I haven’t posted a self evident truth in quite some time, so I figured I’d share one today – partly because I want to, mostly because I need the reminder.
Bgddy Jim’s Self Evident Truth #6: Happiness Is A Matter Of Perspective
This covers a lot of cliches – chief among them, “happiness is an inside job”. All too often we judge our “insides” or emotional ties to life, by other’s outsides – or their shell existence – what they have, where they live, what they do. Rarely does jealousy allow one to understand what someone else must sacrifice to achieve that shell because the information isn’t readily available.
As an example, I will be leaving the office some time around 2 this afternoon so I can head home and get my ride in before my wife heads out to a chick party of some sort (jewelry or something of that nature). It would be very easy, if my guys were to find this out, for one or more of them to become upset, thinking life is somehow unfair that they have to work later than I do. Of course, they wouldn’t be taking into account that I was sitting at my desk at 5:oo this morning (after a 40 minute commute) working on quotes to keep them working – and that I woke up at 3 am to do it.
A very close friend of mine once dropped the best line I’d ever heard that relates. He and I are polar opposites on the political spectrum. One beautiful winter’s day we were out on a small pond ice fishing and smoking cigars – more of one than the other. We started talking about some political hot button topic of the day and the conversation grew quite animated. I listened to his talking points and he to mine. After we boiled everything down to the lowest common denominator, still on opposite sides, we ended up with the mutual “well, I understand your point, but it certainly doesn’t work that way in what I see”. He said, “you know, we’re both looking at the same dollar bill, just from different sides”.
This is a perfect metaphor if you change the dollar bill out for just about anything else. I’m looking at Bob, he and his wife are very successful, have a lot of money, he is able to train a lot longer than I can (he regularly rides 50+ miles), they’ve got a big house and family membership at the nicest gym in the surrounding four counties – they’ve got it going on. Now, if that’s all I knew of Bob and contrasted my life to his, I could become jealous. Fortunately for me, I know better – Bob’s got an out of town job so he only sees his daughter twice a month, the daughter is stuck going to day care after kindergarten because mom doesn’t get out of work till 5:00. Bob can go on 50 mile rides because he can’t be with his wife and daughter. Once I add the proper perspective, my life is awesome – even if I don’t have the disposable income – my daughters have a dad who is home every night and a mom who takes great care of them, my wife has a husband to keep her warm and still makes all of the bills – without the use of credit cards.
It’s all a trade off, a matter of perspective. If I’m not focused on making my “insides” look like someone’s “outside”, then I have the ability to maintain my own health – heretofore referred to as happiness.