I want to post an addendum to my last entry. Within a few days of posting my thoughts on gratitude, I saw the headline “Gratitude is Nice, But Don’t Let it Keep You from Action” on one of my favourite websites, The Gloss. See link below.
On the surface, Jen Dzuria’s article seems to be the exact opposite of mine. She talks about how being thankful for the little things can cause a person to stop striving for the bigger things. She discussed her own experience with this, describing a time in her life when she focused on the positive things in her life and ignored the major problems she should have been working on.
I want to be very clear that this is not what I am advocating. I can be thankful for what I have now and still work hard for more in the future. Gratitude is no excuse for complacency. Contentment in the now is no reason to ignore the future.
Right now, I am working at being content with what I have. I am proud of what I have. I’ve accomplished a lot so far, and I have quite a bit to show for it. But I’m still looking ahead. I’m working hard and keeping my eye open for better opportunities at work. I’m saving my money so one day I can afford a car and a house. When I talk about being content, I’m thinking more about squelching the jealousy I feel when others talk about shopping sprees and fantastic trips. Some of these things I’ll never need, others I may have to wait for. I don’t want that to make me miserable, so I focus on the positive.
For perhaps the millionth time I’m reminded of the Serenity Prayer. I think, whatever your religious feelings you can see the wisdom of striving for:
to accept the things I cannot change;
courage to change the things I can;
and wisdom to know the difference.”
The answer to any debate is almost always the middle of the road. Life is rarely an all-or-nothing proposition. Be content with what you have, but keep your shoulder to the wheel and your eyes on the horizon.
And read Jen Dzuria’s articles, because she’s a smartie.