Being satisfied is nice, but it can make you lazy...

Dissatisfied? That's good!

Why dissatisfaction is a good feeling.

I will use this space to report regularly on fascinating, interesting and also bizarre topics from the field of people and work. At the same time, I would like to explain the underlying psychological mechanisms. And, of course, I want to give readers some insights or learning. This is work and organisational psychology, it is my profession.

We find ourselves moaning and getting in a bad mood because small things don't work. Sometimes this is a subtle hint that something is wrong in our lives, but sometimes we know very well why we are unhappy. Nevertheless, we don't like the feeling and are quite annoyed when those around us are constantly dissatisfied. However, Mother Nature has somehow given us this condition. What should we do with it now?

First, a little technical classification: in (personality) psychology, a distinction is made between state and trait. Trait is a personality characteristic that does not change significantly over the course of a lifetime. For example, whether someone is more extraverted or introverted. A state, on the other hand, is a condition that may or may not be present. It can sometimes even turn into its complete opposite within minutes or hours.

An example: I can be a basically introverted person (trait), but right now I want to proudly tell the others from my department about our successful project. For this I even go on stage and feel good about it. Of course, this also works the other way round. So I can experience very different states, even those that contradict my general personality.

Back to dissatisfaction: let's do a thought experiment. Imagine that you are happy and satisfied in your life from now on. No nagging, no complaining. Everything is just fine. That would be great, wouldn't it? At least for the next few days, maybe weeks. But then? Everything should stay the way it is because it's great?

It's a land of milk and honey coming straight into our mouths? What would happen then, when we are only full and satisfied? Correct: we become round and stop moving. Even further: we stop developing.

It is a characteristic of the state of "happiness" that we know and chase so much in our lives that this state is fleeting. We cannot be generally and permanently happy. We can only experience this fleeting feeling more often and try to chase it. In order to be able to chase it or even to want to chase it, we have to be able to feel the opposite, namely dissatisfaction with the current situation.

And now at the latest you realise: Dissatisfaction is an important feeling! It is perhaps THE driving force for us humans in general. If we were not dissatisfied with a life situation or a professional/private constellation, we would never want to change or improve it. We only take the risks or burdens of a major change when we are dissatisfied with the previous one and feel we want to change something and are able to do so.

So, the next time you are dissatisfied, smile to yourself, say "Thanks for the advice!" and start thinking about what needs to happen for you to stop being dissatisfied!