Thursday, November 19, 2009

“I am completely satisfied.”

by Richard L. Weaver II

There are numerous reasons for attaining or maintaining a plateau in life from which one never chooses to leave and makes a commitment to maintain forever. A plateau is that stage where no further growth — but no loss — occurs. It’s a stage, too, where one can say with conviction, “I am completely satisfied,” and mean it. Because such a stage has never been part of my frame of thinking, I have never thought much about its prevalence nor its results — until now.

Perhaps the most important reason for wanting to maintain a plateau is laziness. Movement in any direction from where I am right now takes effort. Why put forth any effort if I’m completely satisfied? You might say, “I work hard enough as it is. Life has provided me an easy, comfortable, comfort zone. Why not make this, right where I am right now, my preferred lifestyle?

Although laziness may be the most important reason for maintaining a plateau, another closely related reason is that life has passed you by. With a society that places an emphasis on youth, it is not surprising that when youth passes — at whatever age one chooses to have that happen — you tend to rest on your laurels, whether those laurels are significant or diminutive. Youth is gone and, with it, any interest in growth, development, or change.

There is a third reason that has little to do with laziness or with the fact that life/youth has passed you by, and it has to do with the title of this essay: “I am completely satisfied.” It makes no difference whether one has made a contribution nor wants to make a contribution. It makes no difference whether one has sampled what life has to offer nor experienced all that one wants to enjoy. When one looks at how easy society has made enjoyment — hedonism (the philosophy that pleasure is of ultimate importance, the most important pursuit) — why not just immerse yourself totally in the sugary milieu, wallow in its sweetness, and delight in the savory saccharine — forever.

How can one argue against this logic? How can one suggest that there should be something more, a continuing quest, a prolonged search, a movement toward something greater, newer, or different? Even if an argument could be made, you and I both know it would fall on deaf ears. I’m afraid there is no argument that can be made to affect those suckling at the sugar-coated spigot of syrupy succulence.

So, the question is, how can anyone have an effect or make a difference in lives that have plateaued? An even bigger question is, “Why should anyone care?” The easy answer to the first question is, “No!” And, the answer to the second one is, “Nobody should.”

As a former teacher, textbook writer, essay writer, and speaker (as well as concerned citizen), I would like to believe that everyone can be touched and reached in some way. That despite laziness, youth passing us by, or complete satisfaction, people can be motivated to move from one plateau to another somewhat higher.

We need to look at plateaus as steps on a ladder not as lifetime resting stops.

In the end, what we need to do is not worry about those unwilling to read, listen, think, or move and focus, instead, on those who have plateaued but have not given up all their courage to move beyond where they are.

If you — as the reader of this essay — are interested in moving beyond where you are, there are some specific suggestions that will help you begin your mission of change. First, establish clearly the benefits of change. At the website of the Australian Institute of Professional Counselors, there is an essay entitled, “Coping with change,” where a number of benefits are listed. On a macro level, without change survival would be impossible. Culture, agriculture, education, and business would all fail. But, there are benefits that will affect you more directly. Change helps you maintain flexibility. It helps you avoid getting set in your ways and trying to be open to new ideas and ways of working and living. One reason some people enjoy their plateau is their lack of self-confidence to move out on their own. Change builds self-confidence. “Personal growth and development have been well established in research findings. Being in one’s own comfort zone can lead to some contentment for a while, but as time goes on you lose confidence and don’t acquire new abilities or skills. You become out of touch. This can lead to social isolation and feelings of marginalization or alienation.”

So what can you do to bring change into your life? First, take some time off to consider your situation. Go for leisurely walks, play ball with the kids, take a yoga or pilates class. Just bring it down a notch to give your body a chance to rejuvenate and get back on track.

Second, begin mixing it up. Changing your routine will surprise the body and allow it to start reacting again. If you follow the same routines your body is a computer with "memory" and it just coasts along for the ride. If you are physically able, get outside and do some fast walking, jogging, or running. Often, activities such as these can produce solid, fresh, thinking..

Third, make certain you’re getting enough sleep. Getting the right amount of sleep for your body will allow time for you to think properly. This will ensure that you can come at each day with enough energy and at full strength to take on new challenges.

Fourth, you need to eat properly. Junk food is non-nutritional, and if your goal is to bring change into your life, exercise, enough sleep, and solid nutrition will help you stay healthy, make good decisions, and find your way up from your plateau.

If you still are not seeing modifications, alterations, or adjustments, the best thing to do is to ride the plateau out, and keep up with your routine along with all the suggestions above. You may not see huge transformations all at once; however, try not to stress or worry about it. Both your mind and body will break through the plateau when they are ready. With your change in attitude (“I want to do this!”), and your positive outlook (“I can go this!”), you will accomplish your new goal — positive change. What you are likely to find is that your comment, “I am completely satisfied,” will still be appropriate, but it will refer to the “new you” that is growing, developing, and changing.

On Anthony Fernando’s website, “Dare to Dream,” he talks about plateaus, how they occur and what they look like, and he gives a specific method for moving to the next higher plateau: “Successful people,” writes Fernando, “expect to encounter plateaus on the way to achieving their goal and they know that the secret to pushing through a plateau is to: focus on the process rather than your progress.” He follows this statement with a specific example that illustrates what he means.

At the “NotAlone” website, there is an excellent essay entitled, “How to live a happy and satisfied Life ,” the author discusses a number of things important to living a happy and satisfied life and then ends the essay saying, “You will not only realize these things, but also begin loving who are more and more, which will not only lead you to achieving the things that make you most happy, but will guide you into a world of many new dreams come true.”


Copyright November, 2009 by And Then Some Publishing L.L.C.


  1. Three out of four doctors state that sucking at the sugar-coated spigot of syrupy succulence will lead to diabetes.

  2. Those same four doctors have just completed a study, and all four, based on a survey of over 1,000 subjects, with a control group of the same number, agree that sucking at the sugar-coated spigot of syrupy succulence will lead to diabetes ONLY if it becomes habitual. To try it just once and never again is all right; however, it should be known that often (like Lay's potato chips) you can't try it just once. Once, too, may be too much especially for the obese challenged.


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