“We need much less than we think we need.”- Maya Angelou.
When you travel to poorer countries, you are immediately struck by the fact that people are happier, even though they have a lot less than you have. When you are constantly seeking to upgrade your life with a better car, new job, or a more modern smartphone, just think you can still be happy with what you have got.
The most toxic thoughts that can really pollute your mind are those that begin with, “I wish I had..’ or ‘If only…”These are useless regrets and speculation which are worse than a gambling addiction. Look around you and remind yourself that some people are happier with less than what you have.
1. Someone has little money but they never have to worry about being exploited
People who are rich have a terrible time in that they worry endlessly about actually losing what they have. They fear being exploited and are always wary of new friends who may regard them as a soft touch. In addition, they never enjoy comfort or convenience because they are obsessed with saving the last penny.
I once got to know one of the richest women in the UK. When she went on holiday, she flew low cost which sometimes meant getting up at 4.a.m. in the morning. She shopped around when buying postcards and could rarely enjoy a holiday without thinking of what it was costing her! The person who is poorly off is often much richer in that they have understood that happiness is not the bottom line in their bank account.
2. Someone is single but they know that happiness does not depend on getting hitched
Many people are convinced that being single automatically means misery and loneliness. They sometimes make mistakes in choosing the wrong partner and end up in unhappy relationships. The person who is single actually has a better chance, statistically, of enjoying better health and also being more socially involved. They have also understood that a partner is no guarantee of finding happiness. They know that their job, interests and friends are the cornerstones in their lives.
3. Someone has problems but knows that this is just a blip on their radar
I grew up in a home where my father constantly told us to “look on the bright side and also to count your blessings.” My mother, on the other hand, was rather pessimistic and would remark gloomily that “the best of the day has gone” while journeying to the seaside. Fortunately, my father’s genes prevailed and I grew up to be optimistic. I know that setbacks are just temporary and that pessimism is escapable as Martin Seligman points out in his excellent book, “Learned Optimism: How To Change Your Mind and Your Life.”
4. Someone never sets goals and is missing out
Some people fall into despair because they can never realize their life ambitions. Failure after failure means that they never set goals to get out of the swamp. They think that life has bestowed on them a horrible fate. They think that luck and destiny have dealt them a lousy hand. They have failed to learn that their attitude and behavior are going to determine their success or failure in life. Setting mini goals and loving what you do can help to get back on track.
“The only way to do great work is to love what you do.” – Steve Jobs
5. Someone is powerless but is self-sufficient
“Earth provides enough to satisfy every man’s need, but not every man’s greed.” – Mahatma Gandhi.
Gandhi had no earthly possessions and indeed seemed bereft of any kind of power, influence, wealth and authority. Yet he was able to show that the people of India could be self-sufficient with the little they had and they did not have to rely on foreign powers for economic survival.
6. Some people rely on simple pleasures to enrich themselves
“If you have a garden and a library, you have everything you need.” – Cicero.
There is no need for fancy holidays or expensive electronic devices. Some people have discovered that the simple pleasures of life, such as a walk in the park at twilight, tending a garden, picking flowers, and reading a good book can be more than enough to enjoy the pleasures of life.
7. Someone gives thanks every day for what they have
We take so much for granted. Steve Taylor has written about how important it is to practice gratitude and appreciation after a long journey through India. There have been countless experiments carried out by psychologists which show that once you start practicing gratitude and counting your blessings, you will have better health and it is the foundation for your well–being. So, you see, my father was right!
Featured photo credit: Kristina H. on content strategy/ Jeffrey Zeldman via flickr.com