A Cheerful Life

William “Bud” Hart, of Haverhill, shares “Success Principles”—ideas for living a greater, better and more accomplished life, and building habits that stick. He also coaches clients to incorporate strategies for boosting their mental and physical performance during everyday living.

William “Bud” Hart, of Haverhill, shares “Success Principles”—ideas for living a greater, better and more accomplished life, and building habits that stick. He also coaches clients to incorporate strategies for boosting their mental and physical performance during everyday living.

I think writers generally write about things that are important to them; thoughts that make a lasting impression. Sometimes these obsessions may come from stories they carry around inside waiting for opportunities to release them. This is what I think anyway.

Sitting here struggling to come up with an idea for a new article I happened to reflect on a recent conversation I had with a business person. Our talk brought to mind a story I carry around in me that speaks to a great mystery of life. At least is mysterious to me. It’s a thing that, from all I can tell, a great many people seem to grapple with every day; thinking that other people live easier, more exciting, more interesting and better lives then they do.

What is it that leads people to think that they are missing out on something others have and that their lives are uneventful and dull in comparison? As I see it there’s not much point in feeling inadequate compared to others. Even if we are able to live the very life of a person that we envy today, there will be someone in this life we would think has it better. It’s just a part of our human nature. Each and every one of us has our own graces (free and unmerited life favors) and our individual troubles. Those who never learn to think about their graces persist in the belief that life would be much better if they could have what other people have.

Whenever I have a tendency to start to envy things someone else has, an excerpt from a book I read many years ago always flashes through my mind. The book was written by Margaret Slattery titled, “Just Over the Hill.” In it, there is an excerpt titled, “Each His Own Cross.” It is included in her chapter about Cheerfulness and speaks to the truth about comparing lives.

Summarized, the piece describes a woman who thought she was bearing the hardest cross in the world. People began to avoid her because of her gloomy attitude. One night, as she lay thinking, comparing her heavily burdened life with the lives of other women she heard a voice. It said she could exchange her cross.

She was led into great room filled with crosses of every size and material. The voice said each of the crosses belonged to someone and that everyone must have something that is hard. But if she wanted she could trade her hard life for another.

Gladly this woman went about the room trying the crosses. They were very deceptive. The tiniest one seemed like iron when she tried to carry it. The gold one with all the jewels hurt deeply. All night she tested crosses. When morning light came, she went to the door of the room and begged the voice that spoke to her to give her back her own cross. The voice responded that this is what everyone who enters the room decides.

As Margaret Slattery writes, “It is a story, a dream, but it is true.”

The most pernicious aspect of comparing our lives with others and thinking that we are carrying a greater cross is that it can become a habit. In other words, we don’t just talk about our life as being a burden, we come to believe it and live it. The truth is there never has been a moment and there never will be we when we lack the power to alter our destiny. This second, we do something to make our lives exciting, interesting and better is when it is.

William “Bud” Hart is a certified “Mindset” Coach, Accountability Partner and Business Consultant. Visit Hart Group, www.hartgroupma.com for more on coaching.

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