Word-Of-the-Week #650: Content

January 19, 2017 by  

Content – happy with what you have; satisfied.

So how did you answer this question, “Do you agonize about finding happiness?” Do you often worry about the future? Have you ever felt content?

This week features the follow up to “Why are Americans so anxious?” by San Diego Union columnist Neil Senturia, I’m There for You, Baby.

“Whippman, author of America the Anxious  tells us that the self-help/looking for Mr. Goodbar/happiness racket is an $11 billion a year business. (Find me a start-up in this space and I am all-in.) The business crosses over the spiritual, yoga, meditation, mindfulness and ultimately personal wealth. I would be happier if I had more money (we know this is not true, but we believe it anyway).

She says that our idea of the American Dream “is just out of reach.” Dude, that is why they call it a dream. Do you really think you can mind-meld parenting, religion, social media and your stupid boss? Never. On the other hand, now that marijuana is legal, who knows.

We try to balance professional and personal, while every day realizing we are never going to be really happy at both at the same time. (It is like Brownian movement). Maybe if we worked longer and harder. There are many studies that show that Americans never switch off, they do not ever really go on a vacation; email haunts you with a beep every 90 seconds.

To counter the 24×7 stress, companies now bring in video games, therapists, massage, food, dentists, doctors – the only thing missing is sex – but that might cause even more anxiety (performance).

Whippman discusses the new cure— “mindfulness,” which is the buzz word for this year. Be in the moment.  (Sure, as long as I can be unhappy in the moment, I am there for you baby.) She says “you can’t pay your rent, you don’t have any health insurance, but hey, try a little mindfulness.” America is on the edge.

Some people like the balloons, the socializing in the workplace, the free snacks and the people parading by your cube asking about your weekend. But the data shows most of us hate it. Zappos is the outlier. The Friday beer bash does not relieve the anxiety. In fact, it increases it. Did I drink too much, am I liked, did I mix well? So I sell the lie and post happy pictures on my Facebook page.

Facebook is paying its female workers money so they can freeze their eggs and delay having children – so they can work harder at Facebook – and be happy. Hah!

Rule No. 493:  Have another glass of scotch. (Neil’s article last week started with “December 31, 2016, midnight – after one glass of very old scotch.”

This week focus on feeling content. Could you “just be happy with what you have?” If not, what do you need to make it better? How realistic are your expectations?

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