Discontent is nearly always a symptom and rarely the cause
Whenever I feel some kind of discontent in my life, I try to look behind that discontent to discover what’s really going on.
Discontent is nearly always a symptom and rarely the cause.
I wrote a few days ago about the craving for travel that re-watching The Secret Life of Walter Mitty triggered.
As I reflected at the time, the real need was not for travel but for a sense of adventure.
Discontent doesn’t have to be something negative.
It doesn’t have to stop at wishing I could travel more. Or wondering about what might have been. Feeling dissatisfied with our job doesn’t automatically mean we should quit. If we find ourselves unhappy in our relationship, it doesn’t mean it has to be over.
That is the danger when we focus on the symptom rather than the cause.
Discontent with our life, our marriage, our job, our circumstances is normal at different stages of our life.
Sometimes, the end result may be that a change of job or moving to a new place is what we need.
But we don’t start there.
We have to get to the bottom of what’s causing the discontent.
Why do we no longer enjoy going to work? Is it the work? A change of team? A new boss? A different project? Or is it related to circumstances outside of work that are affecting how you feel about it? It could be any number of things.
We have to remember that the discontent is just a symptom and then, before making any radical changes, work our way backwards to uncover what is actually going on.
Discontent, embraced and explored wisely, can be a positive and powerful tool to make sure we live a full and meaningful life.
But if we let it lead us to make rash decisions that address only the symptom and not the cause, we will find ourselves living with permanent discontent.
Image: Frank Marino