“Fortify yourself with contentment, for it is an impregnable fortress.” – Epictetus
Contentment is a state of happiness and satisfaction. If we use them interchangeably, contentment is the act of choosing to be happy and satisfied. It is the art of controlling our situation by controlling the one thing we can, ourselves. By choosing to be content in the situation we are currently in we choose to accept the way things are and that the only changes we can really count on are the ones that start with us.
Contentment is not the same thing as settling. Settling would be us accepting things the way they are and then assuming there is nothing to be done to improve the current situation. Every situation can be improved upon. But in order to make effective and lasting improvements, we need to understand that all of the changes we wish to make, start with us.
What contentment does offer, is protection from the negative effects of failure and rejection. If we are coming from a place where we are already happy and satisfied, then failing at an attempt or having someone respond negatively to a request become less discouraging. If we are content with where we are in life we will be less desperate/nervous in a job interview, applying for a loan, asking a love interest our on a date, or even just attending social events.
Being content oddly enough, is the best first step in making self improvements. It removes the risk.
virtus fortis vocat