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A little gratitude might be in order

Improving Systems and Habits

Scott Miker is the author of several books that describe how to use systems and habits to improve.  This free blog provides articles that to help understand the principles related to building systems.  

A little gratitude might be in order

Scott Miker

How many times in life do you stop and realize the incredible alignment of events had to occur to get you to where you are currently?  Do you see the sacrifice others have made so that you can be here, right now?

Most of us sit around in a world of excess complaining about the lack of more.  We get too caught up in what someone else has that we don’t.  We don’t see that we have exponentially more than most. 

When I was younger, I took everything for granted.  I didn’t see the sacrifice of others.  I didn’t realize just how lucky I was to be in the situations that I was.

In 12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos, author Jordan B. Peterson says, “If you’re reading this book, there’s a strong probability that you’re a privileged person.  You can read.  You have time to read.  You’re perched high in the clouds.  It took untold generations to get you where you are.  A little gratitude might be in order.”

Did you read that first line and think, “that isn’t me, I’m not privileged?”  I did.  Then I read more and thought, “ok maybe I am.”

The reality is that I am incredibly privileged and you probably are too.  We live in a world where we can have air conditioning, cell phones, plenty of food to eat, family and friends and still feel that we are missing something. 

Instead we should shift to constantly searching for ways that we can be grateful.  This will help us realize the incredible gifts that we have been given.  We will recognize the hard work our parents and our parent’s parents, and our parent’s parent’s parents made to slowly build up the ability to live a life as privileged as we have.

We could have been born in a worse situation.  Instead of taking it for granted and feeling entitled to it, we should try to appreciate it and be grateful for it. 

Even if we feel our ancestors did nothing worthwhile for us, we should see that many great people who came before us made incredible sacrifices to build an environment for us to thrive. 

But we don’t do this.  Instead we find every reason to complain about what we don’t have instead of appreciating what we do have.   

Life isn’t about what you don’t have.  Life is about having everything that you need but still being willing to keep working to improve.  This is the basis of becoming content but not complacent.  We learn to be happy.  We learn that we don’t NEED anything more in life.  Then we work like crazy to be even better.  Not because we need to fill some hole in us, but because it is how we truly show appreciation and gratitude.