What Would You Pay?

It seems to me that if the average citizen of an underdeveloped nation were to follow you or me around for a while, he might ask why we so often throw a tantrum when things don’t go our way. Most of us possess advantages in life utterly unknown to people elsewhere. What’s to gripe about?

If you had to buy your way into your country as some people do, what would you be willing to pay for entry? Isn’t it wonderful that it is yours to enjoy, admission-free?

What would you pay for our great outdoors? How much for the blue sky, or fluffy white clouds, the song of a bird or cleansing rain?

What would you pay to have the shopping choices you do? You can step into any store and find a wide variety of items and, if what you want isn’t on hand, simply go to another retailer. (Or even go online!)

What would you pay for a library from which you can borrow books, movies, music and Internet access almost any time you like, for almost as long you like?

What would you pay for your relationships with your family, your friends, your pets? (Okay, Fido or Felix might cost you, but hey! they’re worth it!)

You might rightly argue that you do pay for some things. Yet, isn’t it great that we all chip in? Could you afford it if you had to finance all these amazing benefits by yourself?

Someone very wise once said that the key to happiness is to want what you have. You probably agree, but do you act as if you understand how very fortunate you are?

The Law of Attraction says that you get more of what you focus on. Yet, although we all see the value of thinking positively as a step to getting what we want, we tend to overlook the other side of the coin: the more attention you pay to the negatives in your life, the more they multiply.

If you watch a small child, she zeroes in on what interests or pleases her. She can be quite rude in her withdrawal of attention from you if she doesn’t find you fascinating. She turns intuitively to things that make her feel good.

Adults share that instinct. Unlike children, however, we concentrate on the deficiencies in our surroundings, reasoning that if we can just remedy them, happiness will follow. This puts our focus squarely on what we dislike—and guess what?—we find more and more disappointments to complain about.

Just for a moment, become very clear-minded about what you have. Think about the body you are living in and its health, the brain that came with it (you know, the one that gets you in trouble), the clothing you are wearing, the temperature of the room on your skin, and the feeling of being well-fed. There are people all over the world who would pay everything they have for what you can simply close your eyes and enjoy.

What would you pay for your work, for your loved ones, for your life? And aren’t you glad you don’t have to pony up?

Download a PDF of this column