“I cursed the fact that I had no shoes until I met a man who has no feet” – Persian proverb.
Often, we look at what we do not have and be disappointed by it. It is a natural human instinct to want more, to dream bigger and crave deeper. It’s when you know there’s something bigger out there, where you demand for more. That’s good, it drives people, pushes people out of their comfort zone and helps people achieve more than they thought they could.
But then, what happens when we cannot get what we want? What goes through our head when it’s unattainable? We become miserable. And you know what? According to Newton’s law of inertia, whatever is in motion stays in motion. Misery will attract more misery and you’ll end up being alone with 10 cats in your tiny apartment. Here’s a short story I’d like to share.
My friends and I were in Shenzhen’s Children Palace. We sat at the highest point (as usual) and we looked down at the kids. Those kids were running around and playing with each other. Their parents and even grandparents were chasing after them, feeding them, playing with them. The smiles on their faces were genuine and they’re contented with life. “They’re so happy. Why are the kids in Hong Kong are not as happy as them?” Juong asked. In fact, the kids in Hong Kong have MORE than these kids in China. Donned in Burberry top and Ralph Lauren bottom, paired with Gucci shoes, the city kids of Hong Kong walk down the road with iPhones in their hands. But they are not happy.
We then began a short discussion about happiness. We felt that the kids in Hong Kong had too many opportunities. They knew what was out there. They knew what they did not have. They knew what they wanted. I guess it goes the same to all metropolitan cities with a very globalized infrastructure. The latest Louis Vuitton items on the first page of the magazine, the new Bugatti concept in headlines in the Internet and you realize how many things you wish to own, how many places you wish to go and how many cultures you wish to embrace. You realize you’re inadequate. When you have no power (i.e. money, time, energy) to get those things you wish to get, you become unhappy.
You see, these children running around and embracing their childhood are just like the kids in any big cities. They are young, curious and know that everything is possible. The only difference is that the kids in smaller towns are contented with what they have. They either do not know what’s out there or are just happy with what they have. When you are contented with what you have, you’re happy.
Then again, I’m not saying stay contented. Be happy with whatever you have. No! That’s not what I am advocating. What I am highlighting here is that
- Appreciate whatever you have. There are people out there who wish to have what you have. It’s an endless cycle. You want what others have and others want what you have.
- As a child, be carefree, be happy, be fearless. Do not let the cynical world tell you otherwise. Do whatever you want. Run, play, fight, jump. Fall down? Stand up and run again.
- Dreaming big is good. In fact, it’s great! It’s also important to know where you stand. Make sure you leverage all the resources around you before you flap your wings and soar to the skies. Appreciate the things you have because that new pair of shoes you’re eyeing? Someone out there is wishing they had the legs to fit into that shoe.
Do not stay contented. Be contented and appreciative, but stay hungry. Hungry for success, hungry for knowledge, hungry to be the change in the world today.
You can do this.