Have you ever searched for that movie you really want to see on Netflix only to be disappointed when it’s not there? Or maybe it was that 14th season of some show your friend told you about that you must watch. Netflix has 1,000s of shows and episodes. More entertaining content than any single soul should be allowed to watch in a lifetime. But for some reason, it often feels like that one show we want to watch just isn’t included. Despite millions of hours of television and movies, we can’t find what we want.
I’ve enjoyed Netflix and watched countless hours of their content over the years. Although we currently use a different streaming service, many of the principles are still the same. The best way to approach a streaming service is to simply browse its content from within. Do your search from within. This means strategically limiting your options to what is currently available. Looking at the top fifty most watched shows on Netflix will be much more satisfying than if we were to look at the top fifty films of the year, and then search for them on Netflix. There may be a few that would be available but, by and large, you would be disappointed if your expectations were really high.
A New Approach
The new approach begins with understanding that we often have more options than we realize, understand, or even desire. We spend a lot of time and energy trying to decide based simply on the options we currently have. Although choice is a good thing, Schwartz argues that there comes a point where it might be counter productive. Often, we can draw more contentment from looking at our current options and making the best choice among those. We spend a lot more time and energy concentrating on the things that are missing instead of the things we already have. This is the exact same phenomena that leads to the fridge full of food with nothing to eat or the closet full of clothes with nothing to wear.
At times, we’ve all wished for a little bit of everything. We have wanted it all. We have wanted every opportunity and desire imaginable. However, when making decisions among choices we currently have, choose the best options available and spend less time and energy thinking about what could have been. The notion of searching from within is simply about managing expectations and making sure they are realistic. There is a time for bold and unrealistic expectations, but choose your battles and energy wisely.
Contentment Made Easier
For some reason, it is much easier to see and recognize the things that are lacking in our life instead of the things we already have. And we tend to adapt very quickly to our surroundings. Whether wealth or poverty, we tend to get accustom to how we are living. There is a strong tendency to simply want just a little more than what we currently have. There is another tendency to want just beyond what is currently in reach. We want the next, slightly shinier thing. Wants are not a bad thing, but we must be careful that they do not cloud the vision that allows us to see what we already have. Contentment can often be gained by simply searching from within the things and relationships we already have.
I know a lot of people who spend their entire lives looking for the perfect job. I’m still yet to be convinced that it actually exists. Even jobs that allow you to follow your passion or dreams often have tedious parts or situations that are less than comfortable. Some jobs really are terrible but often we can make the best of our current ones. For instance, I was surprised when I requested to work from a different city while Ms. SE was doing her rotations. My boss said sure, and I was able to get a lot finished up while on the road.
Long term, better employment is always a positive, however, there are frequently small things we can do today to make our current job better. Have a hard discussion about the things you hate and minimize those. Work towards spending more of your time doing the parts of your job you enjoy. Most employers are happy to have excited, engaged employees. The same methodology can be used for housing and transportation. Take your car to the car wash- get it super showroom clean. It is probably nicer than you expect or remembered. Do a house project to make your space more livable. It is much cheaper than moving and often adds long term value. The first step of the process is to search for the positive things around us and begin by leveraging those.
Often, we have plenty of amazing people around us. In fact, our friends, acquaintances, and family are often one of our most underutilized resources. I’m sure I’ve had tools, stuff, vehicles, or advice I would be more than happy to share with someone I know, but they haven’t even bothered to ask. We often spend our time searching outside the resources that are currently already available in our network.
In fact, we probably have plenty of potential best (or at least great) friends that we already know and have beginner relationships with. We don’t have to search the world for the perfect friend; more often than not they are already within our existing relationships. For instance, one of my best friends growing up was my next door neighbor. We were a few years apart and shared a few similar interests. I bet there were more compatible people out there, but we had a great time biking around the woods, building forts, and shooting BB guns together. Similarly, we often think about the friends that have moved away or family that lives in other states, but if only we could just look around and realize how many incredible people we are surrounded by on a daily basis. Relationships are important. They are the building blocks of life. Take a few moments to search from within and develop a plan to maximize the relationships you already have.
We have a lot of great things in our lives. Most likely, we have friends, family, food, shelter, and safety. We have so much that it becomes difficult to recognize. We often look externally for the next best thing that will make us happy. But I’m here today to suggest beginning our search from within. Try not to think about all the things we don’t have and instead, enjoy the things we do have.