Yesterday, while talking with an acquaintance, I apparently surprised him by pointing out that it is our dissatisfaction that enables us to move forward in this world, and in our lives in general. He was skeptical at first; then when I pointed out that when we are truly happy with where we are, we are complacent and see no need to move on, he was shocked by the simple truth of what I’d said. I was honestly surprised that this all came as something new to my acquaintance: he’s nearly thirty years my senior, and someone whom I understand spends time in the contemplation of life’s ways. He is also a fairly uncomplicated person. Since this perspective seemed to be one my acquaintance welcomed, I thought I would post it here, as well – perhaps he’s not the only one to have overlooked this.
In the end, dissatisfaction is what we make of it: we can dread it or condemn it, we can try to pretend we are so serene and enlightened that we have no room for dissatisfaction; or we can channel it into making our efforts more efficient and effective. It is the changes brought about by our dissatisfaction that lead to the satisfaction we have as our eventual goal. Even the person who says they are only motivated by happiness is admitting a dissatisfaction with the lack of happiness either within themselves or in the world around them that they perceive: happiness may be their goal; but dissatisfaction is what motivates them to effect the change needed to reach this goal.