When you think about your life and ask, “Am I happy with how things are? Am I content with the life I have right now?” Do you say yes? It’s tough to figure out what’s just right for us without settling and feeling too complacent. We want to keep moving forward. In this episode, Jen and Jill walk us into the journey of contentment and share ways to use it as a tool to spend less and with intentionality.
What are we talking about?
Google Dictionary defines “contented” as a feeling or showing satisfaction with one’s possessions, status, or situation. Jill adds “peace” as a word synonymous with contentment because she believes it leads to peacefulness versus complacency, which shows a lack of concern or interest. Jen wants us to be grateful for what we have, yet it’s difficult to be content when your value or worth in society is equated with your output.
When you’re content, you acknowledge that you do not need more stuff, new places, or financial achievements to be happy because, in reality, these are not the things that are going to make you feel content. Start celebrating the hard work you put into improving your spending to inspire you to keep moving.
Contentment with what you own and do
Millennials value experience more than ‘things’, but there comes a point where only so many vacations will add value to your life. Only the things money can’t buy will make you truly happy. Jen introduces the 4Fs, which are faith, family, friends, and fulfilling work (professional and non-professional), as the baseline for being content that no money can buy. New and shiny things momentarily bring joy, but focus on the vital few or the heavy hitters.
Contentment with who you are and what you’ve done
It can also be called “Contentment 2.0,” for this is a deeper level of reconciling who we are—our personhood, personality, and accomplishments. When we find contentment on a deeper level, it’s going to have a phenomenal impact on our lives. Jill recognizes the importance of acknowledging the parts of your season or the time you are currently in that limit you. Look for the beauty in it and the ways it helps you rather than hurts you. Also, acknowledging what you’re good at, the things you enjoy, and draining you. Look for ways to do more of those things and less of the others.
What to do when complacency starts to creep in?
You can’t care 100% of the time. You can’t care about your WHYs all the time. It’s just impossible! So what do we do? Refocus ourselves on contentment through active gratitude. Showing gratitude through journaling or meditation—anything that simply acknowledges the benefits you have received. Jen challenges us to do gratitude journaling every day for 2 weeks and see how transformative it is for feeling contentment. When we’re approaching complacency, it’s usually through a feeling of stagnation or feeling “stuck.” Jill recommends keeping a pulse when we are hustling too much and re-evaluating.
Will achieving the next financial goal make you content?
No! We will always keep reaching different goals. Jill introduces the concept of “hedonic adaptation,” where once we achieve something, we return to a relative state of happiness. “Mastering” your spending and achieving your financial goals will not make you happier or more satisfied, but it will lead to greater levels of contentment when we feel like we’re the ones fully in control—making informed and insightful decisions about our money.
Jen mentions the 4Fs, as these are things that are very near to us and that we can focus on immediately. It can replace our impulse spending or instant-gratification tendencies. No matter what we achieve next, it won’t be our ultimate happiness, but it won’t also be our ultimate destruction. Keep going and be informed as you’re going.
What experiences (or values) do you consider priceless and truly believe money can't buy?
Jen and Jill both value time with their family, especially with Jen’s kids at this stage. Jill also finds time with friends and being in nature priceless.
Bill of The Week
Thank you Haley for your bill about your student loans!
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