Rule One for a Better Way to Live
Count your blessings. Once you realize how valuable you are and how much you have going for you, the smiles will return, the sun will break out, the music will play, and you will finally be able to move forward the life that God intended for you… with grace, strength, courage, and confidence.– Og Mandino, A Better Way to Live
April 5th, 2020
Although the world is right in the middle of its fight with the Coronavirus I can’t help but feel an extreme sense of gratitude for how lucky and blessed I have been in my life.
In fact, if you’re reading this then you can probably say the exact same thing.
As I’m sitting on my front porch writing this I’m very aware that many other people in our nation would trade places with me in an instant. I have been lucky enough to keep my job and continue getting paid. My family has outstanding health insurance, no one that I know personally has contracted the virus, there is food in our cabinets, and a roof over our heads. I even have a full gym in my garage to continue exercising while I’m waiting for things to get back to the way they were just a short time ago.
In all honesty, being quarantined (for me) has been somewhat of a blessing. It allows me to work from home, spend more time with my family, and take some time to just slow down a little. The rush of emotions I’ve felt over the last few weeks have ranged from gratitude to humility, with safety and love somewhere in between. Up to this point fear hasn’t even entered my vocabulary. Yes, there has been a little anxiety … but hardly any compared to what I’m sure so many people in the world are facing. More than anything I feel sad and ashamed that I have it so good while so many others do not.
When I was young man in my 20’s I wasn’t smart enough to realize that everything I had could be taken away in an instant. I thought that friends would never leave, that my bills would always be paid, and that family gatherings would always be the same. However, almost a couple of decades of living has shown me that friends pass on, families can disconnect, marriages do not always last, money really can run out, and everything you know (and maybe even complain about far too often) can change in an instant.
Sometime in the past life taught me a valuable lesson: never take things for granted. When things are going good make sure to live in that moment. Appreciate the little things you’ve been given.
You never know when they might disappear.
– Bo Burkett
Below is a chapter from my favorite book “A Better Way to Live,” by Og Mandino. During difficult times, I always find myself referring back to the wisdom contained within these words.
Rule One … For a Better Way to Live
Count your blessings. Once you realize how valuable you are and how much you have going for you, the smiles will return, the sun will break out, the music will play, and you will finally be able to move forward toward the life that God intended for you … with grace, strength, courage, and confidence.
One of the most important and ageless secrets of life that I had to learn, with pain and tears, is that you cannot even begin to turn a hopelessly bruised and defeated existence around or jump off that dreary treadmill so far as your job and career are concerned or move off that financial dead end that seems to have doomed you to failure and low self-esteem until you appreciate the assets you already possess.
Assets? You’re smiling? Sad smile. Are you trying to tell me something? You say you’ve got a drawerful of bills? Your oldest child, perhaps, is getting ready for college, and you don’t have the heart to tell her that she can’t go? You’re two months behind on the car payments, and the job seems none too secure. What assets, you’re thinking? Stay with me now, while I help you to count some of your blessings, right this very moment, as you sit there feeling sorry for yourself.
Let’s make a list, and let’s try to put a dollar value on just a few of the good things in your life so that you realize how wealthy you really are and how much you have going for you, even though, in your daily struggle to survive, you may have forgotten this.
What’s it worth to live in this great country? Go ahead, I dare you to put a price tag on that. Where would you rather live?
What would it be worth to be associated with the fine company you represent if you were standing in an unemployment line this morning?
What’s your career worth when you realize that probably 95 percent of the world’s population would gladly give up ten years of their life, or more, to have your opportunity.
What’s your freedom worth?
How about those you love and who love you? How much would you take to give them up?
Your eyes? Would you take a million dollars for your eyes?
How about your hands or your feet? Five million dollars? Ten million?
You’re really quite a precious specimen, aren’t you? If it came to a showdown, you probably wouldn’t trade what you have, right now, for all the gold in Fort Knox, would you? And with so much going for you, tell me, please, why you’re walking around looking sad, beat, defeated, and rejected? Why?
No more! There is a better way to live for you, and it begins today.…
Mandino, Og. A Better Way to Live: Og Mandino’s Own Personal Story of Success Featuring 17 Rules to Live By (p. 54). Random House Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.
A List of 10 Things I am Grateful for Right Now in This Moment
- My family (all of my girls) — This will forever be the first thing I am grateful for
- I have food in my cabinets and a roof over my head
- All of my bills are paid
- I have a job that allows me to work from home
- My ears — I can hear birds chirping as I finish writing this post
- This computer I’m typing on, which allows me to connect with people even though we are quarantined
- My eyes — I can see how beautiful and blue the sky is
- Time to pause, reflect, listen, and learn
- Facebook Live — Even though it’s virtual, I’m still able to attend church each Sunday
- I really don’t have to worry … because if God is for us, who can be against us?
So How About You? Let’s Count Your Blessings!
What are you grateful for? Join the discussion and post your Top 10 List in our Facebook Group!