One of my clients said she noticed that even when she achieved her goals she still didn’t feel satisfied. It was as if there was always another mountain to climb. Which got me thinking – do we ever get to a point of being truly satisfied and “done” with our achievements?
On the one hand, we might say no, because there’s always something else to do, some other mountain to conquer. Like anything in nature we are built to be constantly evolving and growing.
But if that’s true, the flipside means we could spend the best part of our career with a pervading sense of dissatisfaction. To me that seems like a pretty bad trade off for ambition. So let’s take a deeper look.
Satisfaction is a psychological state, a sense of being complete, present, enough and not needing anything. We might feel satisfied for a short moment after we have written that article, done that presentation or got that promotion. We might attribute that feeling to that achievement. Which means I have to do the next thing to get that feeling again. But what if that feeling of satisfaction is more readily available to us? What if it was part of our essential nature? What if those brief moments of feeling enough, complete or satisfied weren’t due to the achievement, but instead as a result of a temporary quieting down of the mind. A break from the egoic mind’s eternal quest for something more, different or better.
If we look a little closer, we have all had moments of feeling satisfied with ‘what is’ even though externally we’re no way near reaching our targets. The ‘what next’ question appears to be temporarily suspended. Sunday afternoon watching a film surrounded by family for example. For most, it doesn’t take long until the ego jumps in and tells us we have to get back to the hustle. We can’t possibly get anything done from this place of peace and contentment. AND YET in my experience, feeling content with what is here now doesn’t mean we sit on the sofa all day eating cream buns (although we might occasionally). Instead what tends to emerge from that place of satisfaction is a natural desire to create, the inspiration to try things out, the drive to have a go and see what happens. We remain motivated to learn and grow, yet there is a detachment to the outcome since we are coming from a place of completeness already.
The way I see it you get to be satisfied now AND you can still want that promotion. You get to be content now AND you can still want to reach that goal. You get to be present to what is AND still want to strive for more. Don’t trust your mind (or your boss for that matter) when it tells you it’s either or.
January 15, 2023