“Humans are insatiable,” I remember hearing this from an economics professor, who then explained to our class of newly minted eco majors what the term means. He explained that it’s basic human behavior to never be satisfied, especially with money.
He then went into a diatribe explaining the concept of utility, which is a measure of satisfaction, and how our fixation or desire for something can wane over time. In reality, it’s only because we choose to want more or something else.
If there’s a standard theme that common adult conversations suggest is that nothing is ever enough. We’re always hungry or looking forward to the next milestone, the next brightest and latest whatever that would come. And though wanting more and hoping for something greater is not necessarily unhealthy, it’s when we cloak unhealthy dissatisfaction with new goals and having a misconstrued understanding of contentment as settling for what’s present, that makes well-intentioned objectives an external expression of unhappiness and lack of contentment.
In the same way that we need to get to the heart of the issue in all things, we need to ask – are our goals driven by a sincere desire to grow or progress? Or are we simply dissatisfied and unhappy with where we are in life.
Steve Jobs in his famous Stanford commencement speech said that we ought to “stay hungry and stay foolish.” It’s true. We must always thirst for knowledge and eliminate any presumptions that we know enough. But the quest for bigger, better, and greater things must never eclipse our ability to simply give thanks. Aiming for the best shouldn’t make one an ingrate.
Gratefulness is being aware of what we have and having the ability to say, “thank you” for it. Regardless of where we are in life, there’s always something to be thankful for.
A post on TruthTheory.com by Mike Sygula highlights some concrete reasons on why we should be grateful.
– 1 out of 9 people (780 million) all over the world lack access to clean water and 3.4 million people die each year from a water-related disease
– 1 in 8 people worldwide go hungry and up to 870 million people suffer from malnourishment
– 774 million in the world can’t read or write
– Over 1.2 billion people worldwide have no electricity at all
Recognizing all these realities it may not be bad idea that when we sit down and map our goals, “having an attitude of gratitude” could well be on top of our list. It maybe necessary for us to look at what we have, what we have gained in the past, so that we maybe thankful for the present and hopeful for the future.
The Philippine’s national hero Jose Rizal said that “he who does not know how to look back at where he came from will never get to his destination.”
There are a lot of things we can be grateful and it’s worth remembering them always. Such habit will help us tread the future with more joy, contentment and a healthier perspective.