The Source of Satisfaction

by Bob Hughes on September 21, 2016

Bob Hughes · Authenticity · September 21, 2016

Pendulum in Action, source of satisfaction, personal satisfactionWe all want money, of course, But we all crave happiness and personal satisfaction. And a sense of having accomplished something with our lives. This is as much a part of who we are as a civilization (perhaps of any civilization) as the outer trappings of society.

But for many people, happiness comes down to money, when what we really want is contentment, even if for some people contentment is a state of constant striving, which is good if that’s the kind of person you are.

Montaigne, the great French essayist, said that for him, what’s important regarding money is that he has enough for his needs. “If I amass money, it is only in the hope of using it soon, not to buy lands that I have no use for, but to buy pleasure,” he writes in an essay, “That the Taste of Good and Evil Depends In Large Part on the Opinion We Have of Them.”

This rich essay is a meditation on personal values and public opinion, of striking a balance between what we think we need, what society thinks we need and what truly makes us happy.

Montaigne writes, “Ease and indigence depend on each man’s opinion; and neither riches, glory, nor health has any more beauty and pleasure than its possessor lends it. Each man is as well or as badly off as he thinks he is…. Fortune does us neither good nor harm; she only offers us the material and the seed of them, which our soul, more powerful than she, turns and applies as it pleases, sole cause and mistress of its happy or unhappy condition.”

That is, when we find our soul purpose, when we do what we love, when we think not in terms of what people tells us we should have and more in terms of what gives us satisfaction on a deep level, then we will be at ease with ourselves.

Today, when many in the public sphere prey upon our discontent, of what we do not have because of some unnamed other, some people might be confused into thinking that contentment comes from closing oneself off from the world. On the contrary. It comes from engagement, and from allowing yourself the possibility to be open to what you might discover about yourself and those around you. “No one suffers long except by his own fault,” Montaigne writes. Certainly, circumstances can have their affect on us, but how we react to them is more important than anything.

That’s what the authors we work with do: they seek to create a dialogue that opens readers up to what they have when they change from within.


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