Leading a more satisfying life
How often have you found yourself in the situation where you’ve finally achieved something you’ve been working towards for a long time – but then felt a nagging sense of dissatisfaction?
It is a feeling that can creep into in all walks of life if we’re not careful. It could be new job, or a treat you’ve been saving up for that you have finally been able to buy. Or it could even be something as mundane as the culmination of a favourite tv box set – the journey towards the conclusion of the story was great, but the final outcome wasn’t quite what we wanted it to be.
In many ways we’re very much like children in this sense. In the same way that one sibling might get annoyed that the other child has a bigger portion, or a ‘better’ present, we still always want more, want something better or bigger. We haven’t really moved on, even as adults. But actually children do have something else that they can also teach us – which in many ways can help us, as adults, to live a more satisfying life.
Lost in the moment
While some kids spend a lot of time demanding more, they also have an incredible knack for extracting the absolute maximum out of any given moment. Watch a child playing with Lego, or even just a pile of pebbles on a beach. When they want to apply it, their focus can be total. Their ability to be completely absorbed in something is awe-inspiring – in part because it is something that most of us, as adults, lose as we get older.
A world of distraction
It is a challenge that is getting more and more difficult too, especially given the myriad demands on our attention today. Social media, the entertainment we can stream to our smartphones and just the seemingly endless variety of stimulating things we can indulge in makes concentrating on just one of those things harder than ever before.
This, of course, has a big impact on our levels of satisfaction. On the one hand, it all means we’re no longer engaging completely with the experiences we’re consuming. And because of the countless alternative experiences that we can choose from, we’re constantly distracted from the job at hand. It can be very easy to fall into the trap of endlessly dipping into things, getting a superficial buzz from the novelty of the experience, and then moving on. Ultimately, it is not a satisfying way to go about things.
The answer, then, perhaps lies with the example that kids set us. Not the bickering, ‘I want more’ or ‘I want a better one’ behaviour that we sometimes see – but rather that complete and total absorption in the moment, when nothing else matters.
That, truly, is mindfulness in action – and finding joy and completeness in every moment we experience really is a route to total satisfaction.
About Graham Tomlinson’s blog
Graham Tomlinson With this blog I aim to create an open website for sharing my mindfulness & self-improvement tips with as many people as possible.