Working for Perspective

It's important every day to work towards having perspective on our moments

“Dad, are we rich?” That’s a question my then second-grader asked me after school one day. Turns out one of her classmates was celebrating her birthday by having a limo pick up a small group of girls from school to party. Some of her classmates were given cell phones that year. She had been to other friends homes that were bigger, nicer, shinier than ours. A legitimate question and I didn’t want to mess it up.

Fortunately I had been around some good people who think differently and had some perspective. We were going through a book by Rob Bell in a small group and that particular week we were faced with a few statistics:

  • 8.5% of the world’s population owns 1 car
  • 1% of the world’s population owns 2 cars
  • $9,733 is the median income annually per household

Put another way, to be in the top 1% in the world based on income, you’d need to have a an annual household income of $32,400. With my wife and I both working, we were well above that number.

I asked my daughter if we lived in a house, had two cars and food to eat. She said yes. Then I said, well honey, we are rich. Why? It’s the lens I choose to view my world. One with, well…Perspective. It’s all about your lens. If I’m comparing to someone living in a big new house, nice cars, exotic vacations and more, I’d probably “feel” poor. So I have to be intentional to shift my lens to something a bit more realistic.

Watch “How Many Are Rich and How Many Are Poor”

There are around 1 billion people in the world who live with less than 1 dollar per day. More than half of the world population lives with less than 10 dollars a day. And some people live with more than 100 dollars per day. Read Full Article and download research data

“I Hate My Job”

Ever said this or heard this in your workplace?

  • “I can’t believe my boss asked me to do that”.
  • “She’s doing less work than I am and getting more credit”
  • “I don’t think I’m being utilized to my fullest capacity”
  • “I’m so frustrated that our benefits are being cut and we’re being asked to pay more”
  • “The other day, my boss came in 5 minutes before I was leaving and asked me to finish two huge projects for him. I had to stay two hours and missed my football game.”
  • “I’m not feeling fulfilled enough in my work”
  • “I’m not feeling validated enough by my boss and coworkers”
  • “They are getting paid more than I am for the same job.”
  • “It’s not fair.”
  • “My boss definitely favors other people and not me”.

Most of Us Have It Pretty Good

Recently I was in India traveling for work and my suitcase was lost. It didn’t arrive until the day before I left to head home. I washed my clothes in the sink for a day and then had to go and buy new clothes – in India. I was frustrated. Inconvenienced. Jet-lagged. Each morning I would get up, make coffee and sit on my balcony. On day three I paused enough to notice someone: A man who would literally sweep a football-field sized area of grass. For his job. Everyday. It would take him most of the day to do this. As I sat in my hotel griping about the fact that my suitcase was lost and I didn’t have fresh clothes, the wifi was terribly slow, and the food was spicy, watching him work gave me a gut-punch for my short-term frustration.

Reality is I have an amazing job. Really, every job I’ve ever had since I started working at age 16 at Burger King in Rome, NY, have been good jobs. I’ve been really lucky. But as you look at your work, consider this:

  • Are you working inside?
  • Is your paycheck reliable? Meaning, your boss isn’t corrupt and withholding pay
  • Do you have some sort of basic medical insurance coverage?
  • Do you get some sort of vacation package?
  • Is the money you make enough to provide for basic food, clothing and shelter?

If you can answer yes to most of these, you’re probably in pretty good shape. It may not feel like it some days. At least you’re ahead of most of the world. It’s hard grinding it out day by day, and the giants we face are real. But sometimes when things seem really stressful, it’s really helpful to take a breath and try to gain some perspective on whatever situation we’re facing. It takes real effort, but it’s usually worth it. I wish you well as you choose to fight for a more hopeful perspective.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.