About ninety percent of the things in our lives are right and about ten percent are wrong. If we want to be happy, all we have to do is to concentrate on the ninety percent that are right, and ignore the ten percent that are wrong. If we want to be worried and bitter and have stomach ulcers, all we have to do is to concentrate on the ten percent that are wrong and ignore the ninety percent that are glorious.
Sounds good in theory, right? But really, how practical is it in today’s world? Don’t people have a tendency to seldom think of what they have, but always of what they lack? This is the single greatest tragedy on earth and it has probably caused more misery than all the wars and diseases in history.
In his book How to Develop Self Confidence & Influence People by Public Speaking, Dale Carnegie relays the story of a Mr. John Palmer, who lived in Paterson, New Jersey. “Shortly after I returned from the Army,” said Paterson, “I started in business for myself. I worked hard day and night. Things were going nicely. Then trouble started. I couldn’t get parts and materials. I was afraid I would have to give up my business. I worried so much that I changed from a regular guy into an old grouch. I became so sour and cross that—well, I didn’t know it then but I now realize that I came very near to losing my happy home.
“Then one day a young, disable veteran who works for me said, ‘Johnny, you ought to be ashamed of yourself. You take on as if you were the only person in the world with troubles. Suppose you do have to shut up shop for a while—so what? You can start up again when things get normal. You’ve got a lot to be thankful for, yet you are always growling. Boy, how I wish I were in your shoes! Look at me. I’ve got only one arm, and half my face is shot away, and yet I am not complaining: If you don’t stop your growling and grumbling, you will lose not only your business, but also your health, your home, and your friends!’”
The veteran’s admonishment stopped Mr. Palmer in his tracks and made him realize how well off he was. From that point forward he resolved that he would change and be his old self again—and he did.
If you want to regain your happiness…if you want to stop worrying and start living, remember…count your blessings—not your troubles!
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