The Art of Contentment

August 24 , 2019
By Eden Sahle ( Eden Sahle is founder and CEO of Yada Technology Plc. She has studied law with a focus on international economic law. She can be reached at )

Our pampered human culture today is obsessively focused on material accumulation and fake egotistical life. We are surrounded by people of all ages who strain to appear smarter, happier, wealthier and be better than the rest.

People lose their sanity and happiness trying to fit into something they believe will make them more accepted and admired. Most have stopped real living by being too busy trying to impress others at any cost. But when we stop and really think about an authentic life, all the fake, material-centred stuff is fixating us on what is not actual. It leads us to petty competitions that lead to nothing relevant or edifying.

I know a couple who got married ten years ago in a lavish wedding. By any material measurement, they should be the happiest couple. They are wealthy and have known each other for years. They update their social media with endless happy pictures from vacation moments around the globe. It seemed like they had a perfect life. Who could have thought that a couple who has everything could be unhappy and even hate each other only a few years after the wedding?

They seem to be beside themselves in love for anyone who looks into their social media. Who could have guessed they were pretending just to impress others?

They shut down the opportunity for help, because they chose to act like they had it all together. Their recent announcement that they have decided to divorce came as a total shock for everyone who knows them. It was hard to make sense out of their unhappiness because of their full material life. They dropped a bombshell, confessing their years of agony pretending to be something they were not.

People spend so much of their valuable time living a fake life. Then they pursue money and spend so much to receive affirmation from others. Most are convinced their value comes from the cash they possess. The more money they have, the more followers they have, they feel loved and important. They find the lack of those things depressing.

Ironically, this fixation on having more material things and appearing to seem happy reminds us over and over again of what we should not be doing with our lives. After all, no one who has a great purpose in one’s own life feels the need to pretend and strive hard to look more important than others. Material induced living up to people’s expectations is unconsciously reinforcing a confusing double life to many.

The world wants us to believe that the key to a great and fulfilling life is a high-paying job, living in a well-structured pile of bricks and stashing away more money. It tries to convince us the path to a better life is owning more material. Although there is nothing wrong with having this, the obsession of it will, unfortunately, cause us to be committed to the superficial chasing of an illusion of fake contentment.

People deceive themselves over resources becoming victims of their own immaturity. Indeed, life crisis is never about material or money but lack of love and spirituality. Many have so much stuff and so many opportunities that they do not know what to do with it.

Life is not about figuring out how to measure up. But it’s about loving and sharing abundantly. It’s about realising our limitations and the need for support from others. When we pursue love and supporting one another, our lives will change for the best. We realize how we should not obsess so much over material things. Life is more about having people to love and be there for.

Material things have little lasting impact on our lives, but love and compassion do. At least I know people who lived and proved this reality.

Last week I came across a ninety-one-year-old woman who survived an attempted suicide and was recovering in one of the public hospitals. She no longer wants to live without her husband who passed away last year. She was married to her late husband for over half a century. They had six children together. They are both uneducated and had a life in Addis Abeba that can be described as below the poverty line.

They lived in a tiny two-room house and struggled throughout their lives to have ends meet. They should have been the most miserable people, and yet they were happy. They should have been resentful about life, but they cherished and loved each other to the point of being unable to live without each other. Although I was shocked by the fact that she tried to end her life, I was inspired by her love story. It touched me deeply.

The art of contentment is creating happiness in what we have. When we love and support others, our lives will change for the better. We realise how we should not obsess so much over materials. Life is just about having people to love and be there for.

PUBLISHED ON Aug 24,2019 [ VOL 20 , NO 1008]

Eden Sahle is founder and CEO of Yada Technology Plc. She has studied law with a focus on international economic law. She can be reached at

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