This morning, I woke up thinking about affluence and poverty. I think we can all agree that wealth is a matter of perspective. You can be making 50k or 200k a year and consider yourself “poor” if you like keeping up with the Kardashians. Meanwhile, in comparison to most people on Earth, you are exceptionally wealthy if you are making 50k independently. Social status is funny in this way; the measure of wealth and poverty is in constant flux depending on where you are standing.
For some reason, it seems more and more people around me are complaining about money these days. Perhaps it’s just a natural phase as things begin to change and evolve in our lives. There is a very clear rejection of the “rich” although, for all intents and purposes, I would not classify any of my friends as poor. In fact, I wouldn’t classify most people in this country as poor. I’ve seen poverty, and it isn’t the inability to purchase a BMW. Yet, oddly enough, I hear the phrase “we’re poor” being tossed around by people who are even more educated and have higher paying jobs than me.
I am often taken aback by such statements. “If I do not consider myself poor, how can you?” I wonder how little of the world they must have seen to so confidently complain and insist that they lack, all while I can very clearly observe their outrageous spending habits.
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Have you ever almost given up on an ambition of yours just before you finally succeeded? Why were you ready to give up? Who or what got in the way? What would you have missed out on if you had given up?
When aiming towards a goal, some of us are slow and steady, while others charge ahead and bulldoze through everything irrelevant. Both ways work, depending on your personality and risk tolerance. However, one thing we all have in common is facing distractors (or being distractors for others) along the way, especially in the final mile.
You’ve heard that a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step; I am here to tell you that it also ends with a pessimist with his nose to the sky 9 times out of 10. Even when you ignore the distractors and move on past the finish line, they remain unconvinced.
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“The jealous are troublesome to others, but a torment to themselves” – William Penn.
In my culture, jealousy and envy are seen as collaborating sisters who can bring forth the tides of hell. Home entrances are decked out with eye shaped blue ceramics to shield the inhabitants from “the evil eye,” the eyes of the jealous and envious.
In the West, the two are differentiated: the former is seen as a natural product of love, and the latter is perceived as malicious. Those who are jealous feel this way against their better judgment and have good intentions, but those who are envious are guilty of consciously wishing failure and loss upon others. In the East, this differentiation is ignored because jealousy and envy are both expected to bring bad luck. Whether or not the bad luck is intentionally generated is irrelevant.
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