"I'm tired of living like this," I thought to myself, "and I look forward to the day I own property and I can have privacy."
I felt angry, annoyed, and then wistful about that painfully-wonderful future.
Have you ever had thoughts like this? Do you ever wish for more? Or get down on yourself because you haven't made as much progress as you think you ought to have? Do you ever feel dissatisfied with your lot in life?
I have a very simple method that will cure you instantly. Make fun of yourself. Make fun of your lack of perspective. Sneer at your shallow pettiness. Criticize brutally your insatiable greed.
Standing there in the bathroom, I realized what I was thinking and said to myself, with an appropriate amount of snide sarcasm, "Oh, poor baby. You stand in your well-equipped bathroom in a beautiful, clean, safe city, with police and firemen and ambulances standing by, with three supermarkets packed with every imaginable, abundantly-available food within walking distance, whining that poor little you doesn't have any property." Looked at from the perspective of a poor farmer in India who has a dirt floor, almost no possessions, and hardly enough to eat, my frustration at not living on acreage would be laughable, embarrassing, revolting!
This is an appropriate response to our natural human frailty — our mind tends to ignore the good, no matter how good it is, and crave more.
I once saw this in a woman who owned a beautiful house. She was complaining that with her large lawn she needed a riding lawnmower. The next time I saw her , she said she was having difficulties, I don't remember now what they were, but I remember clearly her very serious whine: "I'll never get my riding lawnmower!"
Now for most of us, this would really stand out as the epitome of a spoiled rich American with no concept of how much of the world lives, and no appreciation at how lucky she is. But while her lament may be very clear and obvious, I'll bet if you listen in on your own thoughts, your own dissatisfactions, they are actually as laughable as this woman's riding lawnmower problem.
So here's a technique to pop the little dissatisfaction trance, the whine-trance you put yourself in: Start making fun of yourself, your greediness, your lack of appreciation, your greedy, petty, unappreciative attitude. It snaps you out of it quickly.
Make fun of your own pettiness and greed.
Adam Khan is the author of Principles For Personal Growth, Slotralogy and Self-Reliance, Translated. Follow his podcast, The Adam Bomb.