Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Satisfying Desires

Do we realize true contentment when we receive something that we believe will satisfy our desires?

Before you read on, please take a moment to ponder these questions: Does giving the gift of wealth to the poor really make them wealthy? Does giving the gift of health to the sick really make them healthy? Does giving the gift of happiness to the depressed really make them happy?

The answer to all of these questions can be “yes”, but only for a moment. When only the outcomes of wealth, health, and happiness are given, the results are short term. For long-term results to be realized, the gifts must be accompanied by lessons and guidelines that will yield success. Gifts of wealth, health, and happiness are only beneficial to us if we learn how to use and maintain them.

Satisfying the desire for wealth

If someone is poor because of inadequate money management skills and he is given wealth, he will eventually return to a poor lifestyle due to careless spending and weak savings practices. Should he want to maintain his wealth that was given to him, he must modify his money management skills to reflect smart savings and investments and wise spending habits.

If, however, he was once wealthy because of his effective money management skills and is now poor due to a disaster beyond his control, then if he is given the gift of wealth he will have a greater chance of maintaining the wealth because he understands strategies that yield financial success.

Satisfying the desire for health

If a man is sick because of poor dieting and unhealthy lifestyle choices, then, if it was possible to give him health, the gift of health would need to be accompanied by lessons and guidelines to maintain health. The health, just as the wealth, would soon be lost, if he did not modify his diet and lifestyle to reflect healthy choices. Returning to an inactive lifestyle supplemented by an unhealthy diet will quickly deplete the gifted health just as careless spending and inadequate saving will deplete the gifted wealth.

If, however, he was once healthy because of good dieting and wise lifestyle choices and then is burdened by an unexpected illness, the gift of health would allow him a greater chance of maintaining the health because he has already accustomed himself to practices that yield positive results.

Satisfying the desire for happiness

If a man is unhappy because he continuously beats himself up for his decisions and behaviors and always wishes he had more, then the gift of happiness will not yield him long-term contentedness because he lacks the skills to know how to be happy. The happiness gifted to him must be accompanied by lessons and guidelines that will help him maintain his happiness. Giving someone a pill to make him happy is a short term fix if the pill is not accompanied by strategies that will allow him to continue happy living when the pill is no longer available. He must be taught strategies that will help him to be happy with what he has, to genuinely appreciate life, and to avoid dwelling on unsatisfactory circumstances.

Long-term results

Effectively applied strategies and decisions can yield long-term wealth, health, and happiness if we are poor, sick, or unhappy. Contrarily, if we are simply gifted wealth through a lottery, health through a detoxification program, or happiness through a pill, and we fail to modify our previously unsuccessful wealth, health, and happiness maintenance strategies, then we will return to our unsatisfactory circumstances when the gifts expire. Just as with any other type of gift, the gifts of wealth, health, and happiness serve us value only if we know how to use them. To better illustrate, take the examples of a computer, car, piano, or a book. The gift of a computer can only serve value if you know how to navigate through the applications. The gift of a car can only serve value if you know how to drive. The gift of a piano can only serve value if you know how to play. The gift of a book can only serve value if you know how to read.

If you wish for greater levels of wealth, health, or happiness, wish for the skills that will help you achieve and maintain your desired levels rather than wishing for the outcomes themselves. As you acquire skills to maintain the desired outcomes, then you can realize long-term contentment. Only wishing for the outcomes is like wishing for a gift that you don’t know how to use, and the happiness of receiving the gift will consequently fade.

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