For the last 5 years there’s been a constant stream of news about the abuses of the top 1%, the decline of the middle class, and how unlivable the current minimum wage is for the middle class. The debate over health care led tour entire government shutting down for three weeks. The central theme of so many blog posts and status updates is that the super-rich are making things really bad for the rest of us.
I’m not disagreeing that there are examples of the super-rich abusing their power. But can we get a little perspective on how rich all of us are? Can we step back for a moment and look at our circumstances in light of the rest of the world and in light of human history?
- If you’re reading this you’re probably in the western world.
- If you’re reading this you’re probably in the 21stcentury (unless time travel is real).
So if you’re reading this, you’re already rich. Get some perspective and put your complaints in context…
A LITTLE PERSPECTIVE ON HOW RICH YOU ACTUALLY ARE
If you live off of minimum wage in the United States., you are making more money annually than over 75% of the people on the people on the earth. It may seem low in you local context, but you are top earner globally. Compared to the world, our hungry and homeless have things far better than the rest of the world.
Each year I spend some time in the Navajo nation doing service work. The church I work with obtained running water within the late year. Prior to that they only had out houses. Let me repeat that…the church I work with in the Navajo Nation which functions as the local food bank only received running water within the late 12 months. They’ve had electricity for less the last 10 years. And the Navajo Nation is within the US boarders.
Now consider what developing nations face…
- If you make $10,000 per year, you are wealthier than 84% of the world. CITE
- If you make $34,000 per year as an individual or $136,000 as a family of four, you’re in the global top 1%. CITE
- Over half of the world live on less than $2.50 per day. CITE
- The current global poverty line is only $1.25 per day. CITE
Click on this picture to learn more about entire regions of the world living off of $1 per day.
I’ll put this simply, if you can afford to have access to the internet, you’re richer than most of the world. It’s that simple.
So why do we feel so under privileged?
TWO PERSPECTIVES ON WEALTH
There are two ways to look at what you have.
- I am thankful for what I already have
- I am frustrated by what I don’t have
The direction of your focus WILL determine how you see think and feel about the world around you!
The first mindset focuses on all that you already have and is grateful. Whether we’re talking about money and stuff or opportunities or your physical body. A thankful mindset is content with what they’ve already been given. This isn’t to say there is a lack of ambition or drive to progress, but their foundational mindset is that they are thankful.
However, our natural bent is to look to our left and to our right and compare ourselves to other people. We naturally focus our attention on what others have and we don’t have. We ignore all that we’ve already been given, and instead put our focus on what we want more of. One of the big reasons that most people are discontent is that their focus is constantly on what they don’t have instead of focusing on what they do have.
When your focus is on what you don’t have, it’s an endless cycle of discontentment. Someone will always have more money than you. Someone will always be better looking than you. Something new is always been released. You can’t keep up with your desire for more. All you can do is change your thinking to focus thankfulness instead of envy.
The direction of your focus will shape your attitude towards the world around you.
- Are you thankful for what you do have or are you frustrated by what you don’t have?
- Are you driven by envy or thankfulness?
When you look at how blessed we are in the West and in the 21st century, it’s very difficult stay in a state of discontentment without feeling very petty. We have so much to be thankful for. Don’t let a stagnant economy and corrupt business men fog up the truth.
If you are reading this you are already rich!
Be thankful for what you already have!
Better one handful with tranquility than two handfuls with toil and chasing after the wind. – Solomon