Even in a recession, most American’s are spoiled; at least, if you ask those in poorer nations. The fact is, Americans take things for granted, considering luxury items in other countries as average “haves”; cars, shelter, food, and power among them. Despite many Americans being out of work and living hand to mouth due to the recession, there is still a lot we can learn from those in less fortunate nations, potentially redefining our definition of the word “prosperity”.
There is a lot of complaining and online banter nowadays from folks about not having enough money to go out to the movies or go shopping or even get a cup of coffee at their local Starbucks. Of course, the irony is that they are complaining on laptops or computers with internet access; things that those in poorer nations would give an eye tooth to have, even for a moment. If these folks would spend more time being grateful about what they do have, instead of what they don’t have or what they aren’t able to do, what they lack seems a lot less powerful.
Moreover, despite the fact that foreclosures are reaching catastrophic proportion, many Americans are able to stay off the streets. The homeless rate in our nation is far less than impoverished areas; Americans still have a place to live or a place to stay, even in light of losing a home. Yet, instead of being grateful for this, many folks are too busy being angry or bitter about their situation that they fail to see the grace that exists all around them.
In less fortunate countries, they are grateful for every dime, every opportunity and every day they are alive. Being full of grace instead of bitter and angry, helps those with less lead more fulfilling lives than those of us with noses buried in laptops, doing nothing more than complaining.
Even while our country is experiencing higher unemployment rates than what we have seen in 30-years, our overall economy is improving and new jobs created every day. Yet, the people of America still complain. The harsh truth is that many Americans currently unemployed aren’t jobless because they have to be. In other countries, necessity is the mother of invention, and people will do whatever it takes to put food on the table and care for their families. In fact, many folks in America are so busy looking for a job they “want”, they are frivolously passing by opportunities because they believe those opportunities are “beneath them”.
In poor countries, it isn’t uncommon for people to have two or three jobs at a time. These people work hard, for pitiful amounts each day, but they are still grateful and happy for what they have, regardless of the type of work they are doing. Americans could learn a lot from working at a local grocer or fast-food line, instead of complaining about not being able to find suitable employment in an office or as a CEO. People in poor nations create opportunities, in even worse economic conditions than what we face on our own soil, and yet we complain, we litter and we waste.
When people from poor countries immigrate to America, they are astounded at the amount of money our heterogeneous population wastes on unneeded expenses. People used to living off $4.00 per day, come to America, continue frugal living and start small businesses, often becoming quite successful. The American people could learn a lesson in frugality from adverse economic climates, and discover the benefits of frugal living for long-term prosperity.
Those living without don’t waste, they don’t throw away food or clothes because they are “tired of it”, they use everything they have, until it cannot be used anymore. Ultimately, spending less because of it, and avoiding frivolity.
The trouble is, that most Americans won’t take any of this advice to heart. They are so busy worrying about where the money for their next roll of bathroom tissue is coming from that they forget there are many people without a place to sleep, without bathroom tissue and without the opportunities afforded daily to the American people. Indeed, if the general public would stop and think, they might just be surprised and profoundly grateful for what they have; this knowledge might bring them to a new definition of prosperity. We can only hope.