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Here’s a question: How many people do you know who are truly happy and content in their lives?

I meet a lot of people in my line of work and given the opportunity, most tell me how stressed out they are, how hard they are working, and how little they are sleeping. I guess when they are telling me this I should take the time to ask them if they are happy, I never do, I just assume they are not. But I could be completely wrong, it could be they are very happy and content. Jordon Peterson tells us working toward a goal is what gives our lives meaning and a meaningful life will make us feel better about ourselves. So then Is a meaningful life what brings us contentedness? And is it through contentedness we achieve some form of happiness? Socrates described contentment by saying “He who is not contented with what he has, would not be contented with what it is he would like to have.” This sounds like gratitude to me.

The literature I am finding on contentment, generally agrees that it may be a state ideally reached through being happy with what a person has, being happy with what you’ve got, opposed to achieving happiness by reaching one’s larger ambitions. If we are constantly seeking happiness through our achievements, our happiness becomes a constantly moving target and therefore could become elusive. I don’t know about you but to me this sounds like settling, taking away from the fire. Correct me if I’m wrong but doesn’t removing fuel from the fire eventually let the fire eventually go out?

That said, take a look below at Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, there may be a number of elements of achievement through fulfillment may make finding a state of personal contentment easier: a strong family unit, a strong local community, and the satisfaction of life’s basic needs. In the end it would seem, the more needs in Maslow’s hierarchy are achieved, the more likely one might achieve contentment and thus happiness. I’m working on it…