Chapter 7: Learn to appreciate what you have
“Don’t complain about what you don’t have…
Be happy with what you have.” – H. Stanley Judd
What do you really care about?
Philosopher Arthur Schopenhauer once said rightly:
“We seldom think about what we have and are,
but we always suffer and torment ourselves about what
we do not have and want to have.”
That’s why our society always arises so many problems.
I once tried asking students to try not to complain about anything
for the next twenty-four hours.
Immediately, I received a complaint about what I had just brought up
because most of the students
thought they couldn’t pass the “challenge”.
Therefore, I suggest that they write down their complaints every time
they want to complain about something or someone.
After twenty-four hours,
I and the children discussed the purpose of the experiment.
Obviously, when we look back at the list of things we have listed,
we can clearly see that one day we complain many times
and most of them are complaining about trivial things,
not worth it,
In the next part of the experiment,
I asked each student to list things,
or other things that they felt satisfied or appreciated.
Over the next twenty-four hours,
each person must read the things they have just listed four times:
before going to bed,
and the next morning
before going to school or work.
During the first session after implementing this experiment,
I asked them how they felt compared to the previous days,
after trying not to complain about the unnecessary things to do.
In fact, their expressions and body language answered it all.
People are more active with bright eyes wide open,
smile more and brighter.
After more than thirty years of conducting this experiment,
I can confirm that feeling satisfied around helps people become aware
of what they have
and forms the habit of being satisfied in their personality.
I think you should also try making a list of the things
you feel good about,
and take a few minutes each day to read
through it to remind yourself of the good things you have.
It is the beginning of an optimistic outlook
that is essential to your success.
Learn to appreciate what you have
“We never appreciate the water we’re drinking
until the well is dry.” – Benjamin Franklin
a famous World War I aviator,
was once adrift on a lifebuoy,
starving for twenty-one desperate
and hopeless days in the frozen Pacific Ocean.
He had to fight for life
and death hour by hour
and he survived that terrible ordeal.
He drew on a valuable experience
to encourage himself and his friends:
“If you have enough fresh water to drink
and enough food to eat for a day,
you should never complain about anything else.”
Eddie realized during those twenty-one days,
when his death was near,
that he realized how lucky he was!
But some people very often complain about trifles
while others thank life for giving them just that.
So are they really unhappy with their surroundings
or is it just out of habit?
In many Cromwell churches in England,
two words have been carved into the stone walls:
Think and Thank.
I wish those two words were hung everywhere:
in the house,
in the car,
and at work.
They will remind us to think about what we have.
Somewhere in our memories,
we still secretly thank those who have lifted our spirits,
taught us and helped us see the good in ourselves.
Thanks to them,
we work harder, complete our tasks better,
and enjoy life more fully.
But do we say thank you to them?
We often utter complaints,
easily express our anger,
but often falter when we want to say thank you to someone.
It’s because we’re used to complaining
and being unhappy about all the things we encounter.
If we can overcome that habit of thinking,
then a single word will make both us
and the person we are thanking feel happy and comfortable.
Remember, just for a moment,
we can make a very special day for others
and for ourselves simply by showing our gratitude.
“It’s not about how much we have,
but how we feel about what we have…”- Charles Spurgeon