Turning the Table on Dissatisfaction

People are dissatisfied. Even in a country where the world is offered at our feet, people are dissatisfied, wanting more.

We feel stuck in our nine-to-five. We can’t wait to turn the next milestone age. We can’t wait to live this dream we have inside of our hearts.

We continue to scrape by at our work places. We wish things were as simple as when we were younger. We sit in front of the television night after night.

We want to change the world but we settle for maintaining what we must to survive.

Why do we do this? Because chasing dreams is hard. Pursuing passions means pushing past comfortability. And oh, do we love comfortability.

So we spend the next year dreaming about all of the amazing things we want to do and how happy we will be when we are doing them. We tell ourselves that the dissatisfaction we feel right now is okay because it is only temporary. We promise that when we just get things settled down and figured out, we’ll get to our dreams.

So a year rolls by and things oddly look exactly how they did this time last year. Maybe we repeat the same, worn out promises we always have and utter the soul killing word, “someday.”

Some people spend their entire lives doing this.

This week at the Trailhead Podcast, we had guest Natalie Brown speak about big moves and taking risks. She lives in Uganda where she helps run a ministry that helps the poor, the starving, and the needy. She made a comment about her latest trip to America that struck me.

She said, in Uganda, people are starving and they know it so they are ready to receive and they are ready to work for the things they desire. In contrast, in America, people “fill themselves with so many things that will never satisfy them.” Natalie compares it to someone eating candy all day and wondering why they don’t feel full.

We fill ourselves with things that are fun now, or maybe just things that are easy. We fill ourselves with the millions of distractions we have readily available for us in a place like America, and we miss out on pursuing the dreams that are actually going to satisfy us.

Pursuing dreams involves risk. There is no way around that. However, undoubtedly the most satisfied people in the world are those who follow their dreams. Maybe they succeed, maybe they fail. Guarantee the ones who succeeded failed somewhere along the road.

People don’t just wake up one day and all of their dreams magically come true. So where do they start? Where do successful, satisfied people start out?

Just like us average people. They had a dream that set their soul on fire. They had passion.

Passion is crucial because it drives purpose. You can want to do something all day long, but chances are, if you’re not passionate about it, you’re going to pick Netflix after a hard day of work more often than not.

But they didn’t stop there. After they identified their passion driven purpose, they got to work. They figured out what they needed to do to see that dream become a reality, and they began to do it. Sometimes it was little, everyday tasks. Sometimes it took monumental leaps of faith.

Now, if the question is satisfaction, it would seem that next I should talk about the happiness felt when one accomplishes a goal. However, science actually shows that we feel happier when we pursue and make progress toward our dreams than when we actually reach them, because working toward a goal releases dopamine that gradually subsides once the goal is achieved.

So take the risk. Figure out what you’re passionate about and begin to work toward it.

If you don’t know what you’re passionate about, look around you. Natalie flew to the other side of the world to pursue her dreams, but sometimes the things we are purposed for are right under our noses.

Change the world by changing your world.

Take the first small step and remember it’s a process.

You may fail, but satisfaction lies more in the pursuit than in the actual thing. As Shakespeare said, "Things won are done; joy's soul lies in the doing."

- Victoria Rinear