Desire is the design flaw.
Progress is unlikely (at best) without desire. Without progress there wouldn’t be air conditioning, laptops, or espresso. That would mean no relief from heat, no computer to carry along with me wherever I go, and never having one of my favorite things.
Conclusion? Clever quips should not be lived by. Being glib is not the same as being succinct. Life is forever more complicated than that five word phrase…
Desire is the design flaw.
When I read chapter 37 of Eat, Pray, Love; I couldn’t resist holding onto that phrase. Without giving it much thought, I accepted it as a truth. Then, I began to write about it.
Words began to flow easy after I checked into Lowell Inn, where I was staying during a retreat in Stillwater, Minnesota. Before checking in, I’d spent a few hours strolling in and out of shops in Stillwater’s Historic Boutique District on Main Street. If you’re looking for a destination to shop at that does not involve malls, or chain stores, go to Stillwater. It’s a charming river town with hundreds of shops.
In response to the prompt I’d selected from Chapter 37, I began writing about wanting material items:
It was a little hard to resist purchasing this serving set by Mud Pie while at Forget Me Not.
There were so many things to love in that store. If you’re ever in Stillwater, I recommend stopping in there.
Material desire is easy for me to let go. I enjoy looking at merchandise and admiring it. Putting material items onto a someday list doesn’t cause me to lose my sense of contentment.
Then, I mulled over contentment and desire.
Why is desire considered the design flaw? According to Elizabeth Gilbert, It contributes to our “heartbreaking inability to sustain contentment.”
If the goal of living is cultivating pure contentment, then desire is the design flaw.
According to Oscar Wilde, “Discontent is the first step in the progress of a man or a nation.”
Contentment is good. It reduces stress and keeps us from behaving like entitled brats. Desire is good too. It disrupts our contentment. Without it, what would we accomplish?
What do you think about it?
Perspective to the Rescue
Desire and contentment absent perspective is the design flaw. I think that’s more accurate. Sometimes we all lose perspective, or look at things from a lousy, flawed one. With a good perspective, we can be content without possessing what we want and harness desire to improve our condition.
- I want to lose ten pounds, yet I do not berate myself when I look in the mirror and I am grateful for my health. Each day I try to make the choices that will get me where I most desire to be.
- I want to be financially independent, yet I am grateful for my good fortune. I have a nice home to live in, a safe car to drive, and plenty of healthy food to eat. Each day I write, working toward achieving those financial goals.
- I want to be better at all kinds of things, yet I am grateful for all that I can do and the many ways there are to learn how to be better at what I want to improve at.
Desire. Perspective. Contentment.
What about you? How do you put contentment and desire to work for you? I’d love to now! You can connect with me on Instagram @40FitNStylish, on Twitter @MelissaMcNallan, and on Facebook @40FitNStylish.
This post is part of a series inspired by Eat Pray Love.