Recently, my oldest daughter and I left the house to go run errands. We piled into our minivan (cause that’s how I roll) and headed out.
We were headed out of the neighborhood, and I noticed a bird standing in the middle of the street. I continued down the road towards the bird assuming this creature would recognize that my chances of survival are significantly greater if we continue this game of chicken.
We got closer and closer and finally at the last minute, the bird took off, narrowly missing the windshield. My 8 year-old daughter then said something very insightful…
Daddy, that bird wasn’t paying attention to what was happening in it’s life!
What an interesting and accurate observation from a child (that kid must have awesome parents 😉
Far too often we’re not paying close enough attention to what is happening in our own lives. You ever have a moment where you wake up and ask yourself…
How did I end up here?
But you’re not asking it in a positive way. You take a quick inventory of what your life has become, and you quickly try to determine how it reached that point.
You’re disappointed in how you’ve stopped taking care of your body and just let yourself go. You’re surprised at how unmotivated and uninspired you are by your career. You realize your friendships and relationships aren’t what they once were.
The more you think about it, the more you realize this didn’t just happen recently. This slow, gradual decline has been months or even years in the making.
Here’s the harsh reality of life: Nobody’s life magically becomes a mess overnight. Nobody’s life accidentally drifts off course. Nobody’s life goes on autopilot from one decision.
Every day we make decisions that take us either closer or further from the kind of life we want to have. If you ever wonder why things turned out the way they have, it’s because you weren’t paying attention to what was happening in your life.
Why do people spend their entire career doing work they hate?
Why do people settle for less than what they’re capable of?
Why do people with seemingly massive potential do nothing with it?
Because we stop paying attention to what’s happening in our life.
So how do we avoid finding ourselves in this spot?
We must learn the art of healthy discontentment.
It’s important to be content in life. We must realize each day is a blessing and that we should make the most of our moments.
I feel extremely blessed to have the life I have. I’m married to my high school sweetheart (who is way out of my league). We have three amazing little girls. I’m self-employed and wake up everyday excited to do work. I love my life. I wouldn’t trade lives with anyone.
But I also don’t want to settle into a rut and just become stagnant. I want to keep pushing. I want to keep growing. I want to keep learning. I want to keep trying.
Having a healthy discontentment means that you appreciate where you are in life but you’re not content to stay there.
If in 10 years your life looked exactly like it did right now, would you be happy or disappointed? What about in 5 years? How about next month?
If you’re not happy about the path you’re on, fix it! Do something different. Change course.
Stop to smell the roses. But then keep moving.