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Life Stages

Why Being Discontent Can Be Good Thing

What Bob Ross and Steve Jobs Understood

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Chester Wade

In the words Bob Ross, the seemingly enlightened PBS artist; "Gotta have opposites, light and dark and dark and light, in painting. It's like in life. Gotta have a little sadness once in awhile so you know when the good times come. I'm waiting on the good times now." Regardless of how soothingly he stated it, hearing Bob Ross speak those words feels just... unnatural. It's hard to imagine, but how could this seemingly enlightened man be anything but joyful? Shortsightedly we have a predisposition to view discontentment as nothing more than a barrier to happiness, while in reality it is a constant reminder of the parts of life which we value and love. What stands out to me about this quote is that it suggests at least some of Bob Ross' seemingly boundless joy existed because he observed discontentment in a solemn way.

Being content does not mean you are fulfilled

Often times finding happiness is simply a manner of waiting. In many aspects of life, however, this is also a product of active improvement. In these areas of life we must understand that being content is not always the the same thing as being happy or fulfilled. People choosing to stay in dead end jobs just because they pay the bills describe themselves as content. Drug addicts are often content. People who are are discontent are who are far more likely to strive for a better life. The sentiment of discontentment alone is by no means a guarantee of happiness, but when paired with a sense of drive and hunger for success it among the greatest motivators to achieve success. When it comes to the parts of our lives we can improve, the most constructive way to view dissatisfaction is as a filter which, depending on whether or not it is overcome, separates those who are hungry for success and self betterment from those who are willing to settle for mediocrity. If approached with a drive for success, discontentment is a gift which allows us to rise above those less motivated than us and succeed.

Steve Jobs didn't want to be content

Steve Jobs was an extraordinary representation of an individual who achieved success by never letting himself feel content. No matter how successful apple may have been, Jobs was recognized for his perfectionist drive to never stop innovating. Even as a billionaire, Jobs knew the importance in being weary of contentedness. His combination of motivation and discontentment were undoubtedly two crucial characteristics which led him to become one of the most entrepreneurs people in history.

Keep Striving, the good times are coming

If you aren't content about things within your control, good, you've taken the first step in fixing them. Those who pair this sentiment with a proper sense of motivation have provided themselves with an exceptionally powerful tool. Whether overcoming a hardship is something you must wait for, something you must work for, or a combination of both; just be patient, because the good times will be coming, and you'll know when they do.

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