Stop With All The Negativity

“Everything is amazing now… and nobody is happy.

“People say there are delays on flights. Delays, really? New York to California in five hours. That used to take 30 years. And a bunch of you would die on the way there, and somebody would have a baby. You’d be a whole different group of people when you got there.” – Louis CK

There’s this great book called The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind, about this boy in Africa who built a windmill to power his house with electricity. At one point when the windmill is up there spinning in the wind, the country is in a drought. The people who weren’t starving to death were only able to eat one meal a day, if they were lucky. And so the uneducated village people point out and attempt to stop suspect number one: the spinning windmill that they thought was blowing the rain clouds away.

Now, think about the last thing that pissed you off. How does it compare to that?

Twitter came up with its own version of what you probably went through this morning: #FirstWorldProblems

First World Problems are the things that we all complain about, but when you actually think about it, you (should) probably feel like a dufus.

  • I got invited to so many parties this weekend that I couldn’t possibly go to all of them.
  • I have 500 channels and nothing is on.
  • I can’t find the remote control to turn my fire on.

I think about this hashtag ten times a day (before I open my mouth). After about a month of altering the perspective and realizing what you have, you start to appreciate it. Try it: the next time you get mad, take a moment to clearly define the issue and ask yourself if it’s really so bad?

People who complain are absurd, because they usually complain about one of two things: The aforementioned first world problems or things they can change.

You control most of the things that upset you. It’s like going to the store in a free market society: You should never be disappointed with a purchase that you make because it is purely your decision to buy whatever it is you are buying. If something costs too much, then don’t buy it. There is never any reason for you to buy something and complain it was overpriced.

Likewise if you don’t like something, don’t do it. It’s really that simple. Don’t use Facebook (which is free and voluntary), and then complain that it’s invading your privacy. You don’t like it? Don’t use it. Problem solved.

Same thing with your job: If you don’t like going to work, don’t stand there and complain. Get the hell out. You’ll be happier and your employer should thank you, because you probably weren’t doing very good work anyway.

Realign your mentality: You’re probably healthy, have enough food to eat, have a roof over your head, have a comfortable place to sleep, and know someone who cares about you. That’s really all you need. Anything beyond that is a bonus.

Admittedly, in today’s first world that’s a pretty low bar to set. So if that’s what you expect, you’ll probably be pretty happy.

“The secret to happiness is low expectations.” – Barry Schwartz


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