My Pi-Spective on Positive Dissatisfaction


(A pi-spective is where you write about something using only 314 words)

Dissatisfaction. Even the word feels empty. It's different from unsatisfied. To satisfy originally meant to make amends or repay. The root is about 'doing enough'. Now it's become about having something in full.

So we need to be satisfied with something. To be dissatisfied is to have the something but want something else. Or to find that once we have the something it wasn't actually what we wanted. Or thought it would be. To be unsatisfied is to have something of the something but want more of the something.

Dissatisfaction. What's the lesson here? That I should climb yonder hill to find that which I really want? Or to realize that what I have is enough. Satisfaction is related to contentment. Contentment comes from the same root as contain. In the sense that my desires are fulfilled by what I already have.

What is that I desire that I don't have? In our connected, networked and choice filled world there is much more that I don't have than I do. I can fill my entire life collecting things I don't have and still not have enough things. There is a fast track to dissatisfaction and it means looking at what others have and I don't.

Social comparison is a bad thing. What I want to compare my present self to is my past and future selves. That is, if I'm going to compare myself to anything at all.

I can desire for little, obtain it and still be dissatisfied. Dissatisfaction is both a curse and a call to arms. Like all extremes the trick is finding the middle ground. I want to be sufficiently content with what I have while also thinking about what more I can do.

Aha. There it is. Positive dissatisfaction is to do with verbs. Negative dissatisfaction is to do with nouns.

Build a satisfying future for your better self.