14 Mar

Perspective

“If you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.” – Wayne Dyer

The following figures are quoted by an anonymous author with approximate numbers, but it does give us a new perspective, a new way of looking at things.

If we could shrink the earth’s population to a village of precisely 100 people, with all the existing human ratios remaining the same, it would look something like the following. There would be:

57 Asians
21 Europeans
14 from the Western Hemisphere, both north and south
8 would be Africans
52 would be female
48 would be male
70 would be non-white
30 would be white
70 would be non-Christian
30 would be Christian
6 people would possess 59% of the entire world’s wealth

and all 6 would be from the United States.
80 would live in substandard housing
70 would be unable to read
50 would suffer from malnutrition
ONE would be near death

ONE would be near birth
ONE would have a college education
ONE would own a computer.

 So if the world is reduced to 100 people, and only one has a college education, and only one owns a computer, then many of us are actually in the top 1% and don’t even realize it.

Most of us take for granted that we have access to safe water and electricity. That we have food in our refrigerator, clothes to wear and a place to sleep at night.  That we can attend a church service without fear of harassment, arrest, torture or death.  That our children go to school and our parents are still alive. There are many families in the world that can’t put food on the table, much less afford the cost of a birthday party or presents for their children.

Viktor Frankl reminds us that “Everything can be taken from a person but one thing: the last of human freedoms – to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.”

Years ago something I read changed my attitude, my perspective, my way of looking at things.

A 92-year-old man who was fully dressed each morning by eight o’clock, even though he was legally blind, moved into a nursing home.  His wife of 70 years had recently passed away, making the move necessary. After waiting patiently in the lobby of the nursing home, he smiled sweetly when they told him his room was ready.  As he maneuvered his walker to the elevator to the elevator, the nurse provided a visual description of his tiny room, including the eyelet sheets that had been hung on his window.

“I love it!” the old man said with the enthusiasm of an eight-year-old having just been presented with a new puppy.

“Mr. Jones, you haven’t seen the room; just wait.”

“Happiness is something you decide on ahead of time. Whether I like my room or not doesn’t depend on how the furniture is arranged … it’s how I arrange my mind.  I already decided to love it.  It’s a decision I make every morning when I wake up.  I have a choice; I can spend the day in bed recounting the difficulty I have with the parts of my body that no longer work, or get out of bed and be thankful for the ones that do.  Each day is a gift and I’ll focus on the new day.”

According to Geoffrey James, “People who approach life with a sense of gratitude are constantly aware of what’s wonderful in their life.”  Grateful people are positive people who focus on the many things they have rather than the smaller number of things they don’t have.  Wayne Dyer reminds us that “the nature of gratitude helps dispel the idea that we do not have enough or that we ourselves are not enough. When your heart is filled with gratitude it is grateful for everything and cannot focus on what is missing.”

A grateful attitude reminds us to be thankful for what we have.  When we have gratitude for what we have, then what we have is enough.  There is always something to be grateful for.  All good things come from God and if we open our eyes and hearts we will start to see our blessings.  Fourteen years ago I started recording daily five things that I am grateful for in The Simple Abundance Journal of Gratitude by Sarah Ban Breathnach.  I challenge you to look for the positive things each day and record them in a journal.  You will be surprised how it changes your perspective on life.  And remember, if you have money in the bank, your wallet, and some spare change, you are among the top 8% of the world’s wealthy.

(Published in The Eau Claire Journal ~ March 2016)

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