On Choosing Contentment over Success
By S. Zimmermann

A show of hands please: How many of us took some minutes out of their days late last year or early this year to come up with New Year’s resolutions or goals for 2019? How many of us put indefinite determinants such as ‘more sports’, ‘less tech time’, ‘healthier habits’, or something like ‘finally ask for that long-overdue raise’ on their lists? Where does that constant white noise come from, why does it get louder every year and why does it make us feel like we need to improve ourselves? And how come we judge our own achievements as not ___ (fill in the blank as needed: good, better, fast) enough, but choose the beginning of a new year to try and top our own journey as it is?

January is now in the past and I have intentionally not written a list of New Year’s resolutions. Instead, I decided to focus on the scale of contentment as opposed to a binary definition of success. Who says those two terms cannot work simultaneously, as synonyms even? My successes are now counted on the level of contentment I choose to attach to them.

Luckily enough, I am not the only one out there who consciously or unconsciously plays around with synonyms, albeit, in a different way. On social media, imperfection is the new perfection. It seems that even celebrities no longer strive for ‘perfection’ in every picture but strive to look more natural and ordinary instead. This last term, yet again, is a candid example of how we often abuse the sense of a word and turn it into something negative. When did ‘ordinary’ get this negative connotation? One of its synonyms is ‘normal’ and one of its opposites is ‘abnormal’. No wonder this is becoming the new way to reach out to fans and followers.

The likes, hearts and shares do have a functional place in society. However, these indicators alone will not replace happiness and might end up dragging you into the eternal pursuit of becoming “one of them”. Feeling content about being an integral part of your own close circle might help you feel rooted, understood and perceived as “one of us” instead.

We should be campaigning for contentment more often, instead of constantly falling victim to the idea that success can only be measured by external factors. And why not start today? The first day of February might just be as good a time as any to say, “You know what? I am content!”.
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