Contentment over Ambition
Parental psychology often tries to dump unfulfilled dreams on to their progenies even before they take in their first breath of oxygen. This behavior influences the kind of life and treatment the kid receives in the course of its lifetime. Speaking from an Indian middle-class mentality, the average parent wants their kid to be either an engineer or a doctor or some other white-collar profession in most cases. Nothing beneath that is worthy of a pinch of societal respect, according to them. Thankfully, this trend is slowly but gradually shifting as the Gen Z kids are exploring a new universe of career options that focus on their creative freedom rather than being stuck to the cliched mode of thinking lingering over the past generations.
It hurts the parental ego deeply when the neighbor’s / colleague’s kid gets better grades than their own. They channel all their finances and focus on drawing a straight-line path for their kids and define it as “The Path to Success”. With these poisonous seeds implanted in the kids’ brains, they start their journey in becoming successful where the parameters for the same get defined by the so-called glorified members of the society. Just wait! Take a break! Ask yourself, why not let the flowers of interest in something creative and unconventional blossom in the kid’s life, if they desire it? Why shun it down and discourage them in the interest of the norm-setters who know nothing about your kid’s likes and dislikes? Why not support them in the path to being self-content with the progress they make in whatever field of interest they wish to pursue? What is so wrong if their profession meets passion? Why deep fry them in the pan of conventional Ambitions which you could not achieve by yourself? The answers to these uncomfortable questions are not easy. But that does not mean that you shouldn’t be asking them.
The Practice of Being Content
It isn’t what you have or who you are or where you are or what you are doing that makes you happy or unhappy. It is what you think about it.
— Dale Carnegie
The art of listening is a priceless quality, indeed. Just listen and observe all those voices, gestures, and opinions floating around you. The human mind is a mighty data processing engine. Utilize the gift of mind to generate insights from these voices. See if those match in any way with your thought processes. In the end, you live your life within the time available for you. A point comes in everyone’s life when you feel that this is not how I want the rest of my life to be. There are two options:
a) Listen to that voice of complete and utmost honesty and sincerity.
b) Ignore it for reasons aplenty knowing very well that you are cheating no one but yourself.
As with most, you carry on in the rat race of Ambition if you choose option ‘b’. If you care enough about yourself to heed the importance to option ‘a’, then you got to give due respect to the “process”. Focus on improving your work of interest in increments, at your own pace. Do remind yourself, it is your journey, not someone else’s tested and proven path. If you want to pursue writing, keep writing. Make mistakes and learn from them. Never strive for perfection. Be Content with even the smallest of improvements.
If Happiness lies in Contentment, why not strive to be Content rather than running the never-ending sprint of Ambition. Why not try running the marathon of life at your own pace?
As long as you channel your efforts in the fulfillment process and if that gives you a sense of inner peace at the end of the day, isn’t that a good enough reason to be happy? Self-appreciation and gratitude have an inseparable role to play if you wish to rejoice in the beauty of Contentment.
Canceling off all outdoor games with the buddies in your locality for additional tuitions or skipping out going on a road trip with your family for working extra on weekends. The list goes on. These decisions will eventually turn into regrets further on as you pushed away millions of irreplaceable small happy moments for mere temporary gains to fulfill the materialistic and highly overrated concept of “Ambition”. Ultimately, one only remembers the precious memories and how they made one feel. The hefty bank balance and real estate lose their importance beyond a point in life.
We don’t stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing.
— George Bernard Shaw
Never forget to hit the pause button in the flowing stream of living, to cherish the fathomless amount of small joys we perceive as non-existent. Just like how a child spurts out the biggest of laughs at the tiniest of things, let’s rekindle the spirit of our inner child whenever we possibly can, to keep the candle of sanity and meaning in life burning brightly.
In my soul, I am still that small child who did not care about anything else but the beautiful colors of the rainbow.
— Papiha Ghosh