Many of us think that satisfaction is something that we either have or we don’t. We have been taught that satisfaction comes from the outside. If something meets or exceeds our expectations, then we feel satisfied. If things do not appear to turn out in our favor, it appears we are destined to go without. Fortunately, there is another way to feel satisfaction that has nothing to do with outside circumstances. We can choose to be satisfied regardless of what is going on around us.
There was a student in our district who never seemed satisfied. Nothing was ever good enough for him. In fact, he seemed to light up when he found an opportunity to deem something to be unacceptable. In an odd way, he was gleaning satisfaction from being dissatisfied with life. Unfortunately, this was not translating into success at school. In fact, it was bringing him more dissatisfaction because the people around him were getting frustrated with his poor attitude and lack of sincere effort.
From the outside, it appeared that this boy had an abundance of confidence. He was so quick to judge people and things as being below him. The truth was that, on the inside, he was judging himself as incapable of the same success that we all desire. In his mind, he was hopeless. He had learned to use dissatisfaction with life as a form of protection from failure. He needed a new perspective on things; a lens through which he could look at himself and feel satisfied.
With the support of a wonderful team, he learned that is was okay to admit that he was struggling at school. He also learned to derive satisfaction from meeting small goals on the way to his larger dreams. This was a very important part of the process. In any endeavor we must all learn to celebrate small victories. Otherwise, we will give up before we reach the finish line.
If you have been stuck in a loop of dissatisfaction you can pause right now and practice feeling satisfied. If you are willing to look, you will find a long list of things to feel satisfied about. As you practice feeling satisfied with small things, you will get better at feeling satisfied with the bigger things that you have been overlooking. In an amazing way, satisfaction begets more satisfaction.
Now is the time to join the ranks of the truly satisfied. You will realize that living a life devoid of satisfaction is a difficult endeavor and wonder how you ever managed to live that way. You will also see that your feelings of satisfaction are contagious. Nothing feels better than being around someone who feels deeply satisfied.
Edward Biagiotti is the Inclusion Specialist for Culver City Unified School District. He is also the co-host of “Funniest Thing! with Darrell and Ed” podcast on iTunes. For questions, comments, and ideas for future columns, send an email to: EdwardBiagiotti@ccusd.org