Have you ever heard a version of this before: “You should be satisfied with what you’ve got.”
I’m here to tell you that it’s not true! It’s dissatisfaction that can cause you to grow and become more. However, let’s be clear about 2 things: 1) you should always be grateful for what you do have. Only through gratitude can you receive more of the good you want; and, 2) dissatisfaction does not mean complaining – complainers only get more of what they don’t want! But, no matter how great you think your life is in any area, better is always available.
It is the natural instinct of every living thing to want to grow. Even the lowly weed will struggle to reach the light of day through the crack in your driveway. You want to do everything you are doing greater. A sales person wants to sell more; an athlete always wants to break the next record; and an artist wants to create a masterpiece. The longing for more is our true self wanting to be expressed.
I’m a member of the infamous group known as the ‘Baby Boomers’ – the largest mass of humanity to move through history – and we definitely were a dissatisfied bunch in our youth. We instigated a lot of changes, some of which we probably wouldn’t want to claim now, but it was dissatisfaction that helped lift the glass ceiling for women, dissatisfaction ended segregation and ended a war.
As my mentor Bob Proctor has pointed out, many of the comforts and luxuries that we enjoy today are a direct result of actions taken by someone who was not satisfied with the status quo. If Edison had not been dissatisfied with earlier attempts to create the incandescent bulb, he would not have spent his time conducting over 10,000 experiments before he invented the first, feasible long-burning light bulb. It was Henry Ford’s dissatisfaction with the manufacturing system that led him to develop the assembly line technique of mass production which brought to market products at a much lower cost; and today we can travel anywhere in just hours because the Wright brothers were dissatisfied with being just bicycle mechanics. These men believed there was a better way and their belief and action has improved the lives of people everywhere.
All of the religious books say that we are made in the image of the Creator. That means that we are here to create – create a better life for ourselves and everyone around us. Why do you think you have desires and dreams? Where do you think this yearning for more comes from? Wanting more money, more friends, and more experiences is not a bad or greedy desire. It’s greed only when you believe the way you can get more is to take from someone else. It’s only natural that we feel the urge to live more, do more and be more.
Each of us has been endowed with special gifts and talents and we are designed to share these gifts with the world. A gentleman by the name of Steve Bow, a former VP of Metropolitan Life, said that “God’s gift to us is more talent and ability than we’ll ever use in our lifetime. Our gift to God is to develop as much of that talent and ability as we can in this lifetime.” But often that doesn’t happen until you become dissatisfied with your current situation.
Dissatisfaction can move you to higher and higher levels of achievement. As the German novelist Berthold Auerback said “The little dissatisfaction which every artist feels at the completion of a work forms the germ of a new work.”
Now I ask you, do you know of anyone who complains about having too much money or too many friends, or doesn’t ever want to experience another adventure? I didn’t think so.
Be aware, however, that the people around you, especially those who raised you, might not like this new attitude. When I told my mother about the speech I was formulating in my head her first reaction was “Oh, I don’t like people who are never satisfied.” Understand many people, like my mother, believe you should just accept your current life – “this is the way it has always been and this is the way it is suppose to be.” Did you know that when Marconi told people that he believed he could send radio signals through the air without the use of wires, his friends referred him to an insane asylum?
You need to understand that the purpose of a goal is not to get material ‘things’ – although getting ‘things’ often is a result of reaching a goal – the purpose of a goal is to grow. I heard the Rev Michael Beckwith say once “if you haven’t grown in the last year, you’re not holding the same place, you have gone backwards because the whole universe is always moving. And where there is no growth, there is disintegration and even death”.
So let go of any guilt that someone may have instilled in your mind many, many years ago. That guilt may very well be the seed of a deeper feeling that you don’t deserve better. Let go of the guilt, and recognize your dissatisfaction as a sign that you not only want to live more and do more, but you want to be more.
One more thing you need to understand. After you reach that long, sought-after goal, IT will soon become the status quo, you will again become dissatisfied and will want to pursue an even higher goal!