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The Thin Line Between Contentment and Complacency 

One issue I’ve wrestled with for a long time is the balance between being content and being complacent. 

Being content seems noble enough - we’re happy, satisfied with what we have. But a concoction of my own competitive nature, entrepreneurial genomes,  and the American work ethic nudges me forward, even making an argument that just as stewards in the tenant parable doubled their portion, so should I. 

And then I oscillate back to saying No - I’m good with where I’m at, thank you very much. I don’t need to improve, look at all that’s been done! 

Contentment is defined as “a state of happiness and satisfaction.”

i.e. He found contentment in living a simple life in the country

Complacency as “self-satisfaction especially when accompanied by unawareness of actual dangers or deficiencies”

i.e. When it comes to safety, complacency can be dangerous.

It’s really hard to quantify these things in our finances, and numbers that might work for one family won’t work for another. And so I think the key question to answer is this: What is Enough?

And so a better way is to ask this Enough question. 

What’s enough income? 
What’s enough savings? 
What’s enough accumulations? 
What’s enough stuff? 

A dark realization can then materialize - what we THINK will finally lead to our happiness or our contentment, will always lay one dollar ahead of what we have. So it’s better to sooner rather than later to establish what’s Enough in our own lives. 
And once we’ve reached that figure, we shouldn't just rest on our laurels and accomplishments, but to continually improve and figure out a creative way to utilize the excess. 
Interesting Resources

4 Time-Saving Gmail Settings You Didn't Know You Needed
3 min read | Zapier
I consider myself somewhat of a power Google user, having signed up early enough back the day for Gmail that I can use my name without any creative character additions. However, I learned a few new tricks from this article. My favorite (and now default setting) is the Enable Reading Pane option. What a huge time saver! Those single clicks add up after a while, and the reading pane allows you to see an email body without navigating away from the inbox screen. A 3 minute read, but a very high multiple of returned time already for me. 

Why We're Blind to Probability
5 min read | Collaborative Fund 
I'm late to the Morgan Housel fanhood club, but he is quickly becoming one of my favorite writers. I absolutely loved this article. "Probability is about nuance and graduation. But in the real world people pay attention to black and white. If you said something will happen and it happens, you were right. If you said it will happen and it doesn't, you're wrong. That's how people think, because it doesn't take much effort to think it." Zing! He goes on to say this isn't anyone's in particular fault - it's who we are as humans. We don't want accuracy as much as we want certainty. Sample sizes are often too small. Painful consequences make it hard to distinguish between odds and recklessness. 

Ryan Shazier Mini Movie - Thank You 50
6 min watch | YouTube
As a Steelers fan, Ryan Shazier is one of my favorite - if not the favorite - player for who he is as a person and how good he was as a player. My 8 year old streams Steelers highlight videos regularly, and I came out to see him watching this. I remember viewing it shortly after it came out, but watched it again.  Might want to have some tissues ready for all the feels. And then when he did this, I remember bawling my eyes out watching it live in our living room. 

Investors Approaching Retirement Face Painful Decisions
5 min read (paywall) | Wall St Journal 
For as much as coverage over the past few years has shown better "investor behavior," this study published by the WSJ using data from Fidelity Investments showed a lot of people sold at unfortunate times between February and May this year. Nearly a third of investors above age 65 dumped ALL of their equity holdings. Granted, there could be a myriad of reasons why - but fear is most likely a culprit. 
Is contentment something you feel you've gotten control of in your life? What do you feel you default to? 

One thought I also have that I didn't mention is that the opposite of contentment isn't necessarily complacency. I think it's true opposite is greed or envy. However, for me personally (and a lot of those that I know), the fine line of distinction is more difficult to navigate between the contentment and complacency than it is of greed and envy. 

Let me know your own thoughts by replying. 


Gratefully,
Jeremy
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