Contentment and Heroism

Contentment and Heroism, what do they have in common? We usually think of heroism as the grand and successful people, anyone who has reached the top of their hierarchy and achieved more than others. This is the mythical hero figure that journeys into the unknown and progresses further than any have before, thus gaining new found powers which we, the other people, admire and benefit from.

There is a tricky problem with this mythology which permeates the symbolic mind of the human. The problem is that we cannot live up to this standard in all of its glory. We cannot achieve and progress further than anyone has before, at least not in all that we imagine ourselves doing. We may be able, with a combination of hard work, intelligence and creativity, along with resources and lack of other responsibilities, to traverse uncharted territory in a given field. But very few people are afforded this opportunity.

The real heroes, given the paradoxical state of mankind and their lofty imaginations, you could argue, are the people who find contentment. Contentment seems like the enemy to many heroic types. It may seem like a forfeit, a giving up on our dreams, but I think you can make an argument that contentment is the ultimate heroic resolution.

My coach Gary Waite, a 10-time world doubles champion in squash, once told me that the road to success is lonely, selfish, and painful. “It is not a peaceful existence.” He told me, which is a perfect way to describe the life of a professional athlete. People at the top of their craft are willing to sacrifice almost anything in order to be there, but at the end of the day they have to find contentment with their everyday life.

After the string of success, after the attainment of wealth or status, at the end of the road lies the search for contentment. Contentment is the place the hero is riding towards as he gallops off into the sunset.

Hustle it up!

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