For most of human existence, people have struggled on a minute-by-minute basis for their very survival. After all, humans have been around for thousands of years and Walmart has been here only since 1962. The modern world you and I take for granted, with all its options and conveniences, has existed for only a tiny fraction of the time that people have been walking the Earth.
Can you imagine what it would be like to survive in the wilderness, without clothes, without shelter, without medical care, without Whataburger or Taco Bell, not just for a day or a week, but for your entire life? What if that wilderness was filled with other people who had no inhibitions about killing you to take what little you had, and animals that would be happy to kill you for their next meal?
Think about the implications of living in such an environment. Would you avoid doing necessary tasks because they were to inconvenient or uncomfortable? Would you hold yourself back from achieving anything you could, out of concern about what others might think of you? No, of course not. You would be focused all the time on survival, and you would do whatever that survival required.
Somewhere back in the mists of prehistoric time, you had an ancestor who lived just like that, scratching out an existence from day to day, hour to hour, over the course of an entire lifetime. That ancestor lived long enough and successfully enough to mate with another of your ancestors, producing and raising a child who also survived long enough to have a child of his or her own. As difficult as it may be to imagine life in the wilderness without anything except a few sticks and stones and animal hides, can you imagine caring for a newborn baby in such a world? And yet, someone actually did it. A whole lot of people in your past did it. And because they were able to survive long enough, here you are.
In a very real sense, you are a child of outstanding cumulative success against nearly impossible odds. The next time you’re looking for something to be thankful for, try being thankful for that. Wrap your mind around it and realize how incredibly fortunate you are. Indeed, you are the direct descendant of generations and generations of the world’s most successful people. And those people have left you a supremely valuable legacy.
Though life certainly has its problems, the opportunities and positive possibilities are unprecedented. Consider where you came from, and how fortunate you are to be here. Then get up, get going, and bring your very best possibilities to life.