In the days of yore, land was the only resource available for man to have a say in the material aspects of life, and as for the land-less, neither ambition nor resentment was of any avail to get even in the universality of inequality. What is worse, as envy and caprice only make it worse, the wise among the have-nots learned to cultivate contentment in their minds to mend their resource-less lives, and even the less resourceful ones, relatively speaking that is. Thus emerged the old adage - contentment is the finest thing in the world - to lend peace of mind to the lacking millions by way of a stoical philosophy. Nonetheless, one’s reconciliation with the deprivations that contentment entails serves so much and no more for it fails to enable him or her to feel fulfilled, which is the essence of equitable living.
However, the advancement of the world that enlarged the frontiers of livelihood began to afford material opportunities to the land-less lot, and that came to alter the grammar of living, written with the alphabets of ambition. In time, as success became the key word of life and contentment the anathema to ambition, man truly set himself on the rat race on the material course to his mental detriment. Be that as it may, man need not feel damned, so it seems, for he could redeem himself through the concept of contribution he himself had evolved that is by shifting the gear from the sense of success.
It may be appreciated that each one in every station of life is integral to its inherent mechanism with assorted functions, all vital to its material functioning. Just like the price of the machinery components vary, the mechanism of life entails variable rewards to the individual contributors akin to the landed and the land-less inequity. Well, but it’s not back to the square one, if only one’s sense of contribution becomes the source of his or her fulfillment. Say, a server in a hotel, if only he senses his service at the tables as a contribution to the society at large, notwithstanding his modest earnings, still the quality of his fulfillment could be immeasurable. Thus, expanding on Peter Drucker’s ‘a first-rate truck driver is better than a tenth-rate executive’ we can say that the former could feel fulfilled on account of his sense of contribution, which would be beyond the grasp of the latter despite his material overreach.
So, that is how the sense of contribution is the source of fulfillment in life that mere contentment cannot bring about.