By Wendy Keller
Charmane went to Uganda in 2009, all by herself. Her boyfriend had to work and her girlfriends didn’t want to go. She longed to see the Silverback gorillas. They are embedded in a war-torn country, laced with predators both human and animal. She had to hire guides and guards.
The photo in this post is from her trip, when she visited an orphanage. She came home brimming with stories of gorillas, forests, machetes and the people she had met. Poverty is extreme, violence is common and the things we think are necessities are extravagant luxuries for many people.
All these years later, one of her stories still sticks with me. That in the cab on the way back to the airport, she gave her shoes to the cab driver, because he didn’t own any.
I have always wondered if I would have done the same. (Probably not, since I usually wear high heels and no self-respecting male cab driver is likely to wear those! ha ha!) But of course I mean the principle behind it. The kind of personal ethics that Charmane evidenced when she hurt her own feet hobbling to the airport barefoot. She was in pain for a week coming home. She humbly mentioned how thrilled the guy was with her gift of used women’s shoes.
People all around you are suffering. All the time, I get emails and blog comments from people who are financially on the brink. Yes, I know that what we think is the brink is different than what a Ugandan cab driver might consider it. But what matters is what someone thinks about their own situation, not the facts of it.
Because of my work as a literary agent (www.KellerMedia.com) I deal with a lot of the most famous, most wealthy, most inspiring people in the USA. What I notice they all have in common is this: almost every one of them at some point has mentioned how grateful they are for what they have.
When times are tough, that’s when it is especially important to find things to be grateful for. Sounds so simple that it is almost simplistic. But gaining financial security starts with recognizing how lucky you are already, compared not to people who are way above you but to people who make do with far less.
Try it for a week – pick five things you are grateful for every day and every night – and watch your attitude shift. Once that shifts, watch your external world change with it.
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