Please Join Us!
When: Friday, February 15 @ 1 p.m. EDT (6 p.m. GMT/11:30 p.m. IST)
Topic: Dissatisfaction: What You Feel vs. What You Say
“All dissatisfaction arises from expectation.”
― Joseph Rain, author and entrepreneur
About This Week’s Chat
Are you satisfied with the quality of your life? How about your work? Does life seem like a breeze, or do you carry the weight of dissatisfaction around with you? And, perhaps most importantly, do you ever express your dissatisfaction?
When I was thinking about the topic for this week’s #MTtalk, I was reminded of a story from Japanese folklore. I first heard it as a child and it’s always stayed with me.
The Story of the Stonecutter
There once lived a stonecutter who had to go and work at the house of the village chief. When he saw the luxury and splendor of the house, he wished that he himself could be the village chief. Magically, the stonecutter suddenly found that he’d become the chief!
The next day, a very important official passed by in an open carriage. Everybody, even the village chief, had to bow before him. “If only I could be an important official,” the stonecutter thought.
Imagine his happiness when the stonecutter found that he had become the official!
While riding in his carriage, the sun beat down on the stonecutter and he wished to be the powerful sun. His wish was granted – the stonecutter became the sun and shone fiercely down on the earth.
One day, as he was shining down on men working in a field, a big storm cloud passed in front of him and he could no longer see the field. “I wish I was a storm cloud,” he thought. And before he knew it, he’d become a storm cloud.
But then he found himself being pushed around by a strong wind. “Oh, if only I could be the wind!” he cried. Once again his wish was granted, and the stonecutter became the wind. He was able to blow many things around, but the strong rocks and stones resisted him. And so, of course, he wished to become a rock.
The stonecutter became a rock and he felt invincible. Until one day, a lowly stonecutter came and chiseled away at the rock. “The stonecutter is more powerful than the rock,” he thought. And he wished to once again become what he had always been: a stonecutter.
Dissatisfaction: Good or Bad?
My father read this story to me and my siblings countless times when we were children. The lesson was never lost on us: the grass is always greener on the other side and dissatisfaction will only send you around in circles.
The story suggests that dissatisfaction is independent of the object of your desire. Even if you attain what you desire, you’ll never shake that feeling of dissatisfaction.
However, I can’t help but feel that there may be a positive side to dissatisfaction. If you feel dissatisfied with your life, that feeling could motivate you to seek out new challenges, learn new skills, or pursue your dream career. It could also motivate you to speak up about things that aren’t going right in your working relationships or in your organization.
Perhaps the healthiest route would be to seek a balance between feeling content and feeling dissatisfied. As with stress, a little can help motivate you, but too much can be damaging.
But even if you want to express your dissatisfaction, it’s not always that simple. Many people struggle to voice their emotions, and many of us try to avoid any form of conflict at all costs, even when a simple conversation with your boss or colleague could fix the problem.
Dissatisfaction: What You Feel vs. What You Say
The topic for our #MTtalk Twitter chat this week is “Dissatisfaction: What You Feel vs. What You Say.”
In our Twitter poll this week, we asked: “Why are you most likely not to voice your dissatisfaction over something serious at work?” Almost 40 percent of participants said that “office politics” was the reason, while only 10 percent said that they kept quiet because they didn’t want to cause trouble. You can find the poll here.
We’d love you to participate in the chat on Friday, and the following questions may spark some thoughts in preparation for it:
• Why do we sometimes hide our dissatisfaction?
• What might be the cost to you of hiding your dissatisfaction (particularly for prolonged periods of time)?
• Is feeling dissatisfied necessarily bad? Why?
• How does it affect you if what you feel and what you say are incongruent?
• What impact does other people’s dissatisfaction have on you, and yours on them?
• How can you voice your dissatisfaction in a way that will be heard?
To help you prepare for the chat, we’ve compiled a list of resources for you to browse. (Please note that some of the resources listed below are only available in full to members of the Mind Tools Club.)
How to Join the Chat
Follow us on Twitter to make sure you don’t miss out on any of the action this Friday! We’ll be tweeting out 10 questions during our hour-long chat.
To participate in the chat, type #MTtalk in the Twitter search function. Then, click on “Latest” or “All Tweets” and you’ll be able to follow the live chat feed. You can join the chat by using the hashtag #MTtalk in your responses.