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Contentment is a very special state. It is beyond happiness, residing in a place that calms the soul and brings wisdom to one's existence. A person can live in "poverty" and be perfectly content - just as an individual who is extremely wealthy can be in constant discontentment. So...how does one become content?

It's easier than one thinks. Contentment is based (like so many things in life) in perspective. The secret is to recognize what is really important (not some importance that is thrust upon us by our society or through marketing) and what is not. The ability to laugh at one's self and the absurdities of so many things in life is another aspect that enables a person to become content.

There is a difference between material contentment (living a life of material plenty) and "spiritual" contentment. The first deals with possessions, which...if they should go away, so does the contentment. The other is based in the ability to live beyond the material world and understand that it is the contentment of the body, mind, and soul, that enables a person to travel through life in a contented state.

It also contains elements of that old expression, "Don't get too high with the highs, or low with the lows." Of course, we all experience great joy and happiness, as well as sorrow and tribulations. And yes...our emotions deal with those things in many ways. However - once one understands that these things too shall pass, the recognition that we are living in a journey that is finite helps us see that mellowness, balance, and calmness, will enable us to enjoy all the aspects of life in a deeper, more textured manner.

If you realize that contentment is already inside of you and that all you have to do is reach in, discover it, embrace it, and then live it...you will have found the magic of an incredible way of life.
 
My website, as you know, is entitled: Dan Dissects Life - Practical Tips for Happiness and Contentment. Quite often people think that happiness and contentment are synonyms for each other, but...they're not. One can be very happy and not contented. However, if one is contented - they may not exhibit the traits that one thinks of when they contemplate what happiness should mean. Yet, the contented person may, indeed, be very happy.  

Happiness is a state of considerable pleasure and cheer. The happy person is often gleeful, light, and even euphoric. Happiness is wonderful. The mind and body may be overcome with elation. It is a beautiful "place to be!" However, happiness may come and go. Contentment, on the other hand, is often a way of life.

An example may be the parent who watches his or her child graduate from college. They are proud of their offspring and happy to see him or her reach one of life's great goals. Yet...even during the ceremony, the parent's thoughts may drift to school loan payments (and how they'll deal with them), whether or not their child will be able to find a satisfying profession, and, perhaps, a sadness of knowing that their child will soon be leaving home. They might find themselves being discontented while, at the same time, experiencing happiness.

Contentment is different. It is a feeling of peace with one's self and one's life, an ease of mind and satisfaction with one's state of being. Happiness adds a certain texture to the contented person...a taste of extra satisfaction to an already satisfied state. Yet - there is also a constant calmness to the contented person's "soul."

Happiness might manifest itself when one buys something "new," enabling the buyer to sense fulfillment and joy. The contented person may realize that they are fine with what they have and that just "being" and feeling nature's energy is fulfilling enough.

Experiencing happiness without contentment may leave a person "empty." But, meshing happiness with contentment can lead to a life filled with calmness, love, laughter, and relaxation...no matter how many things and how much money a person may, or may not, have.

 
The world has been going through a perceived crises for some time now. Unemployment rates are high around the globe and here in the United States the economy and jobs have been a pressing issue for the last decade.

During last November's elections there was a cry, by some folks, to elect people who will help the "job creators" - whatever that means. Never overly specific as to how those jobs would be created, the proponents of the "job creators" always tend to believe that giving economic breaks to, and loosening government regulations on, businesses will ultimately create those elusive jobs. But, I have a better idea! I've mentioned this in class many times to my university business students.

Here it is: do away with ALL government regulations on businesses. They can pollute as much as they want, ruin our water, air, and ground, to whatever extent they choose. They can also pay whatever wages they want as well...minimum wage laws would be done away with, totally. Soon, people would be hired in droves. 

Plus, because there would be so much pollution, new companies would be formed to clean up all the mess our now non-regulated businesses would create. Ah...entrepreneurial ingenuity! Employment would boom! There would probably be more jobs than people to fill them.

Of course, there are MAJOR drawbacks. No one would be able to breathe clean air and respiratory sicknesses would skyrocket even further than they are now (the healthcare and pharmaceutical industries would then...need more employees too), our water would be a mess and unhealthy to drink unless heavily filtered, the plants grown in our ground would be contaminated (as would be the ground itself), the animals that ate the plants would, most likely, become less healthy (including us), and our overall health rates would deteriorate quicker than they are today (the U.S. is ranked 51st among nations of the world in life expectancy). 

It is very, very, unlikely that the cleaner-uppers would be able to make our environment clean enough to negate the constant pollution emitted by the messer-uppers. And - most of us, and our children, and their children, and their children, would have an extremely tough time existing in such an environment, let alone have the money to buy much more than basic necessities. 

But...people would have their precious "jobs."

It is interesting to me that people put jobs on a higher pedestal than quality of life. To paraphrase a Native-American Chief who was addressing the "White Man" about work and jobs - his words are so very prophetic: "What is this thing you call work? Everything you need is right here." 

So, be careful what you wish for, strive for, and desire. Unless you fully think it through and attempt to make sure that it enhances the quality of life for everyone (including, of course, yourself), and everything, on this Earth...it can wind up being the cause of your own demise.
 
Life coaching has become a catch-all phrase used by all sorts of people and organizations to promote a better, happier, more productive, and successful life. Some people opt for schools (a relatively new phenomenon)  that certify folks to be a coach. Of course...who certifies the schools and, more importantly...who certifies and monitors the certifying agency and the certifiers? It's a question, I, and many others have asked. And, just like any other schools and those who attended them, your teacher could have graduated at the top of his or her class or the bottom - yet no one ever asks. In fact - when was the last time you asked your doctor his or her rank in their graduating class? My guess is...never. That notwithstanding, I tip my hat to the thousands of qualified coaches who help millions of people everyday!

I've been coaching people for many, many, years. So long in fact, that I actually had hair on my head when I started and my beard was all dark! I love helping people and thoroughly enjoy it when I, and they, see real progress in their lives. Getting people to understand who they are and why and how they do things, opens up doors for them that they may never have realized. Finding new success in their lives, whether from a business perspective, materialistically, emotionally, or spiritually, never ceases to make me feel wonderful.

One of the greatest things a life coach can experience is when his or her client moves away from fear, insecurity, low self-esteem, jealousy, anger, hate, and self-sabotaging and self-defeating behaviors, and begins to find the person they were hoping to be their entire life. 

I began formally coaching in 1972 when I worked with my employees to help them grow and live a happier, more successful life. Now...I coach and train groups, both large (amphitheaters, huge hotel meeting rooms, and  banquet halls), and small (corporate conference rooms, classrooms, and individuals' homes and offices). We're, both my clients and myself, always learning. That's why I see my capacity as a university professor as an extension of my coaching and training. I also love the fact that I continue to, through the magic of computers and teleconferencing, coach people all over this amazing planet.

If you are a life coach or have, or will, use the services of a life coach...I salute you. If you're stuck, feel "down," are looking to reach the potential you've always thought you could, want to be more content, happier, more enlightened, have better relationships, or just want to experience that "balance" so many people seem to have lost...perhaps the guidance of a coach can help. But - ultimately, it's up to you to make sure your journey is fruitful.




 
"You can't tell a book by its cover," has been a mantra against preconceived ideas and prejudice since I can remember. In the materialist societies of today it's as true as it has ever been...if not more. The "book" may be beautiful on the outside, but once a person begins to read it - a very different truth is revealed.

I remember an acquaintance of mine telling me why he dressed like (in his words) "a bum." He was, in fact, a very wealthy businessman whose company's clientele were in (as he put it) "the worst and most dangerous" parts of the city. He himself would often visit his customers and supervise the work. This millionaire, who looked like a sloppy version of the television character "Columbo," drove to his work in an old car and gave the impression that the next words out of his mouth would be, "Do you have any spare change?"

My encounter with him is as clear today as it was when I met him years and years ago. He was a living example of "The Book, The Cover, The Judgment."

How often do people judge others without any knowledge or insight about them? Far too often. Wars, and the killing they bring, are based upon creating an image of the "enemy" as to judge them as less than human. To cause a person to demonize them, and to make it easier to kill them.

About 10 years ago I was speaking with a real estate agent who relayed a story about a couple who bought a house at the top of their budget. So much so, that they couldn't afford furniture to grace their new abode. The wife insisted upon purchasing the home and the husband acquiesced. The agent confided that the pair of new homeowners were not uncommon. She also said that the people who go out of their way to look prosperous were often the folks who aren't. As another friend of mine likes to say, "Big hat...no cattle." The furnitureless couple were the opposite of my "Columbo" friend.

Where does that leave us? Well...it sets us in a place where we must realize that the person you think is "beneath you" is actually your equal (if not..."above you" - if you care to make a judgmental statement like that). The homeless man or woman may have been the boss of a hundred people before they ran into a stretch of "very bad luck." The beggar (as I mentioned on my facebook page) may, in fact, be a prophet. And the wealthy looking individual may actually be wealthy. But how would we ever know unless we get to speak with them, listen to them, and know them as individuals.

Judging people on their looks, their religion, their nationality, their ethnic group, the color of their skin, or any other criteria one may choose, is about as valid as believing that you can exist without breathing. Remember...you are also the subject of someone's preconception. And - until we realize the fallacies of that thought process, we - as individuals and societies - will be caught in a stunted growth cycle.

So remember...while the cover of "the book" may not be immediately attractive to you - you may find, after investigating further, that you are "blown away" by its contents.



 
Many of us think of wealth as the accumulation of money and possessions. However, there are far more important things that can make a person wealthy. In fact...much more wealthy than those who have lots of money and "things" but lack some of the more valuable aspects of life.