This morning I woke up at 5am, went to the bathroom, weighed myself, drank a big glass of water and made some coffee.
I flipped open my laptop and the first thing I saw was this photograph of a dead toddler washed up on the beach.
Apparently the boy and his family were Syrian refugees trying to get to the Greek Island of Kos. Ultimately they were seeking refuge in Canada. 12 of them drowned when their boat capsized during the journey.
At first it reeeeeally messed with my head. I mean, I don’t think it’s possible to see an image of dead baby and not have your day ruined.
But then I started thinking…
How small are my problems compared to this child?
How easy is my life compared to this family who boarded a rickety sea vessel and risked their lives for the chance at a better life?
Suddenly I didn’t feel so bad.
- I forgot about not having a perfect childhood. While I didn’t have a lot growing up, I did always have what I needed to get by. I had a roof over my head, I always had food to eat and I had a mom who encouraged my dreams, allowed me to be creative and taught me that we’re all the same regardless of race or sexual preference. F#ck it, my childhood was awesome.
- I forgot about my anxiety. I don’t even know why I worry so much. In all honesty I have no problems. My bills are paid, I have food to eat, I can push a button on my phone and get groceries and a massage. I have nothing to worry about.
- I forgot about the stock market. Sure the stock market is down right now. But at least I have the excess cash to invest and I know as long as I don’t sell while it’s low, it’s almost (almost) always going to go up over time. Nothing to worry about here.
- I forgot about my frustration with campaigns. Sure I have a few campaigns that lose money one day and make money the next. And yes it’s nerve-racking as hell. But how lucky am I to be able to make money online, from my apartment with no job? Even when things aren’t working, I’m still lucky as hell.
- I forgot about my shoulder injury. I’ve been dealing with a shoulder pain for the last two months. I can’t train as hard/heavy as I’d like to at the gym. It’s been driving me crazy. But I know over time it will go away and I can go back to normal. It’s not like someone cut my arm off. It’ll be fine.
- I forgot about taxes. California charges between 10–13% more in taxes than some other states. Every year I think about moving to Nevada or Florida or Puerto Rico to save on taxes. But honestly, who gives a shit? The weather in California is perfect, I love this place and I’m making more money now than I ever thought I would anyway. How many people are starving right now in the world? How many of them would trade spots (including my taxes) with me?
- I forgot about my car problems. I feel like my car insurance premium is too high. I think about it all the time. I consider selling my car and using Uber, but what if I need a car down the line? It’s embarrassing how often I worry about it. I mean, there are people in the world who have to walk 5 miles to get water. Then they have to carry the water 5 miles back to their family. How lucky am I to have options? I can either drive my car or have a private driver drive me around Hollywood? This isn’t really a problem at all.
All of these little worries (and several others) that have been driving me crazy went away.
All these things that I worry about on a daily basis are nothing compared to this kid.
His entire life consisted of:
- Being born
- Living in awful conditions
- Getting on some weird boat
- Then drowning in the ocean
Compared to this kid’s life, I’d guess that most of our lives look pretty damn good.
Compared to this kid’s life, I’d guess that the things that we’re complaining about on a regular basis aren’t actually so bad.
How To Feel Better About Your Life
Want to feel a little better about your life today? Try this.
- Write down all of the little things that you’re worrying about.
- Then write out a few sentences for each one about why it’s really not that big of a deal at all. (Kind of like I did in the bullet list above.)
Not happy with your job? At least you have a steady income and can make ends meet until you find something better. There is a guy out there that would cut off his own foot to have a paycheck again after being laid off in 2008.
Think you’re apartment is a dump? At least you have four walls with an air conditioner, heater and refrigerator. There is a guy sleeping on the sidewalk today that would drink battery acid just to be able to share your sandwich and use your shower.
Our problems are all relative. And if you’re reading this, that means you have a computer (or phone) and an internet connection. And that puts you ahead of a lot of other people out there.
Keep in mind that right now, somewhere on this relatively small planet that we all live on there is someone who’s entire life has been pain, starvation and horror.
They’re climbing into a broken down boat with no GPS, hardly any food and all of their children. They’re going to risk their lives and are willing to die…
Just to get to where you are right now.