Can Contentment and Ambition Co-Exist?

In the modern world, we are more likely to encounter people who are always busy and on-the-go, than those without much to do and content. However, there is a paradox that exists in our society, because as much as we all want to be ambitious, “successful” and make money, we also WISH we could slow down. Well, can we? It is possible to be content and ambitious at the same time?

Let us first consider the root of our “busy,” problem. The root of this problem is our incessant search for fulfillment. We are running away from insecurities by keeping ourselves busy, motivated to get a promotion or make more money. But, what if we had found fulfillment without having to do all of this running around? Would we then be considered unambitious, unmotivated and lazy? To some, perhaps.

Contentment is the other end of the spectrum, where one might find themselves totally at peace with where they are and feeling like they have everything they could ever want in this moment without promotion, monetary bonus or achievement of a higher status.

Unfortunately, we will continue to battle this paradoxical wanting to have ambition yet be content, but we most definitely can find a common ground if we choose to. I believe the sweet spot between the two is detachment.

In being content with where you are and what you have in the moment, it already sets you up to solve for the challenge of ambition. With being content, ambition acts as a hobby or sport in our already fulfilling lives. When we think of it as a sport we can relate to the want for friendly competition, accomplishment and play but we do not take it so seriously. You know that winning in that game of pickup basketball with a friend will not add lasting fulfillment your life (hopefully for most of us), but it is a fun addition to the day.

Similarly, living life with contentment allows for us to find pleasures in the small things, remain humble in great accomplishments and most important, and always remain grateful for where we are whether our ambitions grows or diminishes.

To answer the initial question whether contentment and ambition can co-exist, I would argue, yes, but in order for this to be achieved, it is important for our mindset to remain in contentment and pursue our ambitions with a detached approach to its role in the fulfillment in our lives.

Today, take a moment from the “busy” day to appreciate all you have. And, isn’t it enough? It’s beautiful! 🙂

How to Love the Job You Hate (Pt. 2)

My main commitment to this site is to offer mindset and life advice to anyone who in interested in a DIY sort of approach to self-help. All I can offer is tactics based on my own personal experiences, which have help me greatly.

This posts topic seems to speak to the most people so I will expand upon ways to “love the job you hate.”

The two previous methods I have mentioned were, generally, Self-awareness and Gratitude.

Here, we are encouraged to recognize the tasks or annoyances that bring us negative emotion, and choose to react more positively to them. Furthermore, we are encouraged to reflect upon all of the good in our lives and focus on these in times of difficulty at work or everyday life.

To take these concepts a step further. I will share my specific morning routine, which helped change my mindset about my job and my life.

Mourning Routine:

  • Drink a Glass of Water
  • Brush Teeth
  • Journal Three Things I am Grateful for
  • Journal Three Reasons Why I Am Already Successful
  • 5 Minute Listen to Breath
  • 5 Minute Listen to Positive Audio (TedTalk, AudioBook)
  • 15 Minute Stretch/ Workout
  • 10 Minutes of Reading
  • Give Yourself a Smile in the Mirror

Repeating these simple tasks before going to work will make your day, I guarantee it! You will enter your work day with a sense of accomplishment from the start.

As previously mentioned, a habit typically takes about 30 days to stick, so practice this routine as consistently as possible! Finding this 30 min- 45 min of extra time in the morning will be more than worth in the long run. This is time for yourself, before the world wakes up and starts asking things of you.

You deserve it.

Please contact me in the Contact section or comment with email below if you would like me to email a copy of the Morning Routine Check-Off List I have created. This consists of all of the above tasks in check-off list form for each day of every month! (And it is free, of course).

Enjoy!

 

The Expression of Joy

I have done a lot of thinking about “expressing joy.” In Brene Brown’s Power of Vulnerability (which I feel I need to give a second listen to), she speaks of expressing JOY and the fulfillment of happiness this brings. She speaks of a story of a man who lives his entire life like everything is just ok, not really getting overly excited or enthused about much. Then one day his wife of 25 years passes away, and he is regretful of never truly expressing the joy he had all of these years of life with her. From the day on, this man vowed to actively express joy every single day. I may have paraphrased that story a bit, but the lesson is conclusive:

Actively express joy for everything in life, big or small.

It is easier said than done mostly because life is so distracting and sometimes we do not truly see a moment as an opportunity for joy, rather, we may just see it as just another ordinary moment.

If you are anything like me, vacations or promotions were always things I was appreciative and grateful for but did not necessarily induce excitement. Perhaps it is due to a modest upbringing or not wanting to come off as arrogant or haughty, but the converse of not expressing joy, is just as poor… We SHOULD be excited and be joyous for these small pleasures in life.

This thoughts has then led to my attempt in better defining “joy,” and also finding a way to intentionally express it every single day.

First, my definition of “joy” is essentially gratitude + excitement.

Gratitude is the expression of things in life that we are appreciative and thankful for but does not necessarily induce that explosive expression of how I (at least) visualize “joy.” The visual that comes to mind when I think of joy is then sun shining, beaming on my back as I skip through a field of daisies, wearing a great big grin. That is the visual I need to live up to in my mind.

So, in order to have that visual come closer to life, the second piece of this definition is then excitement! This is an action we prompt have to prompt for ourselves. We can choose to be excited about those moments in life we are grateful for. Ever hear the old saying, “Act enthusiastic and you’ll be enthusiastic”? It might be a motto you may hear at a Dale Carnegie Public Speaking workshop, but nonetheless, whether in public speaking, business or in life, we act the way we want to feel, more simply. I believe this intentional expression of excitement paired with this appreciation for moments big and small, helps us to feel JOY.

As a matter of practice, every day I do express gratitude but to further express joy, this morning I ask myself a simple question:

What am I excited for today?

Now, for the record, today is an ordinary working money, I do not have anything particularly unique going on, yet still I found moments to be excited about.

  • Excited to go to work.
  • Excited to finish my tasks for my project.
  • Excited to talk to partner about his day later.
  • Excited to go to the gym.
  • Excited to have dinner with my family.
  • Excited to read my book.
  • Excited to have my bean soup for lunch.

It sounds silly but we deserve to be joyous about all facets of life. Otherwise, why bother waking up, right?

Answer this question for yourself today and feel your mood change. I promise. That is joy.

To be Impressive Vs. To be Admired

When thinking about striving to be admired and to be impressive, one may assume them to be essential the same. Many want fame, fortune, and to be looked up to but read this one more time… Do these aspirations really fall in parallel? Does one always admire someone to whom they find to be impressive?

In this day and age, many of our role models are those who are celebrities, sports athletes, even models, but why? What do we truly believe equals success? Most of the time it is just this… Fame and fortune. Those people must have all of the answers, right?

Well, let’s pose another question to dig deeper. Are these people impressive in their accomplishments? Most definitely. Are these people to be admired for their accomplishments alone? I am not sure that is a black and white answer. I think when it comes down to the question of admiration, perhaps it extends beyond ones accomplishments. Here is where it becomes tricky because we now have to do this scary thing and consider ourselves. What are our values? What do we wish to accomplish in life? Who have accomplished such feat? What are their values? Is this someone we want to be like in the future?

When considering the word “impressive,” it is truly just a perception of another one’s accomplishment. This compliment is outward-looking, all about the observation of another, from a far. But did this person’s accomplishment cause you to “admire” them? When admiration comes into questioning we now ask ourselves, “Was I inspired by this person’s accomplishment?” “Did this person’s accomplishment have me strive to be better?” This now becomes an inward-looking observation. How did this person’s accomplishment impact you and your motivation? Most likely, if you felt more driven, more motivated and more inspired by this person’s accomplishment, you feel admiration, for this accomplishment had aligned with your values.

To summarize this thought, I will take an example of young girls looking up to Victoria Secret models, and considering them their “idols.” These young girls are impressed by these women and believe they admire them, but do they? To consider it admiration, I would have to assume these Victoria Secret models are exactly what these young girls want to be when they are older. They strive to walk runways, travel the world and pose for various lingerie photoshoots. However, in experience, this is often not the case (But , if it is, ok. Do you, girl!). Young girls (and boys, men, women, everyone!) often find themselves looking up to celebrities such as Victoria Secret models because of the more surface-level desire for fame, fortune and yes, a kick-ass body, but how shallow an impression being mistaken for admiration.

Personally, I have recognized the difference between “being impressive” and “being admired” by an advancement of someone close to me in their line of work, which had then prompted this very post. I had initially expressed how “impressed” I was by them. Yes, a great compliment, and I am impressed but still, this expression fails to convey how their accomplishment had rather inspired and motivated me FAR greater. The more meaningful and accurate expression is that I “admire” this person, for their accomplishment impacted me in a more profound way then just being something I was impressed by. Furthermore, to be someone who others admire is a much greater compliment and an accomplishment in and of itself.

To convey the conclusive thought of this post, I truly wish to encourage us to consider ways we can strive to be admired rather than be impressive to others. And also, consider the people we admire and what values are cause for our admiration for them.

“You’re Interviewing Them As Much As They Are Interviewing You”

This quotation is one I have always carried with me throughout various job interviews over the years. It is a reminder of our worth as well as of the power we possess in making our own decisions.

Currently, I am interviewing with real estate brokerages to find a fit for me. When making the decision to decline or accept a new position, we are forced to reflect back on our values.

What do we consider to be most important to us? Do we believe this company aligns with what is important to us?

“You’re interviewing them as much as they are interviewing you.” I would even slightly disagree with this statement and argue that we are interviewing them MORE than they are interviewing us. A company does not know what we, as an individual, value. How could they? They only know what THEY are looking for a candidate to possess to be qualified for the ROLE.

But do they know that you value a flexible schedule because your daughter has piano lessons every other Wednesday night at 4pm? Do they know that you value mentorship over online teaching because you are better at learning hands-on? Or do they know that you value having a positive working environment over any pay-increase they may offer to you?

No. They don’t. Only you know what your values are and, conversely, a company can only know what their own values are. Interviewing is an opportunity for you to find out whether or not you and a company’s values are aligned. So, back to my point. You are interviewing THEM, first and foremost.

As a pre-interview exercise, I would suggest writing out the values that are important to you. Though money is important, I do encourage you to think of values beyond the monetary. This will hopefully provide a clearer understanding about what you would be looking to hear, see and question for before going into the interview room. .

In considering my current options with this in mind, I have to trust my gut, to a degree, to cue as to whether or not my values are harmonious in this decision. I personally can physically feel angst in my gut when something is not agreeing with me (beyond the hot falafel sauce I had for lunch), so in making this decision, I trust it.

The values I consider most important in making this decision are the following:

  • Support
  • Responsiveness
  • Mentorship
  • Professionalism
  • Growth/ Learning
  • Personal-worth
  • Goal-setting/ ability to fulfill my personal goals

After this reflection, I believe I have made my decision.

The company will take you, but will you take them?