I was reading a book of the best sports writing of W. C. Hines, famous for his work from the 1940s through the 1970s.
In a profile of former heavyweight boxing champion Floyd Patterson, he asked Patterson about the month he had spent in seclusion at home after losing a championship fight, and how he stopped feeling sorry for himself.
“I was just sitting there, thinking,” Patterson said, “…and I thought about being in Atlantic City one time and going through a hospital for leukemia and blood diseases and cancer, and I specifically remember a girl in the hospital. She had leukemia. Cancer. The doctor was showing me through the wards, and he brought me into this little girl’s room and she had a tube running through her arms and whatnot, and he said she was about four and she was small for a four-year-old girl and you’d think she was just born. She was just nothing but bones, and as I walked out of the room and upon viewing this, I remember the doctor saying to me it would be a miracle if she should live past tonight or tomorrow. After thinking about this, I thought, ‘Who am I to feel sorry for myself? I should get down on my knees and thank God for the things I do have, and actually all I did was lose a fight, and I got paid for the fight and I have a beautiful home, and all the things the average man would want and even more. So, why should I feel sorry for myself?'”
I’m not suggesting you go around looking for people who have it worse than you. I am more inclined to suggesting thinking, like Patterson did, of all the things you are grateful for. If looking at those less fortunate helps you realize all you have, then by all means do that—perhaps by spending time volunteering helping others, for example at a homeless shelter.
Spending time helping others is one of the greatest happiness habits. Thinking about, and making gratitude lists—lists of what you are grateful for—is another great happiness habit. It’s something worth doing every morning when you wake up, or every night before you go to bed. If you don’t want to do it every day, put a reminder on your calendar to do it once a week. Doing so today is a great way to start the year.
What are some things you grateful for? Please join the conversation with your comments…