How to be Content in the Mundane

By Anel Conradie

May 16, 2017

Mundane:  ordinary, routine, commonplace, everyday, day-to-day

These are just a few of the words which describe most people’s existence.  Sad…but true.  However, I want to challenge the very way you have come to think of your life.  If one of these words describes the essence of your existence, it’s time to reflect.  Have you given up on being extraordinary?  Have you given up the search to find that which brings content in your mundane existence?

Many of us never seem to find the quiet, inner peace we chase after throughout the course of




I often wonder what we are really chasing after?  We all seem to just keep on chasing forward, stumbling over our own feet, on our way to a destination we have forgotten.  So, what does this mean in essence?

We are headed nowhere, quickly; hoping that we will find authentic, inner peace and content.

I don’t want to sound like a naysayer, but I do want to challenge your way of living:

  • Are you intentionally living your life?
  • Making every moment count?
  • Adding value to the lives of others around you?
  • What are you chasing after?
  • What do you plan to accomplish at the end of your DAY? – Not at only at the end of your LIFE….

Cause see, all we really do have is today….  What we do today, what we say, what we invest our time and money into, that is what will have an effect on tomorrow.  Sure, you have to make long-term investments, but you can’t wait for “one day” to figure it all out.  You have to start today.  You have to live intentionally NOW, within the ordinary, so that one day will work out as you want it to.

And living intentionally is the complete opposite of living an ordinary, mundane life.  See, you can feel like you are trapped in the routine of every day, and I was for three and a half years (and there definitely is a place for that), but the challenge is to still go into every day with intent and purpose.

I’m not suggesting that it is very easy, on the contrary.  I think it was the hardest thing I have had to do – to be intentional within the routine I felt stuck in.  So, how do we find content and peace within the mundane routine of our everyday?

It all starts with choosing to be content.

It seems like the easiest thing to say:  “Just choose to be content.  It’s not that hard.”  It’s the most difficult thing to, earnestly, commit to…

When everything inside you screams to get out of a rut; when you feel like you could burst with frustration at the way things are, at the same routine of every day, choosing to be content is the last thing you want to do.  You feel like running away, going to a new city or country, moving, quitting your job – anything but just meekly accepting your fate and being content

Now, I do want to add that this might also have something to do with one’s personality, although I think that everyone might feel this sense of frustration at one time or another during their lives.

So, how do you choose to be content?

You just get up every morning and make a mental decision to accept where you are in your life AND to celebrate it!!


  • look for one thing in every day that you are thankful for;
  • find one thing that makes you happy (even if it is the tree outside your office window); and
  • SMILE (even if it is forced in the beginning, it will come naturally after a few days.)

And there it is.  In these three very easy, very doable steps, you will be able to find contentment in your ordinary, day-to-day tasks.

Anel Conradie



Anel is a freelance writer, editor, and proofreader.  With a background in teaching English literature and language she now pursues her own writing career.  She is an Alumna of Stellenbosch University, in Cape Town.

Growing up in Namibia, Anel has a deep appreciation of the vastness of nature which echoes the vastness of humanity.  “I love to write about the complexity of our humanity and that which forms our very core identity.”

Anel has been married for 7 years and has one daughter.  The journey of being a wife and a mom has also inspired her to write about, and share, her own experiences.  She is currently working on her first book:  “10 Lies we believe about marriage.”

Visit her blog or follow her on social media.



Published posts on Two Drops of Ink:

1) Breath Through Pain

Two Drops of Ink: The Literary Home for Collaborative Writing

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  1. Great post!!! I was just taking inventory of my life the other day. I tend to do it quite often and noticed a few changes I wish to make. Your post really hit home with me and is extremely motivational and informative. You have shown me that I can be content without fear of becoming stagnant in life. Thanks again!!!

  2. Hi, Anel. Your piece is interesting, informative, practical, and speaks in real time. It highlights life details that often elude those who seek answers about content and contentment.

    Discontentment about handling the mundane, yet absolute necessities of life, is but one more stone in the barrier that prevents positive progress towards self fulfillment.

    Although many daily living essentials are routine and ordinary, proficiently fulfilling them is in itself a positive. They needn’t be roadblocks! Once completed, they are history – remainder of the day is open for personal pursuits.

    You list numerous excellent points for attainment of a satisfactory personal life. All should be taken seriously by those who seek peace, satisfaction, and a personal definition of success.

    Wishing you success with your first book!

    • Thank you so much. You summarize it so well in saying:
      “Although many daily living essentials are routine and ordinary, proficiently fulfilling them is in itself a positive.”

      As for my first book, I have so many ideas that the one book has now perspired into 2 🙂 Trying to streamline my thoughts and focusing on just one topic at a time!

      Thanks for your feedback.

  3. Anel,
    Cancer taught me this lesson. I had always said, “I will write a book when my kids are grown.” Or ” I will do such and such when I retire.” When I got cancer it stopped me and made me think…what if I don’t live till my kids are grown? What if I don’t make it to retirement? The only day we have is today…mundane or not. So intentional choice is critical to living fully. No hesitation…do it now, because now is all you have. Be mundane if you want…or choose differently. Then be content, knowing you made the best choice you could. Rest in that. Thanks for this reminder!

    • Wow Michelle

      Thank you for sharing so honestly out of your own life. I can just imagine what a difficult “stop” that had to be. May you continue to joyfully live in the intentional choices you make each day.


  4. “You have to live intentionally NOW (within the ordinary) so that one day will work out as you want it to.” Wow! I couldn’t ageee more Anel.
    I believe that intentional, purposeful things done in line with who we are at our core propel us forward and make us feel most fully alive!
    Thanks for this – straight up truth. 🙂

    • Thank you so much!
      Yes, I really do believe that our lives are too short to just simply drift through it. And I love the advice that Michael Hyatt gives on this: “If it’s scheduled, it gets done.” I’m trying to schedule the things that are important and which makes a difference in the lives of others and myself – things that have eternal value.

  5. Hi Anel, one of the many things I am thankful for today is this post you wrote. I absolutely agree with you on intentional effort. I try hard to put my best attitude in the present moment of my existence. What has taught me my personal life lessons are the many rejections I have endured. My attitude was not about being sad, but happy. I figured rejection was necessary to clear the space for my success. When I focused that way I became excited knowing something better is right around the corner. Therefore, I smiled. Thank you for sharing! John.

    • Wow John! What a great attitude. I love what you said: “rejection was necessary to clear the space for my success.” I might use that phrase one day (will definitely quote you 🙂 )
      May you find that “something better” this week!

  6. Every person on this planet lives an ordinary, routine life at some point of their existence, even the entrepreneur or billionaire. Often success is seen as the person who achieves fame or great success through business. That definition is short sighted. I think we need to look at success in other ways.

    An old man I met when I was young, was married 57 years, when his wife died. Isn’t that a success? I believe so. We are all successful, the question is what at? For some that is being a drunk. The majority of us have more of a plan, even if that is simply surviving tomorrow at work. To my way of thinking success is about intentionally living your plan. Thanks for this wonderful piece.

    • Thank you for sharing that example. It is amazing.
      Intentionally living your plan, will definitely lead to success. 🙂

  7. Anel. Great piece and Amen! The things we were taught or led to believe to be the simplest are the hardest of all: Loving someone, being content with what we have, being happy with our life when Facebook tells us otherwise, focusing on our own goals instead of getting sidetracked with other peoples’ goals, walking in faith … I love your three steps – I have a thankfulness journal and I try to write in it every day … some days have only one entry! LOL! … and smiling is indeed a choice – if we smile we tell our brain what to think – Can’t wait to read 10 Lies! absolutely needed book!

    • Thank you so much 🙂

      I completely agree with you. Being content with our lives right now sometimes seems so hard. We always strive for what it should be or could be in the future (not that, that is wrong, we just have to find the balance).

      Let me know what you think about 10 Lies 🙂

  8. Hi, Anel. I’ve always confused Happy the dwarf and the feeling, so early in my recovery I decided that content would be something I could aspire to and see if everyday didn’t have one moment or even an hour, where I was simply present and content. I like your three part recommendations. My grandmother always said it took more energy to frown and that our energy could be put to better use, like a smile. Sage advice then, and you reinforce that message well. Thank you.

    • Thank you Marilyn.

      Yes, I really do believe that a smile makes you stop, be in the moment, and appreciate what you have – right now. 🙂

    • I have fluxuated from content to anxious my entire life. When I started feeling down about what I wasn’t doing, I started looking for what I could do to change. Then I got frustrated with not being able to make enough change happen. Finally, I realized something you’ve hit on here in this post. The word ‘intentional’. It gets used a lot these days, but it’s true. If you learn to be at peace with where you are, but remain intentional about other opportunities for change, you will be ready for them when they come. And they will.

      • Yes!

        I couldn’t agree with you more.

        We absolutely have to be intentional with everything we do. In that way we create, and live, a purposeful life – and leave an extraordinary legacy 🙂

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