Be the Hero: Three Powerful Ways to Overcome Challenges in Work and Life by Blumenthal Noah

Be the Hero: Three Powerful Ways to Overcome Challenges in Work and Life by Blumenthal Noah

Author:Blumenthal, Noah [Blumenthal, Noah]
Language: eng
Format: mobi
Publisher: Berrett-Koehler Publishers
Published: 2009-08-06T16:00:00+00:00

The Hospital

Martin pushed himself away from the rail and took one last long look around. As he finished perusing the scenery he said, “One thing you should know is what you choose to see matters a great deal.”

With that he turned and began to walk down a new path leading out of the park. Jeff hurried to keep up and tried to absorb Martin’s last words. He looked around at the scenery. He wanted to enjoy his last few moments of time in the park, but he kept thinking about the stories of envy.

He looked at the people they passed — men and women, old and young, some well-dressed, others not. Nothing struck him one way or another.

Then they were out of the park, and Martin was leading him down streets that were unfamiliar. They were fewer than ten blocks from his office, but this was a direction Jeff just didn’t travel.

The people were a little younger and a little less well dressed. Then Jeff saw a couple of homeless people, and he assumed he understood the lesson. He was so intent on his thoughts, he didn’t notice when Martin stopped walking, and he nearly bumped into him.

“I’ve got it Martin. I understand. In the park we saw people who have a lot more than I have. If we keep going further north from here, the neighborhood gets a lot poorer. We’ve already passed a couple of homeless people. There are people in this world who don’t have a lot. If I think about them, I’ll feel better about my own situation.”

Martin nodded his head. “That’s part of it. You can think about the story of your situation in two ways. You just described the first, which is about looking outward. When you look outward you compare yourself to others. You have either a pretty good life or a pretty poor life, depending on which direction you look. Back at the park we could look up at the penthouse apartments. When we look in that direction we will feel frustrated with our lives. Here, just a few blocks away, we can look at homeless people. That comparison will make us feel fairly fortunate.”

“OK,” Jeff said. “I understand the idea, but can I challenge you?”

“I’d be disappointed if you held back. What’s up?”

“It’s just this feels a little Pollyanna to me. I mean, am I supposed to be happy because I’m not homeless? It reminds me of my mother telling me to be happy I had Brussels sprouts because there were starving people in the world.”

“Hey, I like Brussels sprouts,” Martin said with a mock hurt tone, “but I understand what you’re saying. Comparing yourself to others to see how fortunate you are works for some situations and not for others. I also find that for me it helps for the comparison to be closer to home. Starving people on the other side of the planet may not be as meaningful as a homeless person you pass on the street every day.


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