We are pretty lucky. Our lives are filled with abundance and we should be thankful and grateful. We received a pretty lucky historic roll of the dice. Sure, many of us work very hard. We often take advantage of the opportunities that are afforded to us. We define our obstacles and overcome them. But overall, there are so many blessings out of our control; we just need to sit back and be thankful for life and the opportunities presented before us.
We hear a lot more stories about bad stuff happening to good people. We hear about tragedy, sickness, war, conflict, famine (especially on the international scale). We rarely step back and give appreciation to the fact that we are very fortunate people. If you read the Simple Economist, or any other blog for that matter, you are a member of the elite group of people who has received an overabundance of good fortune and luck in life. We have options, we have freedoms, and we have our health (at least enough to enjoy reading on the internet). We are pretty lucky.
Winning the Geographic Lottery
Most of my “work” involved being born into a modern, first world society in the 20th century. The fact that I was born into a gracious family with decent health is simply icing on the cake. I didn’t do anything to deserve a life full of opportunity. I didn’t work harder than anyone else to be born in a land of opportunity. In fact, all of the first world and most of the second world share this commonality. If you are reading this blog, you have already won the lottery. You live in an amazing place, in an amazing time, with so many options and freedoms that are historically unprecedented. It is pretty incredible. There are still many places in the world that people, by no choice of their own, live in fear or without consistent access to the basic necessities. They do not deserve it. We don’t deserve it. We have received what we don’t deserve. It is a wonderfully grateful and humbling feeling.
Sure the modern world has its share of problems, but since you have access to the internet, you have access to more information and opportunity than the world’s elite just a few short years ago. If you have access to clean water, basic sanitation, consistent food and housing, you are already better off than many. The lifestyles we desire to pursue are all predicated on the building blocks of simple things in life we take for granted on a daily basis. Take a moment to step back and appreciate the lottery ticket we were given as we entered this world.
Working With What We’ve Got
Since we have established how fortunate we already are, it is then time to think through all the ways we can combine the assets we have been given, and work. We even live in a place where, for the most part, hard work and opportunity coexist to the point where we have many choices in life. We have different levels of advantage, but we all have the option to define what we want and pursue our personal goals. I personally want to leverage the gifts I have been given to help other people, lead our family, spend quality time with my friends, and learn as much as I can. I still do not comprehend all of the blessings in my life, but I’m certainly grateful for the ones I can easily see.
Surprisingly, we often get frustrated when we see others get what they don’t deserve. When the unethical slacker at work gets the promotion. The cheater gets the “A”. When our peers get raises and we don’t. When our neighbors get what we wanted. Somewhere in our gut, we get a little disappointed. But it is only because our scope is so narrow. If we look at our lives from 30,000 feet we can see the futility of the micro-disappointments in our lives. The expensive, new jacket we received as a gift slightly clashes with the other five new outfits we received. Our amazingly awesome cell phone now seems a little slower when the iPhone 19 comes out. The nagging sense of wanting is often driven by our comparison with others and our own “I deserve it” mentality. Contentment often starts with understanding that we have already been given more than we deserve. We must work with what we have been given- but we have already been given a lot.
This is a season to celebrate gratefulness. To celebrate the joys in life that we do not deserve. To celebrate the freedoms and opportunities we have in life. Take a look around, we have more than we need. As humans, we need far less than we think to be happy. A simple life filled with a little bit of family, a few friends, and caring relationships can bring us joy we often haven’t earned. If you live in a country with religious freedom- the ability to worship a god, deity, or nothing at all is an amazing addition to our lifestyle opportunities. We personally have the opportunities to raise two wonderful, healthy children. We have close family that surrounds us during this season. We have time to spend together and a relaxing home. We have food, water, shelter, people, access to information, and safety. We have been given more than we deserve. Be grateful.