Winning the Genetic Lottery

Congratulations! You are a winner. If you have landed on this blog post and are reading these words, then I can immediately deduce a few important things about you, and I am happy to inform you that you are jackpot winner. For example, I can instantly tell that you are literate, that you have electricity, and that you are enjoying an Internet connection. Those three simple things automatically make you one of the luckiest people alive.  

A friend asked me a very interesting question the other day. He asked, “How do other people view your life?” I took a moment to consider it, and then realized that the question becomes particularly interesting when you decide who will be doing the viewing.  

If I were to consider how Bill Gates or Jeff Bezos would view my life, I might grow discouraged. These men are in the stratosphere of success. Nearly anything next to them looks dull and uninspiring. The thing is, when most people compare themselves to others, they choose someone more attractive, likeable, and successful than they are – and they wind up unhappy with themselves. Instead, try comparing yourself to the millions of people on this planet who would kill to be in your shoes. I would venture a guess that any one of the poor souls struggling in Syria, Africa, China or even in the impoverished parts of the USA right now would trade with you in a minute.  

It is all about perspective. In most places on earth, there is a glass ceiling keeping people down, and it is very low. Every day, billions of people worry about feeding themselves and their families. They worry about shelter and violence – something that I doubt many of us face regularly if ever.

Try and remember that no matter what your frustrations are, what you are angry about, or which opportunity you lost, that if you are reading this article, you have got nothing to really complain about.

This is an easy thing to forget. Give it enough time and anything can become mundane. We are all guilty of going about our lives, ignoring or under-appreciating the luxuries we are afforded. This is why I occasionally like to step back and remind myself that I am so fortunate to be where I am. I was born into a fantastic situation solely based on being born in the USA, so whenever I am feeling frustrated or down, I remind myself that there are billions of people out there who would trade me for my life.

When you can appreciate absolutely everything you are lucky enough to have, then the challenges of every day life begin to feel insignificant.

Try it.