The other 90%
It seems to me that contentment and gratitude must be first cousins. I am paraphrasing the words of a friend who paraphrased the words from a series of sermons by Dr. Martin Thielen, pastor and best selling author. He based these sermons on the teaching and writings of Paul in Philippians but also incorporated the secular science behind happiness and contentment.
It appears that secular science concludes that about 10% of happiness is due to all the external stuff that we work so hard to achieve, like career success, material wealth, physical appearance. Work your whole life for these things and they impact your happiness, well, NOT much.
Paul wrote, in Philippians 4..."I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation.”
So here is a summary of what contentment looks like based on Biblical passages and secular science:
Contented people know external circumstances don’t determine happiness.
Contented people internalize God’s Grace
Contented people constantly express gratitude.
Contented people nurture close relationships.
Contented people cultivate optimism.
Contented people make faith central in their life.
Contented people use trials as growth opportunities.
Contented people engage in service.