Have you ever taken a moment to do some reverse thinking? No! I don't mean negative thinking. I mean reverse thinking.
I read an interesting guest post in one of the many blogs I subscribe to and read semi-regularly (because I only have the same 24 hours in a day everyone has). The title of the post was "Imagine Life Without This." The author, Nataly Kogan, is an immigrant from the former Soviet Union, who fled with her family at 13 and lived in refugee camps with little food, comfort or any idea if they had a future. She is now, happily in the U.S. and has a new book coming out on May 1st titled "Happier Now: How to Stop Chasing Perfection and Embrace Everyday Moments (Even the Difficult Ones)."
She makes some excellent points, coming from her own experiences. If you read what most of us write about, somehow it always seems to be how tough our lives are, how deprived we are of certain things we know would make our lives better and happier and how we always seem to want more as soon as we achieve a goal or acquire something new that we want. As soon as the novelty or exhilaration passes, usually within a very short period of time, we want MORE or BETTER.
I'm no different. As I read her article, I was consuming a delicious Asiago cheese bagel, smothered in smoked salmon cream cheese and washing it down with a cup of hot British blend tea. I had just left my eBay watch list where I'm tracking a new digital recorder to add to my "arsenal" of audio and video tools after checking what's available in the small shuttle bus listings (my proposed "someday" upgrade from my current McVansion).
However, this blog article caused me to take pause. I glanced all around me and saw all the projects I have to work on. I glanced out the window at My McVansion parked out front from the small room I'm occupying at a friend's house (my eastern base camp) in WV. I thought about all my friends. I thought about my past life and how "exceptional" it was. I thought about all the fantastic experiences I've had in my life through my professional career. And, I thought about all of you. My goodness even though I've become a minimalist, live a considerably simpler life and live very frugally compared to most of my life - I realized today is Thanksgiving Day - as every day should be.
I suggested you do some reverse thinking. Take a few moments and just think if you didn't have the clothes you have, the food you have, the vehicle you drive, the computer and/or smartphone (or even a basic cell phone) you have, you didn't have any of your friends (a large or small number), you didn't have whatever kind of roof you currently have over your head, etc. What would your life be like? Can you imagine? And, amazingly, people all over the world don't have many of the most basics that we have, even if we're living in what we might consider some degree of lack or poverty . . . and they are happy and joyful for what they do have.
It's okay to want more. It's okay to want better. It's okay to want to improve your living conditions, regardless of what they are currently. But, shouldn't we really be grateful for what we have and where we are? Things could be so much worse and even if they get worse, shouldn't we still appreciate what we do have? I guess it's human nature to take things for granted. But, I believe, like Nataly Kogan, we'd all be much happier if we did a little reverse thinking from time to time and develop a strong Attitude of Gratitude. Aren't we happier now?
Live free and be happy. EH