About ninety per cent of the things in our lives are right and about ten percent are wrong. If we want to be happy, all we have to do is to concentrate on the ninety per cent that are right and ignore the ten per cent that are wrong. If we want to be worried and bitter and have stomach ulcers, all we have to do is concentrate on the ten per cent that are wrong and ignore the ninety per cent that are glorious.
The words "Think and Thank" are inscribed in many of the Cromwellian churches of England. These words ought to be inscribed on our hearts, too. "Think and Thank." Think of all we have to be grateful for, and thank God for all our boons and bounties.
Jonathan Swift, author of Gulliver's Travels, was the most devastating pessimist in English literature. He was so sorry that he had been born that he wore black and fasted on his birthdays; yet, in his despair, this supreme pessimist of English literature praised the great health-giving powers of cheerfulness and happiness. "The best doctors in the world," he declared, "are Dr. Diet, Doctor Quiet, and Doctor Merryman."
You and I may have the services of "Doctor Merryman" free every hour of the day by keeping our attention fixed on all the incredible riches we possess--riches exceeding by far the fabled treasures of Ali Baba.
Would you sell both your eyes for a billion dollars? What would you take for your two legs? Your hands? Your hearing? Your children? Your family? Add up your assets, and you will find that you won't sell what you have for all the gold ever amassed by the Rockefellers, the Fords, and the Morgans combined.
But do we appreciate all this? Ah, no. As Schopenhauer said: "We seldom think of what we have but always of what we lack." Yes, the tendency to "seldom think of what we have but always of what we lack" is the greatest tragedy on earth. It has probably caused more misery than all the wars and diseases in history.
It caused John Palmer to turn "from a regular guy into an old grouch," and almost wrecked his home. I know because he told me so.
Mr. Palmer lives in Paterson, New Jersey. "Shortly after I returned from the Army," he said, "I started in business for myself. I worked hard day and night. Things were going nicely. Then trouble started. I couldn't get parts and materials. I was afraid I would have to give up my business. I worried so much that I changed from a regular guy into an old grouch. I became so sour and cross that--well, I didn't know it then; but I now realize that I came very near to losing my happy home.
"Then one day a young, disabled veteran who works for me said, 'Johnny, you ought to be ashamed of yourself. You take on as if you were the only person in the world with troubles. Suppose you do have to shut up shop for a while--so what? You can start up again when things get normal. You've got a lot to be thankful for. Yet you are always growling. Boy, how I wish I were in your shoes! Look at me. I've only got one arm, and half of my face is shot away, and yet I am not complaining: If you don't stop your growling and grumbling, you will lose not only your business, but also your health, your home, and your friends!'
"Those remarks stopped me dead in my tracks. They made me realize how well off I was. I resolved then and there that I would change and be my old self again--and I did."
You and I ought to be ashamed of ourselves. All the days of our years we have been living in a fairyland of beauty, but we have been too blind to see, too satiated to enjoy.
By Dale Carnegie