Welcome to the “Lessons from Nature” series based on a profound insight I had: Humans may have the most complex brains on the planet, but nature as a whole has a better grip than humankind on how to successfully achieve a thriving quality of life.
What I mean by that is this: Each species instinctively knows what type of quality of life it is supposed to have on this Earth and actively works to achieve it. The only species that seems to have trouble doing so is humans (see my earlier blog posts for more details). During this series I will be sharing with you a number of lessons we can learn from nature which will help us achieve a thriving quality of life more consistently.
We can learn a lot from nature about how to have a thriving quality of life by practicing contentment.
Having a pet is a wonderful experience. They love us unconditionally and become important members of our family. They are also content with their life 99% of the time. Granted, their scope of the world and the amount of responsibilities they hold is not as large as ours. Despite that, however, contentment comes easy to our pets…even when we have to discipline them in order to set expectations and help them learn boundaries.
I distinctly remember when we adopted Dakota, our Siberian Husky, in 2005. She was about 8-months old and had not been correctly house-trained. The first few days she stayed with us she chewed on our socks & shoes and ended up peeing in several parts of the house. Even though we felt badly we had to discipline Dakota to show her that type of behavior was unacceptable.
The look on her face when we smacked her nose and loudly said “NO” was pure surprise, followed by her cowering on the floor. After throwing away the damaged items or cleaning up her mess, we would then call her over and snuggle with her to show her we still loved her. The neat thing about that whole situation is that she immediately forgave us for smacking her and showed us how much she loved us by wagging her tail and licking our faces. Within just a few seconds she was back to 100% contentment with her life and truly happy with her world.
Most animals in nature have the ability to quickly find contentment in their world. National Park Rangers and Farmers see contentment in nature all the time when they walk the trails or fields they care for every day. One moment they may see a deer or a squirrel running around, and the next moment some other creature may be trying to take its life. Then minutes later the deer or squirrel will be frolicking around as if nothing had ever happened — completely content and happy with their world.
Animals, along with the rest of nature, don’t dwell on their current circumstances. Instead they rapidly move on with their life which allows them to be content more consistently. If only we could bounce back as rapidly as nature to find contentment in our world every day, no matter how difficult our circumstances. One way we can do this is by practicing the habit of being grateful which quickly leads to contentment and an increased feeling of joy.
Looking back with 20/20 hindsight there were a number of situations that I let get the best of me while I was going through them. I was too angry, or too hurt, or too “something,” and in the heat of that moment made some poor choices that prevented me from bouncing back from that circumstance as quickly as I could have. If I had focused instead on what I was grateful for about that circumstance (as difficult as that is), I would’ve been able to go through that circumstance with a “clearer” mind which would have allowed me to make better choices, thus leading to a faster resolution.
The bottom line is that when you practice the habit of being content you will feel more joy during a lifetime and get through difficult situations more quickly, with less stress, which allows you to experience a thriving life more consistently.
Learn from nature and develop the ability to “bounce back” from difficult circumstances more quickly by developing a contentment habit which always leads to increased joy over a lifetime.
This is the last article in the “Lessons From Nature” series and I look forward to your comments about it. If you would like to read the earlier articles in this series, click on the archives link to the left and select June 2009. “Lessons From Nature #1” was posted on June 23, 2009.
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Have a fabulous day and don’t forget to keep an eye out for all the amazing possibilities within and around you!
C.E.O. Catalyst & Life Coach