I have the most non-competitive psyche you can imagine.
I hate the idea that to win a game, the other side has to lose.
I totally do not get the personal investment people have in their football teams.
I live in Australia, a proudly sports-obsessed nation. Social interactions are therefore sometimes awkward. Conversations with me generally end abruptly when I respond to a comment about someone’s team winning or losing with, “I don’t actually care.”
And yes, I understand that I might have alienated you with my callous disregard for competitive sport.
If you choose to read on anyway, I will consider it a win (no pun intended).
I gather you’ve worked out that when I titled this ‘How to Win at Life’, it was somewhat tongue in cheek 😛
My daughter, Mary, has an adorable saying when she thinks I’ve done something particular noteworthy.
“Mum,” she exclaims, “YOU WIN AT LIFE!”
The first time she said this, it was after she read a blog post of mine that she really liked.
The last post I wrote was one of those. Lots of people really liked it. Since it was published, I have received invitations to be interviewed, invitations to teach in Germany, the UK, the US and even, more amazingly, other cities in Australia (which are almost harder to reach than some of the above mentioned countries as I live in Perth, the most isolated city in the world).
I really liked that post too. It was titled Because I’m Alive. And I can. It was incredibly life-affirming. And I meant every word. I wanted to feel like I did when I wrote it every minute of every day for the rest of my life.
Unfortunately, I sucked at life right after I wrote that post.
Do you ever have those kinds of days when you just feel like a complete loser? Your brain tells you’re not. After all, you can still construct sentences which mostly make sense, you have friends who remember your name, and better still, most of the time, you actually remember theirs. And occasionally, you say or do something to cheer another’s heart. All these add up to Non-Loser-Ness.
My head told me all this, but my heart was convinced I was perched on the very edge of the Loser Abyss, about to fall in and disappear forever. I battled myself on that precipice for a couple of days.
Then I remembered this blog post and also what little remained of my good sense, and I went for a Very Long Walk. And I forced myself back from The Abyss.
With each step I took, I counted my blessings. I drowned myself in GRATITUDE.
I started with just being thankful l that I could walk, that I still knew how to use a spoon, that I had two dogs whose boundless joy and ridiculous, irrepressible enthusiasm made me feel loved. And I didn’t stop walking and counting those darn blessings until it peaked at “I’m so grateful I don’t live in Syria, that I have a home and food. That I have a truly blessed life”.
Thoroughly drenched in gratitude and feeling considerably better, I made it back home remembering that most of the world would love to have my problems.
Abyss averted. Life won (back).
”Malini,” I said to myself THAT morning when I got home from my Gratitude Walk, “maybe you should just forget the ‘random selection’ this time”, and just look for the Gratitude card?”
“No”, I decided. “Besides, Gratitude is such a buzz word these days. People might be sick of it. I’ll stick with my little ritual, and do what I usually do. I will ask the Universe, ‘What I should share with the world today?’”
So I did just that. And guess what I picked (eyes shut, randomly, from 100 different cards)?
“Thankfulness is gratitude for all the bounties of life.
Each day we find a moment to count our blessings.
Reflecting on the treasures in our lives lifts our spirits.
Thankfulness soothes our sadness and restores our hope.
It gives us perspective.
As we practice thankfulness, we attract more and more blessings.
Thankfulness is the path to contentment.”
– The Virtues Project
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