This morning when my son woke up he had a “woe-is-me” moment which doesn’t happen very often. For those who aren’t aware he has a degenerative neuro-muscular disease called Charcot Marie Tooth disease. For the most part, he has never let his condition get in the way of anything he wants to do. But some days, like today, it temporarily gets to him – which, to be fair, is to be sometimes expected giving that crappy moments happen even to the best of us.
To help him put things into perspective I asked him to humor me for two minutes while I presented him with a hypothetical situation. I asked him to consider life as a lucky bag and whatever life we have picked out of that bag for us is the one we have to try and make the best out of it.
“Now imagine,” I asked him, “if you had the opportunity to put your current life back in that bag and swap it for another random one, would you?”
He obviously thought this was a trick question. After all there was a one in seven billion chance that the new life he picked out belonged to someone like Stephen Curry or Lionel Messi (woohoo – perfect swap he would say!) but a far greater chance he would pick one far more woeful than the one he already has, even taking into consideration his disability.
“Just remember,” I warned him, “a new life means new family, new friends, new town or city, new country and new life circumstances.”
At this point I decided to remind him of some important facts:
- If you have food in your fridge, clothes in your cupboard, a roof over your head and a place to sleep in, you are richer than 75% of the world.
- If you have money in the bank or in your wallet and some spare change to share, you are among the top 8% of the world’s wealthy.
- If you woke up this morning feeling healthy and not ill, you are more blessed than the million people who will not survive this week.
- If you have never experienced the danger of battle, the torture of imprisonment or warfare or the pangs of starvation, you are luckier than 500 million people alive and suffering.
- If you can read this message you are more fortunate than 3 billion people in the world who cannot read at all.
- As you waste your breath complaining about life or another terrible problem, someone else out there in this world is breathing their last breath.
Sure my son has his own battles to face – in fact, we all have our own personal issues to deal with – but right now in this world there are people who are living in a much worse situation.
There are people who have no access to water or no home to live in at all. My son isn’t living in a war-torn country, he isn’t starving or abandoned… Instead he has the opportunity to grow up and enjoy a pretty happy life in a safe and supportive environment.
In fact, he is always surrounded by a loving family and fantastic friends. He goes to a great school. In comparison to some people in the world he would be considered to be super “lucky” – with or without his CMT.
So here is your two minute reality check test now.
If given the chance to swap your life for another RANDOM life – would you?
Would you take that massive chance to trade your life for another, not knowing the alternative you would get?
Would you risk everything you have now in exchange for a possibly “easier” life?
Take one minute now to weigh up everything you could potentially lose – your family, your friends, your most special memories and any special talents you may have?
Now take another minute to process what losing all this would mean to you. What would you miss? Is there anything you would be sad to say goodbye to?
They say that most people, if given the opportunity to swap and choose another life from this hypothetical lucky dip bag, they would immediately throw it back in if they knew what other troubles and problems existed in this world.
Some say the grass is greener on the other side but the truth is everyone you meet is fighting a battle you know nothing about.
In under two minutes you can see just how lucky you really are.
Count your blessings, not your troubles…always.
Focus on your strengths and not your weaknesses, on the good and not the bad.
This world is a mirror of your thoughts and it will always reflect back to you your expectations.
So next time you are feeling overwhelmed or stressed, stop and take this two minute reality check test.
Realize that even if you do sometimes feel like swapping your troubles for someone else’s – you are actually quite blessed and special. You were given this life for a reason so go out there and make it the best one it can be.