E1. According to the motivational speaker, Anthony Robbins, the greatest power we possess is the power of choice. Every decision we make, whether small or large, has an effect on our lives.
So when I decided to re-focus this blog, that was a choice that will either be a benefit or the opposite. Time will tell. But I am already committed and that makes all the difference.
Here, in Singapore, the people love lotteries. They love to queue for long periods of time to buy a lottery ticket in the hope of winning some money. Or maybe they like queueing, I don’t know!
Then when they don’t win the lottery they feel disappointed. And that is about every week.
If they ever do win the lottery they go ecstatic and feel wonderfully happy… for a while at least.
What is going on here?
Why do people think they have to win the lottery before they have permission to feel good about themselves?
According to biologist and author, Richard Dawkins, life is a lottery that we have already won and that should make us feel fantastic already. But many people choose not to feel that way. Dawkins says,
“Most people… are never going to be born. The potential people who could have been here in my place but who will in fact never see the light of day outnumber the sand grains of Arabia…
We know this because the set of possible people allowed by our DNA so massively exceeds the set of actual people. In the teeth of these stupefying odds, it is you and I, in our ordinariness, that are here…
We are the privileged few, who won the lottery of birth against all odds”
Reading that always makes me feel grateful for being here. So much so that I don’t worry about winning the lottery for cash at all.
I think everyone has heard that the most important attitude to have in life is that virtue we call gratitude.
Back in the 14th Century, Dante Alighieri, the Italian poet describes his “imaginary” trip to Paradise, and he is asked to show gratitude for God’s grace.
For Dante, gratitude is one of the clearest expressions that we all can give in return for the gift of life and for the freedoms of thought that we have been granted.
Let’s make our decisions wisely and be grateful however things turn out.
As Kipling, the poet said,
“If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same”
I almost forgot the most important point, so here goes…
In the Convito, if I remember correctly, Dante listed the virtues expected of people at their different stages of life, and it is worthy of note that gratitude was reserved for the elderly.
It was not a virtue of young people or even the middle aged. These age groups have their own virtues that need to be followed, according to Dante.
I think, the elderly need gratitude because they are looking back on a life that has treated them at least, ok, and they frankly, have little of life on this earth left to look forward to, and that is just a fact.
So gratitude is a virtue that grows as we proceed through life. It requires a certain maturity.