In 1965, Keith Richards woke up and found out he recorded a riff for a song while sleeping. The song he wrote in a deep state of delta waves was none other than “Satisfaction,” the Stones’ second biggest hit that still spins (digitally) on rotation daily around the globe. 

Not to undermine Mick for his lyrics or Keith’s unconscious (literally) stupor of studio genius, but satisfaction is not the goal and is in fact the demise of dreams and innovation.

Dissatisfaction, while often looked at through a filter as being seen as selfish, is the spark of innovation and technological evolution. 

When you were a kid, at some point some well-meaning adult probably gave you a speech about how you should be satisfied with what you get, am I right?

Most of us were made to feel guilty about what a spoiled brat we were for wanting something more, something better.

This guilt-riddled speech typically came from a grandmother or parent and included tales of walking uphill, both ways, in the snow while killing grizzly bears and sabertooth tigers with a #2 pencil and a shoestring just to get to school everyday.

While their intentions in all of this were loving and well meant, the message and teaching is crap!

What they should have been saying and teaching is that we should be grateful for what we have while we’re dissatisfied.

Dissatisfaction is not a bad word and it’s not an evil state.

Dissatisfaction is the driver of mankind and the reason why so many of us are alive today.

Dissatisfaction is what got the Wright Brothers to crack the code of aviation.

Dissatisfaction brought us things like indoor plumbing, the lightbulb, and every appliance in the kitchen.

Dissatisfaction brought us television, chocolate chip cookies, and Post It Notes.

Every breakthrough in the science lab, medical field, music studio, and kitchen (chocolate covered bacon!) came from someone being dissatisfied with circumstances and options available. They wanted to create better options, sometimes for luxury, sometimes for efficiency, and sometimes to literally save lives. 

When you find yourself in a state of dissatisfaction, rejoice because it means you’re still alive and you’re recognizing that something could be better, or that you could be better if your dissatisfaction is in the results you’re getting in your life. 

The only time dissatisfaction is a true negative is when we use excuses and only whine about our dissatisfaction, without doing anything about it.

Dissatisfaction is often a guide to our life’s purpose and pathway to success.

Now, I’m not saying it’s your job to get up and go to work fixing everything you’re dissatisfied about in your life  (at least not all in one shot) but I am saying to use it as a guide to find joy and happiness in your life.

If you’re not satisfied with your job, take a deeper look and figure out if it’s the company, the management, your position, your tasks, or just the dress-code.

If you’re not satisfied with your level of fitness, identify whether it’s a matter of diet, exercise, or accumulated mental and emotional baggage and stress stored in the body.

If you’re not satisfied with your relationship, become aware of the issues and decide whether this is a growth opportunity for you and your partner, or a matter of being incompatible and simply not bringing the best out in each other.

I’ve had many clients say they feel lost because they don’t know what they want to do in life. They’ve spent so much of their life trying to gain approval from someone else, whether it be a parent, spouse, friends, whomever, that they never stopped to really think about what would make them happy.

I tell them, “if you don’t know what you want, think of what you don’t want and while looking at it turn around and see what the opposite is. Therein lies a clue.”

It’s very much the same thing here.

If you’re dissatisfied with something, you can use that as a compass or a guide to possibly find your big “aha” moment that can lead to a major breakthrough in your life.

It can bring you a new relationship or better health. A new career. A new car. Anything is possible.

Fred Smith wasn’t satisfied with package delivery so he created Fedex and is now one of the richest men in the nation. 

A client of mine told me a story today about a 20-year-old he knows who was so dissatisfied with the options and path he was being ushered to take in life via college and grad school that he applied himself so he could finish high school early and took the money from his college fund to study real estate and now owns seven rental properties and flips several houses a year, and is set to be a millionaire by his 21st birthday. He would’ve already been a millionaire but he wanted to retire his parents first.

The state of satisfaction can be a soul-crushing journey that leads us to lie on our deathbed in a room full of our regrets and sorrows.

Quick, before it’s too late, take a look at your life and what bothers you, what upsets you, what brings you disappointment every time you think of it.

Now dig through that list and look for patterns and connections. Dig in and find what is that thing that you can change that will have the biggest impact on your life.

Ask yourself, “what’s the thing I will regret the most leaving undone?” “when I die, what would I be delighted to have done?”

You don’t have to live a mediocre life.

You don’t have to live a life of Cheetos and Netflix.

You don’t have to live under the thumb of trauma, obesity, shyness, fears, or any other such limitations.

You can live free of all of these and it’s much simpler than you’ve been led to believe.

Watch the full episode on Dissatisfaction from our Root Cause for Success Podcast below:

The Root Cause of Success Podcast – Episode 4: Dissatisfaction is Actually a Good Thing!

Mick Jagger and the Stones were right – you can’t get no satisfaction and nor should you. Listen to this week’s episode where we talk about how dissatisfaction can, and HAS, actually lead to great success.