I watched this clip late last year and saved it to share with you: Every Three Seconds, a film which chronicles the amazing stories of five everyday heroes involved in the anti-poverty movement. It was embedded in this article, which I’ve excerpted for you below–Jill Suttie of Berkley’s Greater Good interviewing Every Three Seconds’ filmaker, Daniel Karslake:
Daniel: I was deeply changed by my first trip to Malawi. Malawi is an extremely poor country, and I went to the poorest parts of Malawi for a story [in the film]. The experience I had there really stunned me. Before I went, I was nervous, because I thought, “I am way too empathetic, and this is going to devastate me. I’m going to come home and just have a depressed life.”
And I had the exact opposite response. I came home completely euphoric, because I realized that people who live day-to-day getting enough food and water for their family will reach a point where, after they’ve secured what they need, they’ll stop striving. And then they’ll sing and dance or they’ll worship or do whatever gives them joy. They have this experience of life that is completely different than mine, because they pay attention to what they have… not what they don’t have.
Before I went to Malawi, I’d been totally conditioned to pay attention to only what I didn’t have. I had a car, but I wanted that car; I had 15 shirts, but I wanted that one. I’d been completely conditioned, and therefore I was hungry in a completely different way. In resource-poor countries people don’t have enough food or medical care; in the West, people are always striving for bigger, better, faster, more—there’s no definition of enough. It’s two kinds of hunger.
I’m really jealous of the people I met in Malawi. There was a contentment, a centeredness I’d never seen before in a human being. I’m not a particularly religious person; but when I was in Malawi, I remember having this lightening bolt moment when I thought, “This is what Jesus meant when he said the poor shall inherit the earth.”
It shifted me in a big way, and I’m really grateful for that.
I loved this excerpt for so many reasons. Not only does it speak to gratitude and truly appreciating what we have, but it flips the switch a bit.
We can absolutely be jealous of the simplicity. The notion of having enough.
If we’re not inspired to make a difference than it’s a waste of everybody’s energy to feel guilty or sorry for people who in many ways have a different kind of more.
Not that I’m suggesting we give up some of our first world comforts, or we all start our own non-profits, we simply need to check and continually recheck our constant desire for more.
Also, I think a great lesson to be learned from this story has to do with productivity. Since our to-do lists only get longer the more we complete, perhaps we should make shorter, more practical lists: “I will feel like a rock star if I get this done today.” 3-5 things max!
And when you’re done. You’re done. Now it’s time to dance and worship, because we truly have all that we need!
I leave you with this: Do you have a better method of productivity that allows you to comfortably disconnect and unwind, please do share, we’re always tweaking;)
Kat Hurley is a transformational author, speaker and personal development coach, making over motivation @The Year of Magical Dreaming. For the full 411, visit kathurley.com, yo!