Years ago I read Warren Buffett’s biography called “The Snowball: Warren Buffett and the Business of Life” and there was a particular story that stuck with me. There were a lot of stories and anecdotes that made me stop, think and reflect, but this one in particular struck a chord. I’ll summarize as best I can.
At this point in the book Warren Buffett had made a size-able fortune, nearing the top of the “World’s Richest” lists. Anyone who’s spent time reading up on Warren Buffett would learn about his somewhat quirky personality, and discover the humbleness that seems to direct his life. I won’t go into much detail, but we’re talking about someone who, despite being worth 10’s of billions of dollars, prefers to drive older, used cars and still lives in his modest sized childhood home. He could teach many that living with passion, honesty, integrity and discovering what makes you individually happy, is key; not your net worth. Anyway, I’m getting pulled down a different rabbit hole. Let’s get back to it.
So, Warren Buffett is hanging out in China with Bill and Melinda Gates. Bill had invited Buffett on an extravagant sightseeing trip across the country. What struck me is the thought that Warren expressed about the young man who was responsible for pushing/paddling their boat. This person, doomed to be pushing boats, was trapped in a communist country that had already planned his life for him; no matter how smart he was. It didn’t matter how many skills and passions lay dormant inside his potentially gifted mind. Warren could have very well been sitting beside the next Warren Buffett; the next Bill Gates; the next Einstein.
Putting It Into Perspective
As I walk around my neighbourhood; as I go to work, go in and out of different businesses, I can’t help but pay attention to what it is that causes people to get worked up; to lose their patience, become annoyed, and to feel as if they’ve been wronged and inconvenienced. As I’ve started to put these inconveniences into perspective I’ve noticed my tolerance towards things, people, or events that would normally annoy me has risen.
It’s tough to deny the fact that if you were born into western civilization you’ve won the ovarian lottery.
When I was brought into this world I could have easily opened my eyes in (insert African Country Name). I could have come to consciousness in Afghanistan, Iraq, Russia, or a poor region in India. You could have too. But we didn’t. We came to be in North America…
What a relief eh?
Can you feel the weight lifted off your shoulders?
We Live Like Kings…Damn, Hell, Ass, Kings!
We have it good, so good. Better than any other time in human history. Hell, we have it better than the kings and queens of centuries past. We, the peasants, the proles, are now as blessed and privileged as the royals; even more so.
I don’t know. Maybe it’s a silly thought, but I try to remind myself of this regularly. We are more connected than ever before, yet the walls around our minds and experiences seem to grow ever taller and thicker.
Think About It
Next time you go to turn on your tap for a glass of cold, fresh, clean drinking water take a minute to marvel at the convenience that’s taken for granted in that simple action. Do you know what’s involved to make that luxury – one of the most basic, yet important, necessities in the western world – seem so leisurely?
Well, that pretty much sums it up.
Now go out and get it.