Lately, I’ve been running into a lot of people who are unhappy. They are stressed out, fed up, exhausted, miserable, and just struggling to get by.
It seems no matter how much they try, they can’t seem to get what or where they want in life. They keep grasping, hoping, wishing, chasing those things that are so glittery and pretty. They think those things are going to make their lives that much better.
Its like chasing comets. You could say “chasing shooting stars” but that doesn’t make for as cool a title, so I’m sticking with comets. Also, the scientific difference between a meteor and a comet makes for a better metaphor here.
Comets are amazing things from a distance. They look so beautiful, mysterious, and quite frankly, are one of the coolest things you can see in the night sky.
I remember when the Hale-Bop comet was coming through our cosmic neighborhood over a decade ago. It was an incredible sight to see in the dark blanket of space. The thing appeared to just be hanging there like a sparkling ghost among the stars.
There is something funny about comets, though. While, from down here on Earth they may look amazing, when you get up close, you find something different. In fact, what you may find is downright disappointing (unless you’re a space/science aficionado). The object that appears to be so magical from far away is nothing but ice and dirt, hurtling towards the sun on a strange, repeating path.
Another oddity about comets is that what makes them beautiful is also what will eventually kill them someday: the sun ripping away their materials.
We treat a lot of things in life like comets.
Got to have that newer, better, faster car. Just a little more money and we will be better off. If I could date that girl/guy instead of the one I’m with, I’ll be happier. A new house will be better than the one we’re in right now. If only I can put on a few more pounds of muscle or lose a few pounds of fat, I will be much more satisfied with myself. That new tech gadget is better than the one I currently have.
We constantly see those things we don’t have, and we keep reaching for them, keep chasing them. I’m just as guilty as anyone of this. It is a constant battle.
But how do we fight it. And why should we?
Here’s the thing. If you constantly chase the things you don’t have, you will constantly have less than you want. That is how the universe works. And I see it all the time, both in my life, and in the lives of people around me.
The ones who are happier are the people who look at the things in their lives and are extremely grateful. They truly appreciate every simple meal, the beat up car they drive, the pillow on their bead, and the relationships that fill their days.
Those who are most miserable have a common problem. You know them. Heck, you might be one of them. They are the ones I described earlier, always chasing something, never satisfied with what they have. They can never seem to catch a break, are always broke, always sick, always down on their luck. Sound familiar?
I was sitting on my porch the other day thinking about this. In fact, I’m sitting on the porch as I write this. I am so lucky to have this porch, this laptop, this crisp fall air, my sweet cats (yes cats), loving friends and family, a great community of the best readers in the world, a reliable car, food on my table, and a decent place to lay my head at night.
When I thought of all those things, it reminded me of how rich I really am. How blessed I really am. I may not have billions of dollars or drive a car with a thousand horsepower or a boat the size of an aircraft carrier, but I am so thankful for my life.
The funny thing is, the more gratitude I express from my heart, the more of those things come my way. When you stop focusing on the things you don’t have, and begin living from a perspective of contentment, you will begin to see your life change in miraculous ways.
My last comment about this comes from some research I was doing a few years ago about entrepreneurs who had founded internet startups then sold them off for ridiculous sums of money. These people had sold their companies for hundreds of millions. American dream, right? They could sit on the beach sipping mai thais for the rest of their days.
Only there was one problem. When those founders sold off their companies, after a while, they realized that life wasn’t as great as they thought. They all experienced a similar sentiment: they wished they still owned their companies.
Several of them tried to create new startups like their original ones, but couldn’t succeed, making them wish even more that they’d never sold off their companies. They saw that life that looked so awesome from a distance, but when they got there, they realized it was nothing but ice and dust.
So, be grateful. Be content. Let yourself feel like the luckiest person in the entire world, no matter where you are right now. Find one or two things you can cherish in your heart and be thankful for. I promise, those things are there, right under your nose.
Embrace them. I’d sure hate for you to waste your whole life chasing those comets.
Got something that makes you feel rich or lucky or blessed. Put it in the comments below. I’d love to hear about it.