There's a sentence I've typed up, printed out, and taped to my monitor to remind myself of it daily. It reads: Anything less than daily striving to improve myself, is at best, stagnancy.
At the same time I'm very determined to live a contented life. Are these two desires at odds with one another? I don't think they have to be at all.
Even if you're not a person of faith, the apostle Paul's words carry a lot of wisdom:
"I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want."(Philippians 4:11–12).
In researching the state of being content, I found two quotes from Benjamin Franklin which made me go "hmmm" when I read them side by side.
He said, “Content makes poor men rich; discontent makes rich men poor.”
But he also said, “Without continual growth and progress, such words as improvement, achievement, and success have no meaning.”
So I kept wondering how we're to strive to improve ourselves so we don't become stagnant, or worse, regress -- all while being contented...
Finally I had a moment...where it all came together in my head and made sense...
If you're content, you'll feel at peace with yourself and the world. You'll be confident with who you are, where you are in life, and where you plan to go. This leaves you FREE to pursue your dreams.
If you can't appreciate what you have right here and now, in this very moment, you probably won't be able to appreciate anything you achieve or attain if/when that happens. It makes sense, right?
Will Rogers once said, (and I LOVE this quote!) "Even if you're on the right track, you'll get run over if you just sit there!"