I think balance is the key to happiness. Specifically the balance between two things – being satisfied with what you have versus striving to achieve more.
There’s a lot of people that believe in the power of contentment and I generally agree with that line of thought. Being thankful for what you are and what you have is an excellent start. If you’re reading this, your life is better than 75% of the world. You have access to the Internet and probably have a roof over your head and some food in the fridge. And for the love of all things sacred, stop comparing yourself to other people. That’s probably the worst offender in this day and age, owing to the rise of social media.
Being content is also enjoy the little things in life. Just take a minute of your time, however busy your schedule is, and realize that even the little things in life can be awesome too. Playing sports with your friends, going out on a lunch date, eating ice cream while watching a movie. Those are not things everyone in the world can do. So maybe for once, a movie can just be a simplistic, comedic thing. Not everything has to have layers.
Being content is great and all, but don’t be too content or you’ll start to stagnate. Instead, strive for something. Something that will better you. Something more without affecting your contentment with your life.
Reaching for something that is just out of reach is a nice start. Don’t start with overly ambitious projects. And do not let yourself be consumed by it. There’s a difference between passion and that. Sure, there are some people who sacrificed everything to achieve their goals. Their family, their friends and even their morals, but is it really worth it? What if you don’t reach your goal after all your sacrifices?
Choose something that you like to do. For me, this is my writing. I might never be published, let alone be anywhere close to the bestsellers list, but it is something I want to do. (Not that I never dream about that. Earning a living wage from book royalties would be the best thing ever!) I want to get better at writing. I want to write something that I would be personally happy with. Something that I can be proud of. And that will be enough. It hasn’t happen yet, but I’m still nowhere close to giving up on it. When the day finally comes, I’ll be one happy camper and then I’ll find another thing to strive towards.