We all have a tendency to focus on the things we want, but don’t have. This is a natural human trait because most people want to be more, do more, and have more. The pull toward growth is a God-given characteristic. But all too often we tend to spend too much time and energy focusing on what we don’t have and we forget about what we already have and how God has blessed us.
Dr. Robert Anthony says that all unhappiness is caused by comparison. I believe he is right. That’s what happened to Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. Their experience is the best example of what I call the “paradise principle.” There they were, literally living in Paradise. They had everything in the garden. It was all theirs to have, use, and experience. All except for one thing-- The fruit on the tree of knowledge of good and evil. Guess what they decided they had to have? Focusing on what you don’t have and ignoring all that you do have can turn a paradise into a purgatory.
Before we become too hard on Adam and Eve we’d better examine ourselves. You don’t have to live in the Garden of Eden to experience the paradise principle. We do the same thing. We become dissatisfied with our cars, our clothes, our homes, our appearance, our bank accounts, even our weather and we turn our paradise into a purgatory. The fact is that no matter how bad our situation is, 90% of the world’s population would trade places with you and I in a heartbeat.
Here’s the other side to the paradise principle-- If you focus on what you do have instead of what you lack, then your current situation becomes more of a paradise. If you’re discontent with your situation, the first thing you need to do is to take inventory of all the blessings you already have and thank God for them. Gratitude is the starting point for receiving more. It really is a matter of what you focus on. Where do you live? Paradise or Purgatory? To a large degree it’s up to you. It has more to do with your attitude than your latitude.