Once, a person who worked in the same office building as me shared with me some experience about his life and how he has developed optimism in life and faith in God.
When he was young, he was a bad boy- he was involved in gangsterism and have beaten people up. He had also done a short stint at the jail.
Later he went into business and was very successful. At the top, he was bad tempered, drank alcohol, smoked and was all high and mighty. He had the life of the rich where he could buy anything his heart desired.
Then as quick as his business rose to success, it suddenly ran into difficulties and was forced to close down. He incurred a lot of debts and hit rock bottom.
In that darkest period of his life, he found God and became a Christian. Because of his strong faith, he got up, dusted himself and decided to overhaul his entire life.
Instead of going back to business, he went and work as an employee. Because of his education level, he was not able to work in a white collar job. But he always dresses well and he is a valuable employee because he is good at what he does and fixes.
I took the chance to ask him some questions and the conversation went something like this:
Me: You seemed perfectly contended that what you are doing. Don’t you want to go back to start a business or something?
J: Perhaps later when the time is right. But now, I look forward to valuing, relaxing and enjoying life. I had been there before and I can tell you that being rich does not mean that you are happy. I was terribly unhappy that time. Now, I am happy with the way I am and smile a lot. I am in my mid forties and don’t want to waste my life being unhappy….
Me: But you don’t look your age at all….
J: The secret is being happy, maintaining a positive outlook in life and smile always! You know, I never realize that smiling and being happy can really make you look much younger until I hear it at a radio show this morning. During weekends when people see me dancing (a pastime that he really enjoys) for few hours non stop, they are very surprised at my stamina. Even the younger ones find it hard to keep up
(really, I’ve never seen the guy tired- he’s always walking around with lots of energy- even at the end of the day. Outside work, he is involved in voluntarily community service and socialises with friends).
Me: Honestly, don’t you sometimes wish that you can afford things that you once could?
J: I’ve seen so many high income earners paying the price with their health. Because the pressure to keep that income or want to earn more pushes them to work themselves too hard with no life. What’s the point of being so rich if you can’t really enjoy what you’ve earned? Anyway, at least I’ve known how it was like to be really rich and that experience is good enough for me.
Me: And aren’t you worry that you may need more money? With the pay, you may not be able to cover for emergencies.
J: I have complete trust and faith in God. I know that no matter what, God will take good care of me. That day, someone asked me for help to climb a high place where the structure is quite weak. I did it but before I do, I say a prayer to God to ask for protection and then a prayer of thanks after that for being ok.
Good and bad things happen but we can choose to be happy or miserable. It’s really a choice and it’s up to us. When bad things happened, there’s no use in dwelling on it. Life’s too short- we really don’t know what will happen tomorrow.