Jan. WIN Article #97 Content yet Hungry


By Ben Peterson #97

Balancing apparent contradictions is a huge step to maturity for a developing student, athlete, and person. This is particularly true when speaking of the character quality of contentment. Contentment is very helpful and without it, it’s hard to imagine how a person could be either successful or happy. Yet a hunger to excel and to better oneself is just as important.

Be Content:
Does your mother ever urge you to be content? Does she want you to be content with the meals she serves, the clothes you have, your abilities and your opportunities? My mother sure did. Accepting these kinds of things can avoid self pity and bitterness. Contentment is learned. And “Contentment is not getting what we want but wanting what we have.”

We are also taught to appreciate our family, our community, our teachers and coaches. Our parents exhibit contentment by the excitement they have in us and the opportunities given to us. It was easy for me to see that it made sense to appreciate and take advantage of what had been given to me. When you are content you can take full advantage of what you have.

Be Hungry:
At the same time we are learning contentment, we are also taught a hunger for more. This hunger is expressed in at least three ways.
1) Repeated needs:
While my wife Jan wants me to be content with Sunday dinner, she does not expect me to be content with that one meal all week. 3 meals each day are available and I don’t miss many. I have learned to be content with each meal, but I am almost always hungry for the next one. That continues to be the pattern for most of us.

2) A Desire to be better:
A hunger to do something better is huge in life. Be a better student, athlete, family member, teammate, and person. Not being content with status quo is so important if we wish to help ourselves and others. Personal pride can drive us in a healthy way to do better than we have in the past. Areas such as getting better grades, getting stronger, getting in better shape, and being a better person, are great places to start. This list is endless in the ways we can improve for ourselves and others.

3) Be the very best:
Having the motivation to be the best and do our very best needs a hunger to do more than just improve. When we want to be the best, a whole new level of hunger is needed. Some might call it obsession and describe it as an insatiable hunger. At this level, contentment may seem out of place. But again, contentment must be put in the proper place and balanced with the driving hunger. If not, we can turn ourselves into deranged creatures. I have seen athletes struggle with this that have set State, National, World, and Olympic Championship goals. Some may call them obsessed but when they work to be content in the right areas and stay hungry in the needed ways, it is a thing of great beauty to watch. When a person lives with a driving hunger to be the very best, then new and lofty heights are reached that had not been known before.

Balance Contentment and Hunger:
We learn a great point of maturity when we learn to be content on a daily basis yet stay hungry to make ourselves and our world a better place. This balance was sought long before our modern day sports emphasized it. The Apostle Paul states it very clearly when he says:
“I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize ...” Philippians 3:13&14
“Not that I speak in regard to need, for I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content: I know how to be abased and I know how to abound. Everywhere and in all things I have learned both to be full and to be hungry...” Philippians 4:11&12
The Apostle Paul was writing this from a prison cell. He did not complain about his physical discomforts. He says he had learned to be content. Yet he speaks of a drive and hunger. Many of us would give up in such a position. Paul exhibits a purpose, a hunger and a drive that made him anxious to complete a job bigger that himself.

True maturity as individuals and athletes must reach a balance in the right areas of contentment and hunger. Learn to be happy and thankful for what has been accomplished and provided for you. But stay hungry to train smarter and harder and prove yourself at higher and higher levels of competition. Win tougher and tougher events and reach higher and higher goals.

You can find other articles by Ben at these web sites: www.campofchamps.org & www.TheCompetitor.org Today Ben & John run Camp of Champs Wrestling Camps. Contact them at: PO Box 222 Watertown, WI 53094; 800-505-5099 or ben@campofchamps.org

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