Personal | 21 Sep 2014

On Madame Bovary and Dangers of Being Content

Someone told me that this book is a good reminder to be content with what you have. Madame Bovary was not happy with a simple family life and love of a country doctor, and in pursuit of luxury and passion ruined not only her own life, but also the lives of her husband and daughter.

Here is what I think about being content. Content creates a comfort zone. Comfort, in turn, stunts growth and development. Content is a reason why nearly four-in-ten Americans never leave the place in which they are born, and why it is so hard for some to grasp the difference between they’re and there.

In most humans, content leads to mediocrity. When you are comfortable and content, you don’t grow. And when you don’t grow, you die.

I don’t think lack of content with what she had was Madame Bovary’s problem. Neither were her aspirations for better life (whether we agree with her definition of a better life is not relevant). Her problem was the method of pursuing those aspirations. When you long for money and luxury, it’s not smart to cheat on your husband with a poor man and spend money you don’t have on him. It’s more prudent to cheat on your husband with a rich man and have him spend money on you.

I believe in being grateful for what you have, but I don’t believe in being content with it.

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