How’s life? Is it good for you? Are you happy with life?
Sometimes it’s difficult to know. You’ll have your good days and your bad days, your up’s and your down’s, but on the whole how would you rate your life? Is it fulfilling? Is it what you want it to be?
Too many people live their lives without actually thinking too much about what they want and expect out of life. They accept their life for what it is and just get on with living.
But, by asking a few simple questions, you can get a Reality Statement for your life, a score that gives you a general picture of your quality of life, of your life satisfaction.
That’s what the Contentment Test is all about – to determine by a simple process how happy you are with your life. The test takes only a couple of minutes to complete, looking at six components of life and asking you to give yourself a quality rating for each. The figures are then tallied up to give you a score out of thirty. This will give you a quantifiably assessment of your life quality.
The test is personal – it’s done by you for you.
The Contentment Test enables you to compare and assess where you are at different stages of your life. It may even allow you to compare your quality of life with others. It allows you to identify those areas of your life that you should work on for improvement. It even allows you to set yourself targets of where you would like to be at a future point in time.
By breaking your life down into different areas you can readily identify any weaknesses or failings. It shows those areas you need to work on, those areas where you can make a significant difference to your quality of life.
Repetition of the test at a later date will also highlight the progress (or lack of it) that you’ve made in improving your satisfaction with life.
To do the test you must give yourself a rating between 0 and 5 for each of the six aspects of life. If you consider yourself to score poorly in a particular area give yourself a score of 0 or 1; if you are strong in an area then this will score a 4 or even a 5. You may, if necessary, use half marks.
The six aspects of life are detailed below with thoughts and questions you should consider when rating yourself.
You may have heard of the expression “being at one with yourself”. This is what this is all about.
In rating yourself you must be honest with yourself. Look at yourself without the make-up and clothes, look at yourself without the public image or act. Look at the real you, at the you that only you can really know and see.
How do you feel about yourself as a person? Do you like yourself? Do you like what you are? Do you like what you do? What, if anything, would you like to change about yourself? Are there aspects of your character that you don’t like? We all have personal flaws – selfish, greedy, ill disciplined, unsympathetic to others, idle, argumentative…there’s plenty of them. What do you have? How badly do you have them? Do they bother you? Do they bother others? Would you feel better without them? If you were picking a new friend, would you choose you? Are you happy with the condition of your health? Does your health affect your quality of life? Do you sometimes say to yourself I wish I could be more confident; I wish I was better looking; I wish I could play the piano; I wish I was a bit fitter; I wish I could lose some weight? Thoughts like these are negatives and must reduce your Personal rating score.
For most people work is what they spend most of their time doing. It’s a major part of their lives. This is why it’s so important to be fulfilled in your employment. Whether you are in paid employment, voluntary work or have domestic and child-raising responsibilities you must consider the level of contentment and satisfaction you get from what you do.
Are you happy in your work, in what you do? Do you get job satisfaction? Does your work offer you the future you seek? Is there some prospect of career progression? Do you enjoy going to work or do you see it as a chore, something that you do because you have to? Do you look forward to going to work? Do you get a buzz from what you do? Is there some other type of work that you would prefer to do? Are you counting the days until your retirement? Are you good at what you do? Is your employer good to you? Is the work taking a physical toll on you? Do you get sufficient holidays from work?
Researchers say that there is an amount of money a person can earn and beyond that any additional amount makes no difference to the level of their personal happiness. Money is not the source of contentment. You can be rich and still not be happy. You can’t buy happiness. However, money does give you access to certain facilities that might not otherwise be available. You can buy holidays, clothes, cars, meals out.
The problems arise when you pursue or aspire to a lifestyle beyond your financial means. You want it but you can’t afford it. It’s what can drive people to crime, debt and dishonesty.
Of course, very few of us can have everything we would like. But it’s important to ask yourself how much of that everything is actually worth having. How much of it would make a difference to your life and happiness?
In assessing your financial well-being don’t base it on your desire to be a millionaire but be realistic in terms of your financial position. At the end of each month are you in surplus or deficit? Are you struggling to fund your lifestyle? Do you have debts? Are you happy with your level of financial earnings? Do you earn enough to support your desired lifestyle? How much difference would earning an extra few thousand make to you?
The family unit is the foundation for our existence within society. It’s important to have close relationships for the support and companionship that they provide. You must think about both family and friends; those that you have a close relationship with and those that you are more distantly related to.
Are you happy with your domestic arrangements? Are you in a strong family unit? Are you happy with the number of children you have? Do you have a good circle of friends? Do you feel alone and isolated? Would you like to have more close friends? What sort of relationship do you have with your friends? Are you comfortable to just pop in and see them when you’re passing? Do you feel that you have to tidy up before they come round? Do you have to lie to your friends or partner? With your partner, do you have common interests? Do you do things together? If you need help, how many friends do you feel that you could call upon? How comfortable would you feel asking for help from them? Are there individuals that you do not have the right relationship with, for instant, a brother that you have little contact with or a daughter that you never talk to?
One of our fundamental, if not our singular, role in life is to reproduce and we do that through sexual activity. That’s why sex is such an important part of our lives. It is an ever-present undercurrent in our human relations. Our level of sexual contentment is a vital component of our overall satisfaction with life.
Are you in a stable sexual relationship? Are you in a sexual relationship that puts a strain on you? Do you have the same sexual desires as your partner? Are you sexually satisfied? Are you frustrated with your level of sexual activity? Do you have unfulfilled sexual fantasies? Would you like to have more sexual partners? Do you have to find your sexual gratification through masturbation, pornography or prostitution? Are you honest with your sexual orientation?
It’s important that life is not a drudgery: work, sleep, nothing; work, sleep, nothing. We should, as far as we can, be living for ourselves and it is during our leisure time that we are free to pursue our own particular interests. Leisure time is our time, to do what we want to do. We must put it to good use.
Are you happy with your leisure time? Do you have enough of it? Do you fill that time with things that you like doing? Do you feel that you waste your free time? What do you want from your leisure time – relaxation, challenge, stimulation, physical activity? Do you have the opportunity to pursue those activities that you want to pursue? Do you feel that you are too easily drawn into mindless, fruitless activities like watching too much television? Do you feel that you could put your leisure time to better use
Assessing your overall score
When you have a score for each of the six aspects of life add them together to get a total out of 30. You can then assess your present life condition.
0-4 Oh dear! Things are bleak. You seem to lack any quality of life. You need to do something about this and you need to act quickly. Otherwise you could easily slip into depression and disillusionment with life. On the positive side, having such a low score means that progress is very achievable. Of course, having said that, change isn’t always easy. You will have to make an effort; you will have to force yourself to improve on your life.
5-11 For you, living is an obligation rather than a satisfying, wonderful experience. You live life because you have to rather than because you want to. That’s not what life should really be like. There’s so much more that you could get out of life. You could do a lot better for yourself. It’s worth the investment, worth the time. You may just need a kick up the backside, something to get you going, something to get you out of the lethargy that you have got yourself into.
12-17 You’re muddling along on the cusp of contentment. Life is okay. You have your problems and concerns but you also have some positive aspects to your life that cancel out those negative feelings. You may, for instant, not be satisfied with your employment but doing what you do gives you the time to pursue your fulfilling leisure interests. There is progress to be made, improvements that you can realise.
18-24 You’re so close to having it all. You just need to do a bit of fine-tuning. But be aware, putting more effort into one area of your life can have negative consequences elsewhere. You must be careful not to lose the good things in life in your quest for that little bit extra.
25-30 Life doesn’t get any better than this. A wonderful, fulfilling experience. Each day is a joy and you are privileged to have such a high level of contentment. But make the most of it. Enjoy it. You should know that there are no guarantees that it will last.
The Contentment Test gives you an idea of where you are at in life. It also allows you to identify the specific areas of your life that you can work on for improvement in your life satisfaction. Your Contentment score will fluctuate. You will not stay on a score indefinitely. Things change, your quality of life changes – sometimes for the better; sometimes for the worse. By being able to pinpoint what is right and what is wrong with life it will enable you to improve on your Contentment. It will help you on your path to a better life.
© Copyright Steve Oxley 2017