By C. Fredrick Crum

I recently heard a quote from Rick Warren, author of “The Purpose Driven Life.” The quote goes as follows: “If you don’t learn contentment, you’ll never be happy. You’ll always want more.”

Needless to say Rick Warren’s quote caused me to shout, “You are wrong, you are dead wrong!” I think my wife’s ears are still blistered from my rebuke of his quote.

I have never been accused of being content. My wife, colleagues and friends always say, “You are never satisfied.” My response is, “You’re right, I am never satisfied or content.” I always strive to continue to push myself and others to reach new heights.

In my world, you are either in a state of improvement or a state of decline. There is no plateau. There is no contentment. There is no “we have finally made it.” While others are busy being content, the rest of us are happily working to pass them by.

Happiness is determined by growth, success and movement in a positive direction, not contentment with the status quo.

I agree with Jim Collins, author of “Good to Great.” Collins states “good is the enemy of great.” Contentment is even worse. Contentment is not only the foe of greatness; the status quo is actually movement in a negative direction. If you are content with the status quo of your organization, products or services — even your personal life — you will soon become irrelevant, obsolete or possibly extinct.

By nature we are all born to compete. If we did not have that inborn trait, our species would have become extinct a long time ago. We competed for food, shelter, warmth, protection and love. In fact, we still do.

Remember these companies? American Motors, TWA, Standard Oil, Zenith, Kodak, Woolworths, General Foods. What happened to these once-great companies? I believe it was contentment. They chose to be content. They chose to no longer grow or compete. They quit struggling to improve. They chose to willfully drop out.

Contentment is an attitude, and attitudes are not detailed as a line item in any budget. But contentment is always reflected in the bottom line.


C. Fredrick Crum is the president and founder of Effective Leadership Now.Org. He has spent more than 30 years working with leaders and leadership teams to improve their performance.


abeo Management Corporation (abeo) serves as a leading source of revenue cycle management and practice management with a specialization in anesthesia. The company leverages its people, processes, and software to serve independent practices, surgery centers, hospitals and healthcare systems with a scope of services that include billing, coding, transcription, practice management, and business consulting.

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