Why we should feel blessed when we can’t take things for granted
By Judy Churchill
Most people I know spend their lives trying to reach a state of equilibrium and ease where they can relinquish the discomfort of not being able take things for granted. Whereas being able to take your job, finances, relationship, family etc. for granted may seem like the ideal no-stress scenario, in reality the absolute opposite may be true.
Contrary to what most people imagine, a certain level of discomfort that we experience because we can’t take things for granted could be our greatest driver not only for basic survival but for true happiness and satisfaction.
Status quo and complacently have never been items on my daily agenda and so I thought I’d take a look at why not being able to take many elements in our lives for granted makes it so much more satisfying. The next time you look at the lady seemingly holding all the social aces in her hand and bedecked with the latest handbag, the best club memberships, wealthy husband and designer children in tow, you will understand that you may not be staring at the image of perfect bliss. In fact, you should thank the universe for dealing you an apparently imperfect hand and yet one that will naturally lead to greater happiness and fulfilment.
So how does it work?
Here are my five reasons why not being able to rest comfortably on our laurels and take things for granted may actually be good for us:
1. Carpe Diem - Not knowing what curve balls the universe may throw at us today means that we actually truly ‘live’ in the present. Instead of one routine day monotonously resembling another, we truly appreciate and savour when today gives us something that we didn’t have yesterday even if it’s a challenge. We learn to be grateful for small mercies and practising gratitude leads to a heightened level of happiness and wellbeing.
2. Decor - How many times do your truly look at your indoor and outdoor surroundings and appreciate what meets your eye. Many people struggle to equip and furnish their dream home only to never light the candles that adorn the coffee table or to read the books stacked up on the designer shelves, let alone nurture the plants they spent so much trouble choosing. One of the very best ways I’ve found of never taking your surroundings for granted is to get out into nature, especially the mountains to see the changes from season to season and realise that we only have the short window of opportunity be it daylight, good weather or a certain season to see such splendours. It sometimes takes a foggy, rainy day or even a natural disaster when you can no longer enjoy these wonders to incite you to using every opportunity to get out into nature when you can.
3. Local Community - Doing something that will benefit your local community will take you beyond yourself and push you to ‘get over’ your own gripes. It will also show you that anything worth having not only takes a lot of time and effort but will also meet with resistance from others. What? I hear you say. Doing good may be frowned upon? Yes, do not take for granted the fact that that your good deeds will enchant everyone; for as many people who support your ideas, you will have the same number (often due to their own hang-ups and agendas) that don’t. But that’s what succeeding in making a difference is all about; it’s about overcoming the obstacles which in turn makes the end result so much sweeter. “The best antidote I know for worry is work. The best cure for weariness is the challenge of helping someone who is even more tired. One of the great ironies of life is this: He or she who serves almost always benefits more than he or she who is served.”
(Gordon B. Hinckley)
4. Being Self-employed - Some people moan about the precarity of being either self-employed or an entrepreneur - I say embrace it! As a person who runs her own business, much of my drive and enthusiasm comes from the fact that I see every day as a new challenge. I never know what the next day will bring or not, and I never know exactly how much money I will earn in a given month. But that is part of the challenge, it keeps me driven and I appreciate each new client, each new project. Not being able to take these things for granted keeps my energy and creativity high. In fact, I think that taking my work for granted would put the seal of death on my motivation. I love and try to live by this quote: “Every morning in Africa, a gazelle wakes up, it knows it must outrun the fastest lion or it will be killed. Every morning in Africa, a lion wakes up. It knows it must run faster than the slowest gazelle, or it will starve. It doesn't matter whether you're the lion or a gazelle-when the sun comes up, you'd better be running.” (Christopher McDougall)
5. Motivation - Not being able to take people or things for granted motivates us to try harder, to strive to do better. It gives us a sense of purpose and we know that having a purpose leads to higher levels of happiness and self-worth. We develop better survival skills and appreciate the fact that nothing and nobody lasts forever. That alone is enough to motivate us to take pleasure in the present and not to be dismissive about each little positive that comes into our lives.
Humans are hardwired to want to succeed but it is the journey, the striving to succeed that makes us happy. Once we have arrived we need to know that we cannot take that success for granted to spur us on to the next journey.
Judy is based in Monaco and specialises in transformational coaching working with both individuals and companies.
Judy is also a qualified language teacher/trainer for adults and children in French, English and Spanish.
If you would like to receive coaching, communication skills training, language tutoring or certified translating from Judy, you can contact her on:firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com via Facebook messenger and www.judychurchill.com