Time to Befriend Your Discontent

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Much is said about the need for gratitude. The practice of feeling grateful is often linked to better health and happiness. I should know. It is something that I have practiced, and taught for years.

Yet every now and then this great disquiet emerges to unsettle even the most ardent gratitude-peddler. This Friday, for example, I started the day fully grateful for life, the universe, the people around me, health. You name it I was grateful.

Then boom! Discontent dropped into my lap. It started with a small feeling of irritation, then anger, then frustration until it became full blown discontent. Nothing was right and everything was wrong.

Thought didn’t help. Driving far away didn’t help. Talking didn’t help. Discontent was here to stay. Friday, Saturday, and into Sunday. Until forced to spend time stuck in the car waiting for shoppers to return I pulled out my notebook and began to write two columns – content on the left, and discontent on the right. I listed and categorised my thoughts.

On the left — gratitude is great. It’s gentle and calming. It brings a warm feeling that everything is okay, and all is good. Gratitude is balance.

On the right — discontent is ugly. It’s angry and frustrated. It brings a fire in your belly that wants to destroy, to upturn and to change everything. Discontent is like being on the high-side of the playground seesaw with three bullies sitting on the other end laughing at you. Discontent is action wanting to happen but with nowhere to go. Discontent is un-balance.

And as I sat back and stared at my list I had a great dawning realisation. The realisation of the value of discontent.

Discontent is what drives us to succeed. Discontent is what makes us push through our barriers of fear and our natural lethargy and laziness. Discontent is the reason that every innovation, invention and convention has ever been achieved. Discontent is the reason I started my business and the reason I am driven every day to do better, make a bigger difference, help more people, climb more mountains and have more adventures.

Oh, yes! Discontent, you are my friend.

Signature CW copyCatherine Wijnberg
CEO and Founder of Fetola