‘Put things in Perspective’

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04th April, 2022

Eddie Rickenbacker, drifted in a life raft for 21 days, hopelessly lost in the Pacific. After surviving the ordeal, Rickenbacker said, “If you have all the fresh water you want to drink and all the food you want to eat, you ought never complain about anything.”

The dictionary defines perspective as “the capacity to view things in their true relation or relative importance.”

Just think about the people in your life. I know many people who lose their cool because they got a flat tire or some red lights when they are rushing for a meeting? I also know about those who sever ties with close family members because of a dispute over a small misunderstanding like the arrangements at a wedding or someone did not greet them warmly enough.

It’s clear these folks have lost sight of the “relative importance” of things!

So, what is it that you’ve been complaining about lately? Are they really “life and death” matters? The next time you’re tempted to gripe about your problems, pick up a pen and piece of paper and start listing all the reasons you have to be grateful!

Let me assure you, it sure beats complaining!

I’m not suggesting that you just sit back and ignore all of the problems in your life. However, rather than complaining, it’s far better to focus your attention and your energy on those steps you can take to solve, or at least lessen, your problem. For instance, let’s say you’re feeling a little tired lately. Instead of telling everyone how lousy you feel, make an effort to exercise more regularly or get to bed a little earlier.

Complaints work against you in three ways.

First, no one is really interested to hear negative news about your illness and your problems. It’s said that 90 percent of the people don’t care about your problems and the other 10 percent are glad you have them

Second, complaining reinforces your own pain and discomfort. So why keep replaying painful, negative memories?

Third, complaining, by itself, accomplishes nothing and diverts you from the constructive actions you could be taking to improve your situation.

Seriously, all of us can cut down on our complaining and show some gratitude instead. At any point of time, our blessings far outweigh our problems, but we tend to focus on our problems instead. As Regina Brett, the American author said, “If we all threw our problems in a pile and saw everyone else’s, we’d grab ours back.”

For almost Forty years now, in times of stress and strain, when something has me backed against the wall and I’m ready to do something really stupid with my anger – a kind face appears in my mind and asks:

“Problem or inconvenience?” Will it really matter five years from now?

I think of this as the Test of Reality. Do your reality test every time you face any issue. Life is lumpy and a lump in the oatmeal, a lump in the throat and a lump in the breast are not the same. Learn to differentiate between a problem and an inconvenience and make life easy for yourself, make things work brilliantly for yourself every day.

From now on, let’s do ourselves and others a favour and make our conversations uplifting. The people who don’t complain very much and those who speak positively are a joy to be around. Decide to join that group so people won’t have to cross the street when they see you coming!

Put things in perspective, ask yourselves ‘whether it’s a problem or inconvenience’ and stay blessed forever.