Today is The Day That… (Part 1)

A Story of Contentment & Purpose

Introduction: Why Should you Read This Series?

Well, let’s be honest, maybe you shouldn’t. After all, you’ve probably read loads of things which served no other purpose than to waste your time. But it’s impossible to know until you give it a try. And, as we probably know each other — at least to some extent — I hope you’ll trust me enough to accept that I honestly believe what I’m about to tell you, even if it turns out to be wrong:

I have found deep, sustainable contentment in my own life, and I want to share my story with you because it may well help you to achieve the same.

Now, words like these are cheap. They look tacky and bullshitty, but the problem I’ve got is that they’re entirely sincere, so what can I do?

But back to that contentment thing. I can’t promise my story will help you. Everyone’s different. But don’t make any excuses because of that; people are not that different. We tend to all have the same basic needs, even though we may find a multitude of ways of meeting, masking and ignoring them. If you’re already content: well done; you have overcome great hurdles to get there. Even then, this series may help you to gain a greater understanding of what contentment means, so that you can share that knowledge with the people you love, as well as preserve it for yourself.

I’m not going to give you a dictionary definition of contentment. The first rule of story-telling and, actually, conveying any message, is to show, not tell; I’m going to do that in a story in the next part of the series. I’m not going to present myself as an expert on anything, other than my own life and the lessons I’ve learnt. I will never tell you that you must implement anything I’ve done, or even agree with anything I say. We’re equals, and it’s up to you to process these ideas for yourself, and think carefully about how they might apply to you. What I will do is present a framework to guide you and help you find your own contentment. Again, we’re all different, and a life that makes you content may not be anything like mine, and that’s ok. I’ve built this framework by reverse-engineering the happy and fortunate circumstances that led me to where I am today, with the intention of guiding you to your own life of contentment.

But why am I bothering? What’s the problem I’m trying to solve?

It seems that there is a disease in the modern world — an insidious, invisible malaise that infects the lives of millions. People are not content. The homes, offices and streets of affluent countries are host to legions of rudderless, lost souls who lunge from one distraction to another, trying only to get through the day, rather than live it.

Somehow, these people know there should be more to life; every day, they swallow some false promise in the hope of finding it. They have been inculcated with the lie that if they work and buy, they will discover happiness and meaning. They rarely do unless — that is — some peculiar series of events should conspire to open their eyes to the bullshit around them, give them the bravery to resist it, and the wherewithal to construct a better life.

I now invite you to take a look at your life and ask yourself if you are a sufferer of this disease. It may not be a comfortable question for many, but for those who are prepared to take a difficult, introspective look, this series may just be the beginning of the solution.

This is a story about purpose and contentment, and it is a strange story. Some of it is set in the past, with me as the protagonist, as we look closely at the events that took me to where I am today. Then, if you’ll take them, I’ll hand the reigns over to you. The next part of the story is unwritten, and I’d like you to write it with me, as you begin your own journey towards contentment, with me at your side.

Matt Shewbridge

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