Published: 30th January 2021
E-Canteen Fundas: Are you content or just plain complacent?
Pro Tip: For balanced growth, understand the difference between being content and complacent. Be content with what you have, but also work towards achieving your potential
Rahul, said Rinku on the Zoom call. ‘How’re you so chilled out about exams? You’re putting in no effort.
‘Ah,’ said Rahul. ‘That’s because I have found the secret to happiness.’
‘What’s it?’ asked Rinku.
‘Contentment,’ said Rahul. ‘Be happy with whatever we get.’
‘What?’ said Rinku. ‘You’re capable of more. With a little effort, you can get better results. That’ll make you even more content.’
‘But why more?’ said Rahul ‘Whatever I get is enough.’
‘Rakesh bhaiyya,’ said Rinku. ‘There’s something warped about this logic. I’m aware that contentment is good, but I get the feeling that Rahul is using ‘contentment’ to not work harder.’
‘That’s a subtle yet important difference you pointed out, Rinku,’ said Rakesh. ‘On one hand, we can fool ourselves that we’re content and stop working towards fulfilling our potential. On the other hand, we could work ourselves to death, and never be content, peaceful or happy. What’s the balance?’
‘Yes, bhaiyya,’ said Rahul. ‘I’m confused. What should I do? Be content or discontent?’
‘There’s a way,’ said Rakesh thoughtfully, ‘To be content and also work towards our potential.’
‘How, bhaiyya?’ asked Rinku.
‘First, we must understand the difference between being content and being complacent,’ said Rakesh. ‘Being content is being happy with what we already have – our marks, possessions, the state of things – which is a good place to be in. But what can affect this state of contentment negatively is complacency. Being complacent is being too satisfied with our situation and doing nothing about it which can lead to losing whatever we already have. You see, everything needs some effort to grow, some energy to hold it together and that’s what keeps it alive.’
‘So,’ said Rinku. ‘The balance is that we must be content with what we already have and at the same time, strive to grow what we have – knowledge, relationships, material possessions or whatever else — to its fullest possible potential. Grow to our fullest potential, in other words.’
‘But that’s never-ending, bhaiyya,’ said Rahul. ‘How can we be both?’
‘By working towards our potential without getting attached to the results as all great men before us have already said,’ said Rakesh. ‘Do things that help you grow, not to show others.’
‘Thanks, bhaiyya,’ said Rahul. ‘I’ll work for my exams to grow towards my potential without worrying myself unnecessarily about topping. I’ll give my best and not be discontent.’
‘Yes, bhaiyya,’ said Rinku. ‘This is the real secret to happiness.’