It could be worse

I’m having a year that is so bad it is reaching near epic proportions. At various points I’ve told myself things can’t get any worse – they invariably have. This is the house that I grew up in, it blew up yesterday.

Three firefighters injured in explosion while tackling fire in Nutley, near Uckfield

For a bit of context into how bad things are: the fact that I’m currently without an income ranks about number 5 in my list of concerns. Not that I’m not worried about it – it is quite a pressing concern – but I have 4 things significantly worse to worry about at any one time.

The other day, in the early hours of the morning I was staring at the ceiling wondering what exactly I’d done to deserve all this. Which black cat I had kicked under a ladder straight into a mirror. Then I started wondering who in the world would want to change places with me at the moment? Who in the world would want to deal with all of the rubbish that has drifted my way in the past year?

The answer is probably millions (if not billions) of people.

I live in an affluent country, in a nice town, I can afford to eat and I’ve got a wife and daughter so lovely that it is only ever my faults and foibles stopping us from a perfect family.

In the near future I’ll have a job again – either based on my smarts, my awesome CV (goo.gl/fySbh) or my incredible good looks. If I’m honest, it’s probably going to be the looks.

Some of the other problems will have resolved themselves, some of them won’t – but I’ll have a roof over my head, food and a loving family. That is more than many people will have, possibly more than most.

Next time you have a bad day (the train is running late, you stepped in chewing gum on the way home, it wasn’t a very productive meeting) try and work out just where your day would fit – compared the rest of the world’s population – on a scale of good to bad days. I’ll bet you are in the 95th percentile.

It could be worse couldn’t it? Go home, chat to your friends and family, open a bottle of wine. Enjoy the summer. And sleep well.

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12 thoughts on “It could be worse

  1. A stunning and searing affirmation of what really counts and how resilient we can be if we avoid self-pity. Beautiful write David. (At least you have the looks: have you seen my avatar?)

  2. I’m very much enjoying this blog hot streak at the moment Dave – and looking forward to the inevitable what Game of Thrones can tell us about HR (mainly don’t work with family).

    Having seen some of your annis horribilus up close, I can testify it’s not pretty. I like the idea of comparing yourself to those with less than you and counting your blessings. But I think it’s really hard to do long term. It is for me anyways….and, tying this in to the workplace, I guess if people didn’t covet as a matter of course motivating people would be a lot harder. It seems to me a lot of companies use this innate unhappiness people have with their lot to keep things running – “look at the boss who earns more than you…shouldn’t you work harder to get a promotion so you can have as much as him?” In most places where I’ve worked someone who is only treading water in their career is seen as a lost cause.

    I blame Darwin.

    • I think like anything it’s about habit and perspective. We are lucky enough to live in a lovely part of the country (I mean, you live near a lovely part of the country…) and we can either drive past the REALLY big houses and get depressed that we might never get there, or we can pass the Big Issue seller and realise that they would give anything for what we have.

      I think there is something here about internal and external scorecards. You get to judge the success of your own life – so if you want to tread water at work that’s fine – because the point of life is to be happy, not to be promoted. If you let others set the criteria for success, well, you’ll spend an awful lot of time not enjoying the success that others would relish. That seems a waste.

      Luckily, we both have families that put up with us Tom!

  3. I can really feel for you as I’m too going through a ‘it can’t get any worse’ year. But what I have learned is to stay true to yourself, enjoy what you can in life and just take one day at a time. Hope things look up for you soon!

  4. […] David D'Souza opens the dialogue this week with a post that at first blush might seem disheartening, yet read on. David put is more eloquently than I can, but let me borrow from George Bailey in summing it up: “no man is a failure who has friends.” Count on a compelling story, but don't count on dry eyes. David thoughts are @DDS180 […]

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