I’ve read no fewer than six articles in the last week that deal with the issue of contentment. Whether talking about comparing income to others or wondering what life would be like if different decisions were made, it seems many of us are still focusing on that elusive Jones family and how to keep up with them.
A recent Harvard study asked college students if they would prefer to live in a society where they had an income of $50,000 and the average person earned $25,000; or one in which they had an income of $100,000 and the average person earned $200,000.
More than half chose the first option.
We love the idea that we’re making more than the average, don’t we? Makes us feel good deep down, like we’ve arrived. We love when we can tell someone that we’ve traveled to far-off destinations, too.
“Oh, you’ve never been there? I’ll have to show you my pictures.”
This must be what truly happy people do. They make more money and buy nicer things than the “average”. Who wants to be “average,” anyway? It’s such a bland word to define a whole group of people.
Unfortunately, contentment won’t be found in the next vehicle, house, vacation, dinner out, golf club, or handbag. If it was, there wouldn’t be so many weekend yard sales selling used contentment so inexpensively.
We’ll talk about how true contentment doesn’t equal consumption, but do we actually believe it? Our actions speak very loudly. When we compare our station in life to others, we begin transferring our power to change to someone else. You can redefine what contentment means in your own life; you don’t have to borrow anyone else’s version of contentment – nor the money to pay for it.