Seize the Day
Since we were alive yesterday, and expect to be alive tomorrow, being alive is something that we normally take for granted.
There are many opportunities of being alive. Taking life for granted increases the risk that we will delay taking advantage of these opportunities. When we see others moving forward, we may be tempted to compare ourselves with them. This can lead to us becoming comfortable in complaining and doing very little.
The typical complaint of someone intending to do nothing, is that they would do something if only they had more money. The greatest tragedy of being alive is for people to be convinced that they lack opportunities because of their circumstances. A lack of money does not limit anyone’s access to the benefits or opportunities of being alive.
Consider the activities of a billionaire and someone living hand-to-mouth or in poverty. Both of them have the same 24-hour period to take advantage of life’s opportunities.
We start the day after waking. Whether we slept in a $100,000 a night hotel room, or in a small shack on a foam mattress, we received the same benefit from the 7 or 8 hours we spent sleeping. We normally sleep oblivious to our surroundings, and wake rested. The only difference is that the billionaire spent a lot of money for the same benefit.
We normally experience similar feelings of pleasure when eating fruit. Whether a person picks fruit from a tree, or employs a chef to peel and place it in a golden bowl with a silver spoon, the benefits of eating will be similar. The billionaire just paid more for its preparation.
Water provides the same feelings of refreshment, whether one drinks it from a standpipe or a crystal goblet. When it is time to eliminate waste, people have the same beneficial feelings of relief whether they use a pit toilet or a golden toilet with a padded seat.
As humans, we improve with practise. Once we have achieved about 10,000 hours of practice, we normally operate at an expert level. We must all submit to the same discipline of intense practise if we want to improve, regardless of how much money we may have.
In addition to sleeping, eating, drinking, eliminating, and practising, we interact with other people. All people can have this wonderful opportunity to experience the fulfilment of being kind and helpful. Billionaires can obviously give more. However, the benefits of helping others are similar.
Therefore, having less money does not stop a person from benefiting from the opportunities of being alive. One of the greatest benefits of being alive is that we can start moving forward at anytime and at any age. We just have to stop complaining and start doing something responsible.
Of course, life is also full of failed expectations and disappointments for everyone, including billionaires. Money cannot buy happiness. It only buys more fun. But the benefits of fun are similar regardless of how much you spent on it. Being alive gives us the opportunity to correct our mistakes. If we treated someone badly yesterday, then we can treat them better today.
If we dwell on our failures, then we can get discouraged. This is when we need a friend to encourage us to start looking for opportunities. Otherwise, we can delay our progress by thinking that life is hard, rather than a wonderful gift of multiple daily opportunities.
Those who are discouraged at leaving school with neither certificates nor marketable skills, can start practising something that they can market. Those who have been laid off can use the Internet to develop a new skill, and keep practising. Everyone gets better with diligent practise, so why delay moving forward?
Those who have the most interaction opportunities are front-line employees. They include cashiers, bank tellers, receptionists, and nurses. They normally interact with hundreds of persons daily who are in a hurry to leave. The current austerity only increases frustration all around, since less staff means longer wait times.
Customers may have waited for a long time, either for a bus, or in the line. By the time they are served, they may not be in a happy mood. An overworked and discouraged front-line staff interacting with a frustrated and impatient customer may not end well. Someone needs to seize the opportunity to be kind and patient. May it be you.
Grenville Phillips II is a Chartered Structural Engineer and President of Solutions Barbados. He can be reached at NextParty246@gmail.com