Being content in a world that moves so fast

Being content is a topic that I think is often overcomplicated in our day and age. We seem to have too much information to realize that happiness is a built-in feature, the feelings of happiness and of joy are almost like intuition - we all know what it feels like - but unfortunately we can't always put it into practice. It is as if there is some obstacle standing in the way, that we can't even seem to put our finger on. 

I think there are three reasons we feel this way. 

Searching outside of ourselves 

This Idea has taken many forms. It is the same concept as the rich man who believes if he just had some more money, just had that promotion, finally got that yacht only then will he be happy. He perpetually believes that the “next thing" will make him happy. Truthfully though if you cannot be happy with what you have now, you won't be happy when you have the "next thing" either.  Feelings of joy & happiness need to come from within. Not from having more but being content with less. 

Some might ask how are they going to be motivated if they aren't reaching for the next rung on the ladder? You can always look at how far up that ladder you have already climbed, appreciate the view, and you can be content with where you are and still strive for progress and the betterment of yourself and your life. 

I am aware that being at peace and striving for progress can seem contradictory in nature. But then again, isn't life? 

Sometimes being content can be as simple as stopping for a few moments, taking a few deep breaths and just noticing the world around you. The beauty of the trees, the man on his way to work, the child playing with a toy; the crisp freshness of the air, the smell of pine trees; the sound of flowing water. (As Ryan Holiday talks about in his book, Stillness is the key. ) Stillness is all around us, we just need to embrace it. 

 We get confused by the nature of things

In the age of distractions and screens, I think we have all become disconnected from reality. From nature. We are animals, in every way. We are not as special or fancy as we like to think. A large part of the reason we are stuck in this climate crisis today is because we have had this attitude of being “above" nature, we seem to have accepted the notion that we are somehow able to control the chaos that created us. 

Happiness should be easy 

We too often forget that happiness is a built-in function of our brains. It shouldn't be so hard. So maybe we’re trying too hard. Maybe all it takes is to try to be at peace and to let go of our notions of what it means to be happy. Life comes in waves, and we have the capacity to be at peace at any moment in these waves. No matter the external circumstances, no matter the struggles we are facing, we all have the capacity to slow down and be present. 

The universe is chaos and we can't plan for chaos 

Our very existence is chaos manifested in a new form. It is with a strong sense of self-importance that we begin to think that know what the future will hold, that we can plan for the it so confidently, think so many steps ahead. In reality, we know almost nothing that the future will hold. We can observe patterns and commonalities, but that is it. Decisions will be made best in the present moment, because that is when you will have the most updated information. Keep that in mind. 

Expecting the unexpected 

A big part in finding contentment in your life is from not letting changes affect your internal state. This means not allowing the weather to get you down; not allowing unexpected obstacles that come your way to influence your own happiness; processing new information in a flexible way so that you can make the best decisions possible with the most relevant data. 

We are moving too fast

The age that we live in is complex and full of distractions that can pull you one way or another, and easily prevent us from doing the things we want to do. There is so much information available that it can easily overwhelm even the most talented individuals. It has become the norm to be moving quickly all the time, always feeling like you are in a rush to do just about anything. Data has shown that we are incapable of multitasking(You Can’t Multitask, so Stop Trying, 2010), so taking action on one thing at a time and thinking on one thing at a time is a great way to slow down, take in information from one source at a time and process things properly. This will allow you to do all the things that you have to do, when you need to do them, but by separating your tasks and not attempting to multitask, we avoid unnecessary stress and we ease the burden on our minds at any given moment. We can be at peace, while still accomplishing our goals and making progress. 


It can be hard to find peace in a world that is so complex and overwhelming as ours is today. There is so much information and so many distractions that sometimes the only way to get a breath of fresh air is to step back from it all, and to return to the simple pleasures of just being alive. We cannot do this throughout every moment, there are lots of things that we can't avoid our technology and the rushed pace of the world, but we can cultivate breaks from it, regularly enough so that we can enjoy our work, relationships, and our short time here on earth. 


You Can’t Multitask, So Stop Trying. (2010, December 21). Harvard Business Review.