“We often take for granted the very things that most deserve our gratitude.”
I was recently with friends who seemed to think that their material goods defined who they are. I worry sometimes that too many people miss happiness because they feel unless they have more than, or at least as much as the other guy, they will not be satisfied with their life.
It seems like many of us have become so materialistic that we have lost contact with what has brought happiness to so many in years past. It has even got to the point where society seems to be focusing on teaching skills that will generate more wealth rather than on skills that allow people to learn how to enjoy life to its fullest.
Some time ago Marc Chernoff wrote a piece that reminded me of how lucky I really am, I know it also applies to you or at least I hope it does. Here are excerpts from his article:
6 Reasons Someone Wishes They Were You
How often do you pause to appreciate your life? How often do you stop dead in your tracks and think, “Goodness, I have it pretty darn good”? Even when life is far from perfect, it’s important to keep things in perspective. Many people in this world wish they had what you have. Here’s why:
- You are educated enough to read this.
If you’re reading this, you have something brilliant to be thankful for. It’s called an education. Believe it or not, there are roughly 774 million people in the world who don’t have this ability. That’s a significant percentage of the human population. Literacy is the bridge that closes the gap between discouragement and confidence, between confusion and understanding, and between sadness and hope. It’s the greatest platform of personal growth, and the means by which every human being can realize their full potential.
- You are reasonably healthy.
In other words, if you got sick today you could recover. Never underestimate the gift of your health. It’s the greatest wealth you will ever own. It’s the foundation for every chance at happiness and success life has to offer. Your body is the only place you will truly ever live.
The secret to good health for both the mind and body is to live in the present moment openly and earnestly, to eat lightly, breathe deeply, exercise daily, cultivate happiness through acceptance, and maintain a general interest in whatever it is you spend the majority of your time doing.
- You have the freedom to choose.
If you often worry about what you’re going to do with your life – your career, your family, the next step, etc., be grateful. All details aside, this means you have ambition, passion, drive, and the freedom to make your own decisions.
In the space between your yes and no, there’s liberation. It’s the difference between the path you walk and the one others want you to walk; it’s the gap between who you could become and who you want to be; it’s the legroom of free choice – a liberty that should never be taken for granted.
- You have enough wealth to live comfortably.
You didn’t go to sleep hungry last night. You awoke this morning with a roof over your head. You had a choice of what clothes to wear. You have access to clean drinking water and electricity. You have plenty to be comfortable. Being wealthy is a mindset. Be sure you understand this. Want less and appreciate more.
- You have a home.
Home isn’t a physical structure, or a specific location on a map. Home is wherever the people you love are, whenever you’re with them – even if your encounter is virtual. It’s not a defined place, but a space in your heart and mind that builds upon itself like little bricks being stacked to create something stable that you take with you for your entire life, wherever you may go.
- You still have a chance.
Time is precious. Everything you know is ending. Not yet, but soon enough. What you must decide is what you want to do with the time you have left. If your lifespan were to expire this evening at the stroke of midnight, would you be at ease with how you have spent your time today? This is not a rhetorical question. Nothing is guaranteed. Someday, like many others are experiencing right this second, your time will expire. Don’t be afraid. Be alive in this moment and make the most of it.
Appreciate again and again, freshly and naively, the basic goods of life, with awe, pleasure, wonder and even ecstasy, however stale these experiences may have become to others.
Linda was driving her old beat up car on the Highway with her 7 year old son. She tried to keep up with traffic but they were flying by her. After getting caught in a large group of cars flying down the road, she looked at her speedometer to see she was doing 15 miles over the speed limit. Slowing down, she moved over to the side and got out of the clump that soon left her behind.
Linda looked up and saw the flashing lights of a police car. She waited for the officer to come up to her car. As he did he said, “Ma’am do you know why I pulled you over?”
Her son piped up from the back seat, “I do… because you couldn’t catch the other cars!”
Grass grows in direct proportion to your unwillingness to mow it.
A lady in New York had a beautiful black cat, named Felix, who spent his days outside and came indoors at night. One cool October evening, he disappeared. The neighbor searched for him in vain for several days. The following spring, however, Felix reappeared, looking healthy and clean. She figured he’s been out sowing his wild oats. Everything was back to normal until that autumn, when Felix disappeared again. The next spring, he returned. Perplexed, my aunt’s friend began asking neighbors for clues. Finally, she rang the bell of an older couple who lived down the street.
“A black cat?” the woman said. “Oh, yes! My husband and I hated to see him out in the cold, so we bought a cat carrier. We take him to Florida with us every winter.”
Support a Lawyer – Become a Doctor
An elderly Italian Jew wanted to unburden his guilty conscience by talking to his Rabbi. “Rabbi, during World War II, when the Germans entered Italy, I pretended to be a Catholic and changed my name from Levy to Spumoni, and I am alive today because of it.”
“Self preservation is allowable, and the fact that you never forgot that you were a Jew is admirable,” said the Rabbi.
“Rabbi, during the war, a beautiful Jewish woman knocked on my door and asked me to hide her from the Germans. I hid her in my attic, and they never found her.”
“That was a wonderful thing you did, and you have no need to feel guilty.”
“It’s worse, Rabbi. I was weak and told her she must repay me with sexual favors, which she did, repeatedly.”
“You were both in great danger and would have suffered terribly if the Germans had found her. There is a favorable balance between good and evil, and you will be judged kindly. Give up your feelings of guilt.”
“Thank you, Rabbi. That’s a great load off my mind. But I have one more question.”
“And what is that?”
“Should I tell her the war is over?”
Pause to appreciate the beauty around you. Whether rainbow or butterfly, mountain or tree, painting or poem – whether crafted by nature or by a human hand – beauty adds a magical element to life that surpasses logic and science.
Jonathan Lockwood Huie
Stay well, do good work, and have fun.
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