Contentment v. Satisfaction



I just got done doing an interview for a potental feature article for American Journalism Review.  During the conversation I began thinking about contentment v. satisfaction and how it relates to situation.

Is it possible to be contented and dissatisfied at the same time? I think so. I consider myself content with my current job and situation, but I’m never satisfied with the way I do the job or handle my position. What do I mean by being contented and how is that different than being satisfied? When we’re contented, we can always find something to be thankful for. We can be grateful for the situation we’re in and, even if the situation sometimes is uncomfortable, we can have an understanding that we’re there for a reason. We really can know that we have a mission that we are uniquely qualified to accomplish.

But, if we become satisfied with our performance, we lose any incentive to continue to improve and grow. Just asking questions about satisfaction in the job or situation we’re in may not accurately say anything about the job or situation itself. It probably says a lot more about how we feel about what we’re doing. I have a feeling that most people respond favorably to those kinds of questions if they feel they’re on the right track.

Contented? Yes. Satisfied? Never. I will always have a great deal of room for improvement. When I quit trying to improve, I expect I’ll begin to decline. Then it will be time to really decline.

Matt Knisely

Matt Knisely is an Emmy Award–winning visual storyteller, creative director, and author who loves telling stories of the extraordinary. Make sure you check out his book Framing Faith, it helps connect the seemingly unconnected, see the beauty right in front of us, and revealing how to be present in the moment.

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