Besides fear, discontent is probably the most prevalent emotion we all have in common. It’s a low lying dread in the back of our mind that’s constantly dissatisfied with the present. We are always looking for something to change or improve. Nothing is good enough.
Just recently, as I was on vacation I noticed a dull negative emotion deep in the back of my mind; even as I tried to remain present and enjoy nature and quiet time with my wife. Everything was just as I wanted it, but there was a lagging worry or anxiety I couldn’t put my finger on. Interesting.
In the punk scene, discontent is a way of life. Discontent drives most of our action. If you’re not fighting against something, then why are you living? Even if the cause is noble, like fighting for civil rights, or calling out greed, sexism, racism or environmental issues. Fighting for something is considered the “right” thing to do. This mindset creates enemies, both real and fictional. When there is nothing to fight against, the mind will create something to fuel its craving for drama and pain.
This song by Strike Anywhere provides a good soundtrack for this post.
As an entrepreneur, discontent is a driving force. I’ve talked with my peers and it seems discontent is one of the major sources of motivation. If they weren’t fueled by a desire for change then they are afraid they won’t be motivated at all. They are constantly putting off contentment until after they finish this next project. But once it’s done, they’re onto the next problem to solve. That’s what the mind does; look for problems and tries to solve them.
Discontent has inspired a culture of indie brands and product designers to build an economy outside the mainstream. Buying and selling to fellow makers. But the whole concept of making something implies that there lacks something. But what is it?
Why do we always feel a sense of lack? Why are we so afraid of contentment? Is it because we’re afraid we will lose motivation and shrivel up and die? Do we associate contentment with apathy? Do we imagine our content selves curled up watching television all day?
I dare you to try to be content. That is, at peace with where you are right now. Why not rebel against that voice in your head telling you that you aren’t good enough?