Well, it’s the beginning of another week – which means a good number of us are cranky, and our tempers are short (even after the beautiful weather my area was blessed with this weekend).
Matt Ridley, in The Rational Optimist, claims life today is “healthier, richer & kinder” than at any point in our history as a species. In an example relative to the topic of this post, he argues for our wealth using the amount of time needed to work on the average wage to afford one hour of reading light at various points in time:
- Today, we work for just 0.5 sec to afford one hour of reading light
- In 1950, we worked for 8 seconds for the same
- In 1880, 15 minutes (for one hour’s worth of kerosene)
- In 1800, 6 hours to afford a candle
I think we too seldom appreciate the things we have. It’s easy to get caught up in the daily grind and take for granted what’s actually pretty amazing. We’re living in a time where even the poorest among us have more absolute wealth than our ancestors could dream of. Your car, your computer, your phone – how often do you stop to think about how lucky you are to have these luxuries (which have essentially become necessities)?
Here’s a clip from one of my favorite comedians, Louis C. K., speaking about this very issue:
“The secret of happiness, you see, is not found in seeking more, but in developing the capacity to enjoy less.”