How Much Does It Take?
Once upon a time, there lived a King who, despite his luxurious lifestyle, was neither happy nor content. One day, the King came upon a servant who was singing happily while he worked. This fascinated the King; why was he unhappy and gloomy, while a lowly servant had so much joy? The King asked the servant, “Why are you so happy?” The man replied, “Your majesty, my family and I don’t need very much – just a roof over our heads and warm food to fill our bellies.”
The king was not happy with that reply. Later in the day, he sought the advice of his most trusted advisor. After hearing the King’s woes and the servant’s story, the advisor said, ”Your Majesty, I believe the servant is not part of The 99 Club.” The 99 Club? What exactly is that? “ the King inquired. The advisor replied, “Your Majesty, to truly know what The 99 Club is, place 99 gold coins in a bag and leave it at the servant’s doorstep.”
The King did as was suggested. When the servant saw the bag, he took it into his house and opened the bag. He let out a shout of joy…so many gold coins! He began to count and after several counts, he was finally convinced there were only 99 coins. He wondered, “What could have happened to the last gold coin? Surely, no one would leave only 99 coins.”
He looked everywhere he could, but that final coin was elusive. Finally, he decided he was going to have to work harder than ever to earn that gold coin and complete his collection. From that day, the servant’s life was changed. He was overworked, horribly grumpy, and criticized his family for not helping him make that 100th gold coin. He stopped singing while he worked.
Witnessing the drastic transformation, the King was puzzled. When he sought his advisor’s help, the advisor said, “Your Majesty, the servant has officially joined The 99 Club. The 99 Club is a name given to those people who have enough to be happy but are never content. They are always yearning and striving for that extra one, telling themselves: “Let me get that one final thing and I will be happy for life.”
The question was asked, “How much does it take to make a man happy?” The answer was, “Just a little bit more!”
While we need to constantly have goals and visions before us, for which we are reaching, we also need to learn to be content and thankful for the blessings we have and the things we have already achieved to this point, instead of being totally consumed with a drive for more money, higher status, more toys, a bigger car or more friends.
Ninety-nine times out of one hundred, the list of good things in your life will be much longer than the list of bad things in your life. It’s just so easy to focus on the bad. We are so much quicker to view the negative. It’s so natural to see what’s NOT done rather than what has been done. It’s in our nature to complain when things don’t go like we think they should go!
There is a fine line between being diligent and dedicated to our work and becoming obsessed with the end goals. That line is in a different place for each individual and we can cross it without knowing that we have crossed it.
Somehow we have to find a balance between being driven to succeed and taking time to appreciate what we have already accomplished! What good is it to achieve a goal if we forget to take the time to enjoy the fruit of that accomplishment? What a waste to fulfill a dream and not slow down enough, if only for a short time, to bask in the sunshine that only comes from hard work and a commitment to seeing a personal goal being accomplished!
We are at our very best, and we are happiest, when we are fully engaged in work we enjoy on the journey toward the goal we’ve established for ourselves. It gives meaning to our time off and comfort to our sleep. It makes everything else in life so wonderful, so worthwhile.