Being Grateful

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I was thinking about replacing the brake vacuum pump on my van last week and was thinking about how difficult it would be for the average guy.  I was talking to Catherine about it and, admittedly, she said that there is no way that she could do it.

I proposed a scenario where she was locked in a room, prison-like, with only the automobile tools, van and the new pump. She couldn’t leave until the pump was installed and van running.  She said it would be a life sentence, and I somewhat agreed.

There were a couple tricky automobile situations with the pump that would have stumped her. Releasing the serpentine belt would have been difficult.  Then, the two lower bolts had been rounded by some other mechanic and it was super lucky, and really difficult, getting them off without disassembling the whole front end of the van and cutting them off.

I’m not sure if it would have taken her years to do the job, but it would have been weeks for sure.

And here’s the deal.  Catherine is really smart.  She is an attorney and a critical thinker.  But she has nothing in her head about repairing automobiles.  Or mechanical situations in general.  She wasn’t raised in an environment, or had the exposure, to any knowledge of how things work, thus, she doesn’t do things like this.  It doesn’t mean she can’t, but it means that it is super difficult, nearly impossible for her.

We each have our brake vacuum pump issues.  For most of us, law would be too much.  Or sewing.  If someone locked us in a room and said we would have to construct a perfect expedition jacket, it would probably take us weeks, months or years to carry out.

What we have to realize as a society, that our society has many people who are missing certain abilities to participate as we think they should.  Things as simple as not getting pregnant at 13 or being able to fill out a simple form or keeping a roof over their head, is beyond their abilities.

We should, and are, trying to keep everyone up to speed at the basics, but we really need to understand that the basics are beyond what some people have the ability to do.

We shouldn’t belittle these people or cast them out.  We need to understand and accept them. They might be lost doing simple things, but they might be the ones that can change the brake pumps that we all have.  We need to embrace them, feel and act on our responsibility for them, and give them all the help they deserve.

I heard a podcast that did a study of silver and bronze medalists at the 1992 Olympics games.  It said that the bronze medalists were much happier than the silver medalists, which sort of seemed strange, but not really.

It said the rationale was that the silver medalists were comparing themselves to the gold medal winners and were doing  what-ifs.  The bronze medalists, on the last step of the podium, were just happy to not be in the huge group of no medal winners, so they were much happier.

I think looking at life that way is good for all of us.  Perceive you situation as you’re the bronze medalist in life.  As I’ve said here before, we all have already won the life lottery.  If you’re reading this right now, you have more and are in a better life situation, than 80% of the planet’s population.

So, even if you consider yourself poor and struggling here, you need to realize that you really are already at least the bronze medalist and maybe even the silver medalist, at life.  And all the people, the billions that aren’t on the podium with you, have it much worse.

I heard someone say that being grateful is a huge part of being healthy and happy.  I had never thought of it, but it is so true.

We all have tons of things to be grateful about.  And once we are grateful, it allows us to put ourselves into others shoes, which will lead to empathy and compassion.  We should make it a point to acknowledge that, on a daily basis.  It will make us much more grounded, and happy souls.

Have a great Thanksgiving!

Here's the new part.

Here’s the new part.

And it seems so simple, it just has to go here.

And it seems so simple, it just has to go here.

I am grateful for having breakfast like this already today.

I am grateful for having breakfast like this already today.

Have can you not be grateful for pie? Pie is my favorite food group.

How can you not be grateful for pie? Pie is my favorite food group.





19 thoughts on “Being Grateful

  1. Ted

    Same as ones health – we’re not grateful for it – until we get sick or have a serious illness.

    Happy Thanksgiving to you Steve!!!

  2. Kevin

    Happy Thanksgiving Steve, I’m grateful for an awful lot not least of which is reading posts like this. A great post and a great reminder of all the things most of us have to be thankful for.

  3. Craig

    Tilford, sometimes you say shit on this blog that makes me shake my head and wonder why I return … then you pull one of these out and I know why I return … damn straight, great observations.

    Thank you too!

  4. Paul Anders

    Happy thanksgiving, enjoy your blog. FYI: Masters CX worlds is in Lake Cunningham Park in San Jose Jan 23-24 2016.

  5. Jeff Unruh

    Well said! Grateful everyday for my situation, the people I work with, etc. Thankful for the cycling community and all the characters it brings.

  6. Russell

    Happy Thanksgiving Steve Trudi Catherine Keith and Chris! A very nice post for the day.
    Sitting in a remote canyon in southern Arizona. I’ve got one bar, but the beauty of your blog is I can read several of your posts and hundreds of replies with very little service.
    This one was a particular pleasure. That’s the Steve we know.

  7. Jeff Butterfield

    I nominate this post for your post Hall of Fame.

    Regarding the pump replacement, I’d be looking at a long stay, too. Things mechanical or in the construction trades tend to challenge me; but thankfully we are a world of specialists–some with more specialties in their quiver than others–so at those times I turn to the experts, and when the job is done and I hand them a check, I always go an extra step and thank them for their mastery. Like I told the last guy that built something for us: “It blows be away that a truckload of raw materials was delivered, then, like magic, you did your thing, and now we end up with this. Amazing”

  8. Adam

    Gratitude is the least common attitude I experience in my daily experience. From the customers to the witch I work for they all have a sense of entitlement and behave like complete dicks. Life is too easy in this country (USA) and many of the people I deal with in my line of work (car sales) just take it all for granted. We have a choice in how we respond to the adversity in our lives and it would be really nice if people would wake the fuck up and just be happy with what they have instead feeling entitled to their STUFF. Material things don’t define who we are and those who don’t realize this are the shallow idiots that are all too common in American society. Happy Black Friday everyone!


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