Listen to Your Divine Discontent Article by: Brian Tracy

We know that the body has a natural bias toward health and energy. It’s designed to last for 100 years with proper care and maintenance. When something goes wrong with any part of our body, we experience it in the form of pain or discomfort of some kind.

We know that when our body is not functioning smoothly and painlessly, something is wrong, and we take action to correct it. We go to a physician; we take pills; we undergo physical therapy, massage, or chiropractic. We know that if we ignore pain or discomfort for any period of time, it could lead to something more serious.

In the same sense, nature also gives us a way to tell what’s right for us and what’s wrong for us in life. Just as nature gives us physical pain to guide us toward doing or not doing things in the physical realm, nature gives us emotional pain to guide us toward doing or not doing things in the emotional or mental realm. The wonderful thing is that you’re constructed so that if you simply listen carefully to yourself — to your mind, your body, and your emotions — and follow the guidance you’re given, you can dramatically enhance the quality of your life.

Just as the natural physical state is health and vitality, the natural emotional state is peace and happiness. Whenever you experience a deviation from peace and happiness, it’s an indication that something is amiss. Something is wrong with what you’re thinking, doing, or saying. You’re an incredibly complex organism, and your feelings of ease and unease, happiness and unhappiness, can be triggered by a myriad of factors. But the bottom line is that your feeling of inner happiness is the best possible indicator of what you should be doing more of and what you should be doing less of.

Unhappiness is to your life as pain is to your body. It’s sent as a messenger to tell you that what you’re doing is wrong for you.

Whenever you feel stressed, anxious, worried, or uneasy about any part of your life, it’s nature’s way of telling you that something is wrong. It’s a message that there’s something that you need to address or deal with. There’s something that you need to do more or less of. There’s something that you need to get into or out of. Very often, you’ll suffer from what has been called “divine discontent.” You’ll feel fidgety and uneasy for a reason or reasons that are unclear to you. You’ll be dissatisfied with the status quo. Sometimes, you’ll be unable to sleep. Sometimes, you’ll be angry or irritable. Very often, you’ll get upset with things that have nothing to do with the real issue. You’ll have a deep inner sense that something isn’t as it should be, and you’ll often feel like a fish on a hook, wriggling and squirming emotionally to get free.

And that is a good thing. Divine discontent always comes before a positive life change. If you were perfectly satisfied, you would never take any action to improve or change your circumstances. Only when you’re dissatisfied for some reason do you have the inner motivation to engage in the outer behaviors that lead you onward and upward.

When something is making you unhappy, for any reason, the situation will tend to get worse rather than better. So avoid the temptation to engage in denial, to pretend that nothing is wrong, to wish and hope and pray that, whatever it is, it will go away and you won’t have to do anything. The fact is that you will ultimately need to face the situation and do something about it.

Einstein once said, you can’t solve a problem on the same level that you meet it. This means that wrestling with a challenge is usually fruitless and frustrating. For example, if two people who are in a relationship together are constantly fighting and negotiating and looking for some way to resolve their difficulties, they’re attempting to solve the problem on the wrong level.

Dealing with the problem on a higher level, those people would ask the question, “In terms of being happy, is this the right relationship for us in the first place?” As soon as you begin to use happiness as your measure of rightness, you begin to see the situation in an entirely different light.

Many people work very hard and experience considerable frustration trying to do a particular job. However, in terms of their own happiness, the right answer might be to do something else, or to do what they’re doing in a different place, or to do it with different people — or all three.

3 Questions to Happiness

Following are three questions for you to answer in regard to happiness and satisfaction. Many people refuse to even consider these questions because they’re afraid that if they do, they won’t like the answers. But nevertheless, have the courage to clearly define your life in your own terms. Here are the questions; write down each at the top of a new sheet of paper, and then write as many answers to each one as you possibly can.

The first question is: “What would it take for me to be perfectly happy?” Write down every single thing that you can imagine would be in your life if you were perfectly happy at this very moment. Write down things such as health, prosperity, loving relationships, inner peace, travel, cars, clothes, homes, money, and so on. Let your mind run freely. Imagine that you have no limitations at all. Write down everything whether or not you think you have the capacity to acquire it or achieve it in the short term. Your first job is always to be clear about what it would take to have your ideal life.

The second question is a little tougher. Write down this question at the top of a page: “In what situations in my life, and with whom, am I not perfectly happy?” Force yourself to think about every part of your day, from morning to night, and write down every element that makes you unhappy or dissatisfied in any way. Remember, proper diagnosis is half the cure. Identifying the problematic situations is the first step to resolving them.

The third question will give you some important guidelines. Write down at the top of a sheet of paper these words: “In looking over my life, where and when have I been the happiest? Where was I, who else was there, and what was I doing?”

Once you have the answers to these questions, think about what you can do, starting immediately, to begin creating this life that you dream of. It may take you a week, a month, or years, but that doesn’t matter. Every single thing you do that moves you closer to your ideal vision will be rewarding in itself.

Use Solitude to Find the Answers

Most people can’t find the solutions to their lives because they’re too busy being busy. They never take the time to listen to their quiet inner voice and the solutions it can prescribe. As Catherine Ponder points out, “Men and women begin to become great when they begin to take time quietly by themselves, when they begin to practice solitude.” Yet, the irony is that most people keep busy doing nothing, such as watching television, that it’s highly unusual for them to deliberately sit and do nothing. So, here are three methods you can use to practice solitude.

  1. To get the full benefit from your periods of solitude, you must sit quietly for at least 30 to 60 minutes at a time. If you haven’t done it before, it will take the first 25 minutes or so for you to stop fidgeting or moving. You’ll almost have to hold yourself physically in your seat. You’ll have an almost irresistible desire to get up and do something. But you must persist.
  2. Solitude requires that you sit quietly, perfectly still, back and head erect, eyes open, without cigarettes, candy, writing materials, music, or any interruptions whatsoever for at least 30 minutes. An hour is better.
  3. Become completely relaxed, and breathe deeply. Just let your mind flow. Don’t deliberately try to think about anything. The harder you “don’t try,” the more powerfully it works. After 20 or 25 minutes, you’ll begin to feel deeply relaxed. You’ll begin to experience a flow of energy coming into your mind and body. You’ll have a tremendous sense of well-being. At this point, you’ll be ready to get the full benefit of these moments of contemplation.

The incredible thing about solitude is that if it is done correctly, it works just about 100 percent of the time. While you’re sitting there, a river of ideas will flow through your mind. You’ll think about countless subjects in an uncontrolled stream of consciousness. Your job is just to relax and listen to your inner voice. At a certain stage during your period of solitude, the answers to the most pressing difficulties facing you will emerge quietly and clearly. You may get several answers in one period of quiet sitting. But in any case, you will usually get the answer to the most important situation facing you every single time.

When you emerge from this period of quiet, you must do exactly what has come to you. It may involve dealing with a personal relationship. It may involve starting something or quitting something. Whatever it is, when you follow the guidance that you received in solitude, it will turn out to be exactly the right thing to do. And it will usually work out far better than you could have imagined.

Trust your divine discontent and the insights you gain from practicing solitude regularly. Take time to listen to your emotions and your feelings as to what makes you happy or unhappy, as to what feels right or wrong. Never compromise on what your inner voice tells you. Develop the habit of listening to divine discontent and acting on the guidance you receive.

Learn more about Brian Tracy and his bestselling program The Psychology of Achievement.