Everyone has their own strategies for attaining a contented and happy life. Some seem to be better at it than others, but we all find avenues of interest to invest our time, energy and resources in. A Chinese proverb says, “To the contented, even poverty is joy. To the discontented, even wealth is a vexation.”

Everyone has their own strategies for attaining a contented and happy life. Some seem to be better at it than others, but we all find avenues of interest to invest our time, energy and resources in. A Chinese proverb says, “To the contented, even poverty is joy. To the discontented, even wealth is a vexation.”
We can find natural examples of contentment by looking around us. For example, the deer mouse is comfortable in just about any location. It may set up house in an abandoned squirrel’s nest inside a tree, in an old bird’s nest on the outside of a tree, under old stumps and logs, or in stone walls, cliffs, caves or buildings. Such a versatile critter will be able to withstand the many ups and downs of life in the wild. Other species have a much narrower range of needs which can lead them along the path toward extinction in extreme cases.
Another form of natural contentment comes in the diets of some creatures. The redwing blackbird, one of the most abundant birds across North America, owes some of its success to its ability to use what’s available for sustenance. Eating mainly insects in the summer, it doesn’t let winter’s lack bring it down. In fact, seeds can make up a large portion of its yearly diet. I think these birds might agree with St. Paul, “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, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.”
Here at the hatchery, we take pride in our unequaled quality spring water for raising our fish. But some fish are able to survive and even thrive when the conditions would chase away other types. One such fish that makes do with wherever they find themselves are the armored catfish. The warm waters that these fish thrive in do not hold as much oxygen, so sometimes they gulp at the surface to supplement its intake. Scientists have also discovered its can-do nature helps it withstand harmful levels of hydrogen sulfide as well as acidity. Imagine what it would do here in Neosho!
May we all learn to be content in life, while finding the balance to improve ourselves and our circumstances. Money, as a goal, can never satisfy. As Alfred Nobel noted, “Contentment is the only real wealth.” Living wisely with what we have, loving and caring for those around us, and maintaining a sense of wonder will take us far. Let us not strive so hard to succeed that we miss what is important. “We may pass violets looking for roses. We may pass contentment looking for victory,” Bernard Williams.
Like the mouse, blackbird and catfish, here’s to a satisfied life.