Home > Gratitude Challenge > Day One: Battle of Constructive Discontent vs. Gratitude

Day One: Battle of Constructive Discontent vs. Gratitude

Day one of the Tiny Prints Gratitude Challenge.  The task seemed easy enough.  Sign the gratitude pledge (below) and publicly commit (this post):

“With a hopeful outlook, I, Anna Fieler, promise to fulfill the terms of the Gratitude Challenge.  Over the next 21 days, I pledge to complete the activities in my Gratitude Challenge Kit, including blogging, taking photos, writing journal entries and connecting with friends.  I promise to take note of life’s little blessings and give thanks for the relationships, experiences and opportunities that make my life unique.  From this day forward, I commit to living on the brighter side of life. (Signed and dated today.)

At first, I thought this gratitude challenge is going to be a piece of cake.  My glass is always half full.  I like to think of myself as being blessed with a sunny disposition.  And after two years of practicing meditation and other new age teachings, I’d like to think that I’m pretty present, and that I practice what I preach, finding the “red wheel barrows” in every scene.  I really thought I would just breeze through the 21 days writing about the aching beauty of my 2-year-old’s chubby cheeks or the simple pleasures of vanilla ice cream melted on summer’s peach cobblers.

I didn’t expect internal battle to be already arising on Day One.

Philosophically, I absolutely buy into gratitude as a concept and sincerely believe in its power.  On the surface, you can even say that I’ve already been living the gratitude challenge for a while.  After all, my 4-year-old has been keeping a gratitude journal over the last few months (more on that in a future post) as have I.

But when I really spent time reflecting on the challenge today, scratching beneath the surface, I found that I have many beliefs ingrained in my personality that are counter to the principles of gratitude.  Let’s face it, any successes I may have had in life thus far has been made possible by zeroing in on what I could do better vs. being content with where I am.  I’ll blame it on my type-A DNA and my early upbringing in Taiwan where I vividly remember being beaten six times with a bamboo stick by my elementary school teacher for getting a score of 94 on a math test.  I can also point to the fact that most “failures” in my life probably came when I took a more relaxed approach to living my life.  Taking note of the not so great things in my life has provided the impetus for manifesting something better.  It’s a formula that has worked pretty well.  In fact, I even have a term for it. I call it “constructive discontent”.  It’s an intrinsic part of my constitution that makes me tick.

As I assume more leadership responsibilities professionally, or as my role as parent evolves beyond diaper changing to imparting values, I now realize that my “constructive discontent” tendencies have broader reaching implications.  It no longer affects just me.  Resolving the battle between constructive discontent and gratitude becomes a daily challenge.

I admit don’t have the answer yet.  But I’m convinced that whatever the answer may be, its discovery starts with awareness.  I am hopeful that this Gratitude Challenge will help me keep “constructive discontent” in check, especially in my interactions with other people.  I pledge that in the next 21 days, I will not only give thanks to the beautiful things in life, but will also strive the resolve  the tuggle between gratitude vs. constructive discontent.

So, how about this for today’s affirmation…?

I embrace my desires to want more and be better.  It is part of what makes our world turn, and it is part of my nature that makes me who I am.  However, I will delight in the creation of what could be rather than dwelling on what isn’t.  I will appreciate everyone, everything, and every circumstance that brings about what is, for what could be is built upon what is, and I will get there faster by setting my sight forward with a positive energy.  

Categories: Gratitude Challenge
  1. Tim
    August 18, 2009 at 10:03 pm

    Hi Anna,

    Looking for to the future blog entries:-)

    Have you read “A New Earth” by Eckhart Tolle or “I Am That” by Sri Nisargadatta?


    • Anna Fieler
      August 18, 2009 at 11:28 pm

      I have read “A New Earth” but not “I Am That”… Will have to check it out… Thanks for the recommendation Tim!

  2. aligntheself
    August 20, 2009 at 10:30 am

    I love this thoughtful post. Living gratitude isn’t always easy–if it were, we’d just flick a switch and always be on (and living in gratitude). I’m Glad TinyPrints has made this 21-day challenge…Zen priests say that 21 days are required for any real change to set in. Looking forward to seeing where this path leads and what lessons reveal themselves along the journey.

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