Will you be satisfied when you look back?

June 10, 2017

From a post to the Jack’s Winning Words blog comes this thought provoking quote, which begs the question that is today’s headline. “To be able to look back upon one’s past life with satisfaction is to live twice.”  (Lord Acton)

The obvious question is to assess what you will see when you look back over your life and whether you will be satisfied with what you see. One must start with an understanding of the term satisfaction. The dictionary defines it as a noun that means – fulfillment of one’s wishes, expectations, or needs, or the pleasure derived from this. Youbored can easily substitute words like hopes, goals or dreams into the definition. There will always be things that you might wish had gone differently in your life and maybe a few things (let’s hope just a few) for which you have regrets; however, if you can look back over your life and be pleased with what you see, then it was a life well lived.

If you ask older people what they are most proud of or satisfied with in their lives you most often might get a reply that points to having successfully raised their children.  A long and loving marriage is also a very common answer. Some might point to success and achievement in the business world, but that is seldom the measure that the common man holds his life up to, in order to measure his satisfaction with his life. Some might recall the satisfaction of having given service to help others and some might point to their relationship with God and its impact on their lives.

I believe that the search for satisfying moments in your life will yield many more instances of things that involved other people than occasions when you acquired some great-jobobject of your desire – a new car or a boat or a house. True satisfaction come from sharing moments and events and achievements with others. It is not necessarily a moment of personal recognition but more one of shared joy, of shared accomplishment and of shared satisfaction.

You really don’t have to wait until you are old to look back over your life so far and seek out those moments of satisfaction in your life. Relive those moments and let them help you set your priorities for the future. Let those moments help you realize that it is seldom the “me” things in life that are truly satisfying; it is the “we” times that make you the happiest. Whether they are the intimate moments shared with a loved one or the praying-togethergroup happiness of a shared effort, they will help you realize that it’s not “all about me”, it’s about working with and serving the needs of others that creates memorable and satisfying events in our lives.

So, I ask the question that makes up the headline above – “Will you be satisfied when you look back at your life?” The good news is that there is still time to change the ending, still time to refocus your life on the really important things – the people in it – and still time to make memories that you can look back on with satisfaction.

I’ll end today’s post  with a little song that talks about the alternative – I can’t get no satisfaction by the Rolling Stones. Don’t be dissatisfied with your life when you look back.


 Be happy with what you have…

July 11, 2015

“Just remember there is someone out there that is more than happy with less than what you have.”  (Unknown) From the Jack’s Winning Words blog. Jack went on to write – When I first read this quote, I could not help but STOP and put aside my personal complaints.  I have so much, and there are so many who have so little.  Is it that way with you?  It’s an old saying, but it’s true.  “I complained, because I had no shoes, until I saw a man who had no feet.” 

Sadly, we live in a society that conditions us to be unhappy with what we have and to always be striving for more. Whatever we have is not enough to make us happy because someone else has more or different things.  Now there is certainly nothing wrong with striving to get ahead, but one has to stop every now and then and ask, “Ahead of what?” Very few of us live in survival mode, scraping along for our next meal or a place to sleep tonight; exercise wheelbut there are those people among us. In general we are able to provide at least food and shelter for our family and for most a good deal beyond just those necessities. But, are we happy with what we have; or, do we constantly want more, in the belief that having more will make us happier?

One of the most unhappy men in the Bible was the man who asked Jesus what he needed to do to get into heaven. When Jesus replied that he should sell everything that he had and give the money to the poor and follow him; the man wandered off unhappily muttering to himself, for we are told that he was very wealthy and obviously did not want to give up that wealth. Are we the same way today? Do we reach and reach and reach for what we don’t have, instead of being happy with what we do have and what would we do if Jesus asked us to sell everything that we have, give the money to the poor and follow him? Jesus might be a pretty lonely guy in today’s world.

The key to being happy with what you have, it seems to me, is to change your focus from things to people, from possessions to relationships, from those that you’d love to be like to those who love you as you are. Learn to girls huggingexpress your love for them without holding out a gift of some sort or buying a new possession to share with them. If you ever get to an honest state with them, they’d probably tell you that they could care less about your car or your house or your boat or any other of your possessions. What they value is your time and attention; your love and affection; you sharing of yourself and not your possessions.

What happens when you get to that state of understanding and happiness with your loved ones is that you grant yourself permission to be happy with what you have. That doesn’t mean that you just quit your job or don’t accept the next promotion or even stop looking for a bigger house someday. Giving yourself permission to be happy with what you’ve got just means that you will no longer use the pursuit of possessions as the measure of your life and your happiness. You stop keeping score on that scorecard, because you’ve started keeping score based upon the smiles on the faces of the one that father-daughter danceyou love; and those smiles come because you were there sharing your love and not because of what you brought with you. Once you change to that focus getting the next possession will be much less important to than attending the next little league game or the father daughter dance or maybe going out to dinner with your significant other.

Dale Carnegie  put it well when he said – “Success is getting what you want. Happiness is wanting what you get.” May you find happiness in what you have.