To Be Satisfied Or Unsatisfied... - 2018

Be Satisfied! Be Unsatisfied! Which is it?


One of the great debates in current American culture and world culture. Do we prefer our mindset to be one that is satisfied with our position, or shall we be unsatisfied with a desire for more?

Satisfaction roots from expectation. This is where the push and pull rests. The heavy majority of those who wake up and want to be in charge of the world, have an unsatisfied mentality in the area of satisfaction, and go to bed unsatisfied each time their head rests on a pillow. If we only desire waking up and being able to breathe each day, then we have a fairly satisfied mentality in that area, and the heavy majority of us go to sleep satisfied. Those are two extreme big-picture examples. How about these? When we are raising our child and they want McDonald’s french fries and we serve them a Vons grocery store fruit bowl to be more healthy. Most often an unsatisfied mentality in that area, for the child. Or if we want to get the three month raise at our job and three months has passed. The raise comes and we are satisfied, for the moment, anyway. Now which should it be and how can we decipher?


This is where an understanding of overarching goal and step-by-step or brick-by-brick process come in. Determining what will be satisfactory should not be random. Our level of satisfaction should not be determined by the mood we woke up with or the emotion we are feeling from a completely unrelated activity or conversation. Ideally, we’d like to know in advance what our expectation is: which should be the minimum that we are willing to fluidly continue with. Once we know our expectation, or release our expectation (depending on our ultimate satisfaction goal) then we should map our desire: which is where we’d like to be in the best case scenario.  Expectation is essentially gauging where you currently are. Desire is where you’d like to be. What happens in the middle of those two things is process. It’s time to set the process.

In 2011, I was in my third year of college and first year at the University of California at Irvine. I played on the men’s volleyball team and we were full of talent and potential. I learned a grip of good lessons that season, through being coached, through coaching others, and through simply observing. One of the large lessons that I learned was that potential doesn’t really mean squat, to me at least. By that time, I had encountered SO many people who were supposedly untalented, and they found a way to do really well. On the flip, I encountered SO many people who were talented who consistently under-achieved.

There were these two guys on my team, names Will and Travis. Will was a senior leader. Travis was a younger future leader. In practice they would CONSTANTLY be saying, “Not satisfied. Unsatisfied. Never satisfied.” And I remember asking myself consistently how I felt about it, being that I had the ideology that I wanted to be as happy as possible all the time and not focus on the things in life that I didn’t have. I did have an edge on the court, though… a chip. So naturally, that “go ahead and doubt us” or “push the pedal even more” mentality resonated with me.

Mid-season, I had an epiphany. The lack of satisfaction shouldn’t be and won’t be applied to everything in my life. I will apply it to this… this desire to win the last match of the season. It was only mid-season, so winning the last match, the National Championship, had not happened yet. Being unsatisfied was a part of the process between the expectation and the desire.  With the amount of food I had for breakfast, I was satisfied. With the ability to wake up and walk and workout and learn at school, I was satisfied. With no yet having won the last match of the season… I was not. Not by myself… but for myself, I had figured it out.


We’d won that spring season 2012 National Championship and the immediate feeling after the match was the feeling of satisfaction in that season’s journey. We’d maximized potential; we’d won the last match, and we learned a bunch to carry over into the future. A few months later, the 2012 National Championship rings came in the mail, or however they come. On the inside, there was an engraving. Will made sure of it. The engraving read: “Unsatisfied.”


It’s an opportunity to examine the things in your life and see what requires a process because you are not currently satisfied with the final outcome in that specific area at the end of each day. It is also a good time to examine the things in life that require more appreciation and satisfaction for how they currently are, with no additions or subtractions.

We click away from this blog today with a better understanding of the satisfaction meter and how we may be able to help ourselves decipher what should go on each side of it. We also click away with the opportunity to share this blog with people whom we know could/would/should read it.

Over time let’s work at having an immediate knowledge of what things in our lives require more work and chiseling and what things are wonderful as they are.


Chris P Austin

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