How Discontent Helps You Reach Goals
I’ll admit that I’ve never followed Tony Robbins too closely. I recall his infomercials from years ago but that’s about it. I recently happened upon an interview in which the Inc. Editor-in-chief, Eric Schurenberg, sat down with Tony Robbins. Robbins, who is still well known from those TV infomercials, is now one of the most powerful life coaches to the rich and famous. In the Inc. interview, Schurenberg captures one of Robbins’s best life lessons:
Always be hungry.
In that interview, Robbins said “The best entrepreneurs on earth never lose that hunger–they are hungry to grow, hungry to give, hungry to contribute. It’s more important than intelligence. There’s nothing that will stop a person who is hungry enough. A hungry person, failure doesn’t stop them.”
You don’t have to be an entrepreneur to take on this advice. It applies to anyone who is looking to meet goals. If you have goals to meet, you stay hungry. You stay hungry because you’re not satisfied.
The Temporary Nature of Satisfaction
“You’re never satisfied.”
If you’ve been on the receiving end of those words, you know they probably weren’t spoken as an accolade to your personal characteristics. The thing is, satisfaction is often temporary. It doesn’t mean there’s something intrinsically wrong with you. If you look at satisfaction as a fulfillment of a current desire, then you begin to understand its temporary nature.
Let’s say you’re having a fantastic dinner. Maybe you’re enjoying a juicy filet mignon accompanied by a glass of the finest cabernet. At that instant you feel full and satisfied. But the need that has been filled is only temporary. When tomorrow comes, the hunger surfaces once again. You keep getting hungry and as Robbins says nothing stops a hungry person.
But that’s not really so bad. You’re driven to success and meeting your goals when you are hungry.
Our life’s journey is a series of desires that are transformed into goals. Each goal acts as a single step in that journey. Every step we take inches us a bit closer to our desired end result. So, as you meet one goal, it may not be the end destination. That’s why you still keep peering down the path to see what lies ahead.
Healthy Discontent Helps You Reach Goals
“Restlessness is discontent and discontent is the first necessity of progress.” – Thomas Edison
If you’re feeling some sort of discontent, then congratulations. That means you’re connected with your desires. Even if you can’t articulate exactly what it is you are trying to achieve, this sort of healthy discontent means you have a yearning to grow.
Before we become excessively critical of dissatisfaction, it’s good to know that discontent has a positive use. Revolutionary ideas are seldom born by complacency and staying in your comfort zone.
Accomplishments are driven by discontent. Discontent drives change. There are, however, levels to your contentment. With each achievement, savor it and enjoy it. But if you want real growth, you can’t live permanently on that same level. Lasting contentment leads to stagnation.
Discontent (or hunger) is the real catalyst for change.
Don’t Confuse Happiness and Satisfaction
“Happiness is not a goal…it’s a by-product of a life well lived.” – Eleanor Roosevelt
Maintain happiness and strive for satisfaction, even though the satisfaction may be temporary. The two shouldn’t be confused but the words are often used together. They seem to have a similar connotation but they actually describe two different states of being.
Being satisfied is more about meeting an expectation whereas happiness is used to describe the feeling of bliss in the heart or the mind. Happiness is a feeling to sustain and preserve, but satisfaction is something in which you should constantly strive to attain.
Satisfaction may indeed bring along happiness and in return, happiness can bring satisfaction. Just don’t let the desire for satisfaction get in the way of happiness.
So, the next time you hear “you’re never satisfied”, don’t sweat it. It means you are taking steps not to become complacent and you always have an eye on your end destination. Take time to celebrate your temporary victories and embrace your dissatisfaction by turning it into action.
As Tony Robbins said, “There’s nothing that will stop a person who is hungry enough.”