Thursday, September 11, 2014
“We need much less than we think we need.” ― Maya Angelou
Many people think that we live a hard life here in Africa having to make many sacrifices. The truth is that we feel guilty for having as much as we do compared to the people around us. If you are happy with what you have, you will always be happy. If you can only think in terms of what you want, what you think you need, what you think will make you happy—you will always be miserable. I had a friend once who wanted to be an attorney. He would say if only I could get into law school then I would be happy. Of course, he got into law school, but what he said then was if only I can graduate, then I will be happy. He graduated, but then if only he would pass the bar, then he would be happy. He passed the bar, but then only if could hired by a big firm then he would be happy. Then he needed to make partner to be happy. He was the most successful and unhappiest man I have ever known, accomplishing so much, but it was never enough. Too many of us are like that, thinking “if only” I had this or that, lived here or there, worked at this or that—then and only then would we be happy, and so there are millions who have more than 90% of the rest of the world has but are unhappy and miserable most of the time. Sad, isn’t it? When we read of someone complaining about not having the latest cell phone, or the speed of their internet, or—well you get the picture. We call these “First World Problems” because when survival is your first hurdle, and then getting basic education for your children comes next, you don’t worry too much about which cell phone carrier gives the best deals, or whether your neighbor has a nicer car than you do. When you are happy with who you are, where you are, and what you are doing, you have very few down days. St. Paul, in all his wisdom, tells us to be content with what we have. He was and is right.