The Joy of Being Content

Everyone, of course, wants to be happy. For many people, however, happiness is like a moving target. They might think that they will be happy by having a certain amount of possessions or a certain status. But then they find out that that’s not the case. Or they might feel happy about it, but only for a moment.

That’s sad, because happiness is actually available for you now. You don’t need to wait until next year or even tomorrow to have it. It’s already there.

How can we have it? By being content with our lives.

I believe that being content is an important key to happiness. The fact is, you already have everything you need to be happy; you don’t need anything else.

We often overestimate the role of external factors when it comes to happiness. We may think that things such as wealth and status make us happy. But the truth is: happiness is mostly a state of your inner self. If you are happy inside, then you will be happy outside, regardless of your circumstances.

In fact, once you learn to be content with material things, you can see that there is a lot of beauty in your everyday life. For instance, you can now discover the joy of friendships. You can also enjoy nature. Believe it or not, they can give you more joy than you can get from material things.

Being content doesn’t mean being stagnant, though. It doesn’t mean just staying where you are. You must still strive to be the best person that you can be. You must still aim to go to the next level. But you don’t need any of those promotions to be satisfied with your life. Your happiness doesn’t depend on them. You can already be happy here and now.

If you have this attitude, then you will lift a big burden off yourself. There is no more pressure to obtain superficial things. You can enjoy your life now rather than later.

Learn to be content with your life, and discover the beauty of life all around you.

Photo by Bigstock


  1. Donald,

    This is SO TRUE. Happiness can never be based on outside things. There could (and should) always be new things you want.

    People have to learn to be content and happy with all the good things they have, and still strive for more -but not to fill a happiness void, just to achieve a form of personal success.

    If people cannot learn to find happiness within, nothing will do the trick. Someone could have a multi-million dollar penthouse, tricked out with all the amenities and luxuries; but if they cannot find peace and happiness within themselves, all it affords them is a higher place to jump from.

    Great stuff!


  2. Contentment is the only real wealth.

    Alfred Nobel

  3. wants = suffering. we are spiritual beings who have physical bodies not physical bodies who have soles, the other way around. now, is the only thing that exists. in order to be happy, we have to compare not what we want with what we have but what we have with what we deserve.

  4. Contentment happens when you experience comfort and achieve serenity. We often need very little to experience comfort, and when we want very little we achieve serenity.

    Simple, but not always easy in practice!

  5. There is a saying that goes like this:

    For everything you have missed, you have gained something else.
    And for everything you gain, you lose something else.
    It is about your outlook towards life.
    You can either regret or rejoice.
    -Ralph Waldo Emerson

    Putting this into simple perspective, there is no exact pin-point to where you should stand. But what matters is how you view it. I have been through some life experiences where I thought that if I would have an amount of XXXX, I will be happy. And each time I achieved so, being happy was just for that moment. Because gradually, it wouldn’t be enough. If we were to based our happiness through possession, we are in for a never-ending chase.

    Happiness to me now is being thankful. Thankful for each awakening day that I have. Seeing each day as a lesson and acting with faith. Not leaving what matters to later days and remembering to cherish those that I cared most.

  6. Anders Hasselstrøm
    Anders Hasselstrøm

    Hello Donald,

    Lovely article once again. Important principle that more people should dig into. Once you learn how to be more with less you start to live a more fulfilling life.

    Anders Hasselstrøm

  7. Hi Donald,

    Absolutely well put! Happiness springs from within. If you can be happy now you will not need stuff to fill any void. The void is filled because you are alive.

    On the flip side many feel that getting stuff will make them happy. This creates misery because stuff comes and goes. Even worse, you create a monster. You get more stuff, but it is not enough, then not enough.

    Until you are content with what is, you can never be truly happy.

    Thanks for sharing!


  8. Hi Donald,

    First time checking out your blog. I enjoy the straightforward approach. Do you find people needing to unlearn what we’ve been conditioned to believe happiness is?

    Like you, I think of our existence here as good in and of itself. So if I get to observe my own processes, two things happen…

    1. I take joy simply in the physical and mental mechanics of being human.

    2. I realize those mechanics give me the building blocks of everything I need to achieve the material benefits of being human.

    Keep up the great work,

    • Hi Larry, welcome to Life Optimizer! Yes, I think we need to unlearn the false beliefs when it comes to happiness. In my case, spirituality plays an important role.

  9. Yes, happiness comes from the inside and it’s our choice 🙂

    • but since we all sometimes forget about that fact, it’s great to have posts like yours to remind us 🙂

  10. Hi all I don’t get the be happy no and still strive surely while striving for better you are dissatisfied from the now,

  11. We really have to learn to be content with the fact that we are alive and healthy.
    When I was poor – I used to say that when I get money I will be happy. I eventually got money – but I realized that all that changed is that I could now afford things. I still have to work on my happiness on a daily basis. Being grateful is the key the happiness.

  12. Hi Donald – first time here.

    Do you find people may need to leave a situation, ie. a relationship before they can make changes to be “happy” or “content”?

    Or can we do that no matter how close the external factors are to you as a person?


    • Hi Kara, welcome to Life Optimizer!

      When the situation is negative, it becomes more difficult to be “happy” or “content” but it’s still definitely possible.

      The exact answer depends on the situation, but in general I think that if you can do something about the situation then do it. Otherwise learn to be content with it.

  13. hi
    I love your articles man

  14. Hi Donald,
    I enjoyed your post, my friend. Contentment arises as a natural result of the realization that our search is often futile. When a man realizes that he already has that which he has been searching for, he stops running.

  15. Hi Donald,

    100% agree with your thoughts on Happiness. One can never be content in life if they go in search of happiness through superficial things. One can feel happy from the simplest things in life- e.g. on seeing a baby smile, a bright sunny day, looking at water droplets on the grass, rainbow stretch, cute puppies, watching toddlers play in mud, while giving flowers and chocolates to someone, smell of the mud during the first rain.

  16. I’ve never had much, came from an alrite family in the suburbs, had nice clothes, food, whatever freedom I wanted. Did whatever job I was at, dealt with anything because you have to. I’ve always been positive and happy. After moving out of my parents house and having no money at all up until now, I don’t complain or really think about it. I just wanna have fun, yea it would be great to have more, but that isn’t going to happen.

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