Keep an Attitude of Gratitude



Ever found yourself looking over your shoulder and comparing yourself, your relationship, your kids or your business/professional success to those around you?

Does your observation — at least what you see on the surface — make you rethink your current life? Or get you thinking about how you wish your life might be?
I was curious about how many people might actually make these comparisons. So, I conducted another one of my informal polls, asking the question of many people I know well — along with many I do not. The survey result: This tendency to compare ourselves with others is a lot more common than one might think.

I do believe this comparative process is normal from middle school through college. It’s all part of our journey to become unique individuals, although in some cases it can be carried to the extreme. There are schools in our community where kids evaluate and judge one another based on where they live, what their parents do and what kind of car they drive. In my opinion this can become an incubator for developing and perpetuating a superficial and meaningless lifestyle.

As we enter adulthood we usually go through the process of accepting our lives for what they are and ourselves for who we are.

When making comparisons to others, too many evaluate their merits and accomplishments based on how they believe others perceive them. And, without knowing all the facts, it’s easy to convince ourselves that other peoples’ lives are better and more appealing. With the abundance of reality shows on television and the constant bombardment of lifestyle ads, it is also easy to slip into the assumption that your self worth is less than it really is. But don’t fall into that “smoke and mirrors” trap.

The bottom line is that it’s just fine to look at others. But put whatever information you glean from that endeavor to a positive use. Comparisons can serve as motivating factors for us to get a better education, train harder to excel in sports, work smarter to make a company succeed or transform a destructive lifestyle into a healthier and happier one.

When one starts to evaluate his or her value by what we do not have, it is quite easy to overlook what we do have — and who really cares for you.

The “American Dream” is founded on working hard to create a better life. Fortunately, that path to a better life still exists in this country. People want better lives, and they deserve the opportunity to strive for that and make it happen. Ultimately, of course, it’s up to the individual’s vision, decisions made on life’s journey and motivation to make the changes necessary to achieve success.

Our country and its people are beginning to emerge from four dreadful years during which jobs and homes were lost and the spirits of many were dampened or crushed. But there are signs the economy is beginning to return and, as a people, we are again beginning to look forward.

My hope is that the people and families of this region embrace the simplicity and the quality of life that they have. Because having none is not necessarily better.

A Special Note:

I am proud to share some very good news with you. At the recent Florida Magazine Association annual conference, we brought home two awards in one of the most prestigious and difficult-to-win categories — Best Written Magazine (under 50,000 circulation).

We compete with most of the major Florida titles in this category. And for the fourth consecutive year, we have taken home an award in this group. 850 — The Business Magazine of Northwest Florida, which has won a medal in this category for four years running, took second place, and Tallahassee Magazine won third place. They were edged out by Sarasota’s Gulfshore Life. 850 also recently took first place honors for Best Trade/Special Interest Magazine in Florida in a contest run by the Society of Professional Journalists.

It is this recognition that separates our work from all others who try to emulate our publications. Congratulations to our editors, Linda Kleindienst from 850 and Rosanne Dunkelberger from Tallahassee Magazine, for riding on the high road where there is so little traffic!

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