A wealthy businessman was driving his expensive Italian sports car down the driveway of his five million dollar mansion when he ran over a nail. His tire instantly deflated. He got out and when he saw the deflated tired, he shook his fist angrily in the air and shouted “why doesn’t anything ever go right for me??”
The image of the “rich man” has been used for eons as a way to highlight our human proclivity for ingratitude and short sidedness. But is the rich man just a pathetic archetype? Does this image show us something that can apply to everyone: that no matter what we have, we never feel satisfied with the way things are?
No one is beyond ingratitude. Nobody is immune to it. Especially when we have an idea in our mind how things should go. Or what we should have. Abundance, whether literal or figurative, can be easily overlooked when that one piece of the puzzle is missing.
The fact is, things will never completely go our way. Life is dynamic and ever changing. How silly is it to think we even deserve or expect things to fall in line with our expectations and desires? But should we instead just accept when things are wrong? Not at all.
Expectation and acceptance are two extreme ends of a spectrum. Between them lies abiding. Think of this as perseverance despite the circumstances. When we find peace with what is, it doesn’t mean we’re necessarily okay with it. It simply suggests that our center and our consciousness is more important than the ups and downs; that there is a component to us that transcends the hassles and minutiae of everyday life.
Fact is, the last thing time something didn’t go well for you won’t be the last time. You’ll have more disappointments to come and more setbacks along the way. This is unavoidable. But we can abide in peace with this knowing full well that we’re always able to extract, from whatever difficulty we face, a sense of meaning and purpose. The things that ultimately serve to make us better people.