Iggy Pop and Anthony Bourdain on contentment vs drive

Wouldn't it be great to be able to choose yourself an honorary uncle or auntie? You'd be able to pop over and hang out and soak in their wisdom and life experience. Get advice, hear stories, ask questions. Learn and laugh, all at the same time.

Two uncles I would have chosen would be Iggy Pop and the recently deceased Anthony Bourdain.

I love these two gentlemen for the lives they have lived, because they seem to have taken life choices less made – and I recently read a great interview with the both of them.

Here it is, if you’re interested: http://www.gq-magazine.co.uk/article/iggy-pop-anthony-bourdain-interview

They’re asking each other about contentment versus drive.

Both are in a place where they no longer need to work for money, and they’re talking about why they keep doing what they’re doing, as opposed to retiring to a sunny locale and “waiting to die.”

Have a read, but contentment vs drive used to be a big personal question for me, and one I now get asked a lot (funny that!)

Contentment and drive are seen to be an either/or thing in our society.

"If I’m content then that means I won’t be able to do the things I want to do, I’ll lose my ‘edge’” …

or …

“If I chase the things I want to do then stress and a lack of contentment will be a necessary by-product …”

But what if … ?

(Again, always the what if!)

But what if both fed each other?

Because they do. Just because everyone lives like they don’t, it doesn’t make it true.

Contentment alone doesn’t make for an enjoyable life. Sure, sitting around on your bottom is great, especially when you’ve been working hard. In fact it makes it all the more enjoyable.

But as a 24/7-365 strategy? Not that exciting.

Drive makes a life exciting. Goals - done the right way - mean you feel alive. People are never happier when they feel like they’re improving and getting somewhere.

However, you need to be totally present and appreciative too with all this – otherwise you get stressed and overwhelmed and pressured and negative and live so far in the future you can’t see anything else. You get discontent when your focus stays on what you don’t have.

In getting anything, you also need to know when to rest, how to switch off the mind.

Furthermore, knowing how to attend to all the aspects of your life, not just one or two, is important – at least to me.

So many people solely focus on work and forget their health and relationships. Or focus on family alone, and not on what makes them alive.

You’ll see it taken to extremes in the (very cool) Netflix doc the Defiant Ones, about Jimmy Iovine and Dr Dre. It’s about these amazing, talented music guys who are genius. It’s not a big part of the documentary, but it’s clear in several bits that they are so focussed on their work they spend a big chunk of their lives tuning everything and everyone else completely out.

Reading Lance Armstrong’s books even before the details of his drugs scandal broke was the same.  It was obvious he would be a nightmare to try and have a relationship with, even just to be around, unless you bought solely into his super-focused and narrow vision of life.

I wonder if that sole dedication, focus and sacrifice is worth it?

Would you pay that price? To be a genius in one sphere of life but have everything else be neglected?

I’m not sure I would. But I’m happy with “good enough,” that idea that balance and good enough everywhere is way better than perfectionism in a small somewhere.

Anyhoo – I’m rambling now. What I’m trying to say is that you can have your cake and eat it too. Drive and contentment, focus and calm, peace and performance can all be yours.

You don’t need to make peace and performance and either/or situation, even if you choose to narrow your focus and be a world champion.


Go well! Arjuna

PS. Do you know what Iggy Pop answered when Anthony Bourdain asked him what thrills him, after a life of adventure?

“Being loved and actually appreciating the people that are giving that to me”, replied Iggy. Awesome.


I called my six-month programme of helping you transform your relationship with your mind and all aspects of your life “200%” because that’s what it gives you.

100% inner contentment, calm, happiness and focus leads to 100% of the rewards of life.

If you’re interested, drop me a line and I’ll let you know all the details.