t afford a decent vehicle?
Your son is brilliant at studies.
He was the best candidate for the job he had applied for the last month, and you’re sure he’ll get the job.
While you’re busy reading the morning newspaper, your son comes and sits beside you. He informs you with tears that a guy with high-level connections has landed the job.
You own a gym and have a fantastic physique. One day you’re watching the boys almost killing themselves to get a leaner and stronger physique.
Seeing them working hard, you slip into the past. Some of the boys are sitting in front of you to catch a breath. Your eyes get glued to the ceiling, and words automatically start flowing from your mouth.
“There was a time when I used to be the most promising wrestler in my club. I was sure that I’d get select for the Olympics team because I was working as hard as I could. Despite my talent and hard work, I didn’t even get a chance. The guy with ‘family connections’ with the chairman of the selection committee got selected, and I couldn’t do a thing. I was heart-broken, and after that, I decided to quit. Then I had to open this gym to earn a livelihood.”
(It’s a real story narrated by one of my past gym coaches).
You wanted to oppose the idiotic ideas that guy was proposing for next month’s sales strategy but couldn’t because that guy was your boss.
You wanted to slap that son of a bitch who tried to humiliate you in front of your children, but you didn’t – that guy was a notorious goon.
The List Does Not End Here
There can be numerous examples of when you had to face injustice and unfair situations. And you couldn’t do anything because there were more powerful factors at play.
Now, it’s up to you what you want to do with the resentment arising out of such situations.
Can Discontent Be Destructive?
It can be destructive.
You see, it is energy, pushing you hard to take control and sail the boat of your life in the right direction. It is neither good nor bad. You may control it, or you may let it control you – up to you.
Channelise Your Unhappiness in the Right Direction
Discontent alone is not enough. You need to figure out what you’re going to accomplish with it.
Decide what kind of life you want to create for yourself and then set your priorities.
Here’s a simple exercise to help you define your priorities:
Sit or lie down in a comfortable position.
Close your eyes, take three deep breaths, and relax. When you feel you’re getting calm and serene, ask yourself – what is my life purpose? Why am I here?
You may or may not receive the answer instantaneously.
Don’t worry, have faith in yourself, and the answer shall come at the right moment—quite often when you’re least expecting it.
The answer may come in the form of a conversation between two people sitting behind you in the office bus.
It may occur as a word or phrase in a newspaper.
Even lyrics of a song playing in your neighbour’s house can be the answer meant to you.
“But how would I know?”
When your answer shall come, you’ll instantly recognise it.
And when you get the answer, start building your priorities around it. (For example, my life purpose is to share my life story and experiences with you. Most (if not all) of my preferences revolve around it).
Get clear about your life purpose and things shall start falling into place. You’ll be able to figure out what you need to do to get closer to your goals.
Should you try to get a better-paying job? Would that help?
Should you plan to start a new business on the Internet?
Do you need to apologise to a group of people with whom you’re not on talking terms for the last three years?
How about getting in touch with your old friends?
Write down your priorities on paper. Maintain a diary to keep track of ideas that might help you define your preferences. Once you’ve clarified your priorities, take some action and don’t be afraid to fail. It’s by failing that we learn our lessons.
For example, I had launched avdheshtondak.com in 2010, and it took me five years to learn my lessons. Without those lessons, I could never have succeeded.
So, take your time.
Do something. Gain a little experience and then do the same thing again — this time with better understanding.
Channelise Your Anguish
It’s important not to react to small things when you’re trying to achieve something more significant.
For example, quite often, I feel like kicking the ass of the guy whose backpack is troubling me in the metro, but I don’t.
Instead, I take three deep breaths and tense and loosen my jaw muscles three times. It helps me relax. While it’s true that sometimes I feel getting into a fight could have been therapeutic, I realise that’s not my goal.
You see, dissatisfaction is like a pressure cooker. If you keep releasing the steam at unimportant things, you shall have no steam left for achieving your goals. Therefore, you need to learn to stay calm.
Exercise regularly. Walk. Run. Dance. Anything that can help you relax would do the trick.
Remember, displeasure is the catalyst that may help you realise your goals, and you must use it wisely.
The Right Time is NOW
Youth is a time when you need to make choices -decisions that can make or break you.
Decide if you want that inauthentic satisfaction that leads to nowhere. Or a real dissatisfaction that can create a better future for you if you channelised it in the right direction.
Do you feel it’s not the life you dreamed? Then do something about it.
Are you disgusted with your financial background? Improve it.
Feel trapped in your current life situation? Find ways to make it better.
Your Discontent Will Pay Off. Just be Patient
One of my cousins once used to work as a cameraman with a photographer in our hometown.
Initially, he seemed to love his work. But after some time he started feeling a kind of restlessness.
I know it was not a momentary frustration because had it been frustration, he would have joined some bigger photo studio to earn a little more money.
He didn’t do that.
Bollywood has always attracted him, and he wanted to make a place for himself. The challenge was that he had no resources or connections in Mumbai to help him get an entry.
Despite unfavourable circumstances, he took the plunge.
There were times when he had to survive by eating biscuits and drinking water for meals. Many times he had to come back from Mumbai because of lack of resources. People used to laugh at him, but he never gave up.
Guess what, today he makes a respectable living in Mumbai.
His discontent paid off.