“I had the blues because I had no shoes, until upon the street, I met a man who had no feet.” – From Dale Carnegie’s book, How to Stop Worrying and start living.
I have known Harold Abbott for years. He lives at 820 South Madison Avenue, Webb City, Missouri. He used to be my lecture manager. One day, he and I met in Kansas City, and he drove me down to my farm at Belton, Missouri. During that drive, I asked him how he kept from worrying; and he told me an inspiring story that I shall never forget.
“I used to worry a lot,” he said, “but one spring day in 1934, I was walking down West Dougherty Street in Webb City when I saw a sight that banished all my worries. It all happened in ten seconds, but during those ten seconds I learned more about how to live than I had learned in the previous ten years. For two years I had been running a grocery store in Webb City,” Harold Abbott said, as he told me the story. “I had not only lost all my savings, but I had incurred debts that took me seven years to pay back. My grocery store had been closed the previous Saturday; and now I was going to the Merchants and Miners Bank to borrow money, so I could go to Kansas City to look for a job.
I walked like a beaten man. I had lost all my fight and faith. Then suddenly I saw coming down the street a man who had no legs. He was sitting on a little wooden platform equipped with wheels from roller skates. He propelled himself along the street with a block of wood in each hand. I met him just after he had crossed the street and was starting to lift himself up a few inches over the kerb to the sidewalk.
As he tilted his little wooden platform to an angle, his eyes met mine. He greeted me with a grand smile. ‘Good morning, sir. It is a fine morning, isn’t it?’ he said with spirit. As I stood looking at him, I realised how rich I was. I had two legs. I could walk. I felt ashamed of my self-pity. I said to myself if he can be happy, cheerful, and confident without legs, I certainly can with legs.
I could already feel my chest lifting. I had intended to ask the Merchants and Miners Bank for only one hundred dollars. But now I had courage to ask for two hundred. I had intended to say that I wanted to go to Kansas City to try to get a job. But now I announced confidently that I wanted to go to Kansas City to get a job. I got the loan; and I got the job.
“I now have the following words pasted on my bathroom mirror, and I read them every morning as I shave: I had the blues because I had no shoes, until upon the street, I met a man who had no feet.”
Count your blessings – not your troubles
Do you count your blessings, or are you always pondering about your problems? When life gets chaotic and stressful, sometimes it can be really hard to find the light at the end of the tunnel.
About 90% of the things in our lives are right and about 10% are wrong. If we want to be happy, all we got to do is concentrate on the 90% that are right. If we intend to be worried and bitter and have stomach ulcers, just concentrate on the 10%. We seldom think of what we have, but always of what we lack.
Count your blessings is a phrase which means to be grateful for all the good things in life. Life is a blessing in many ways. Gratitude is something that you have to practice regularly, and the more you work at it, the better you’ll get at showing it and reaping its many benefits.
Just the fact that you woke up this morning is plenty to be grateful for because it’s another chance at life. Having a place you can call home and food to eat, that’s another source of gratitude right there. Consider yourself fortunate if you can experience the beautiful sunshine.
Counting your blessings and not your problems is more powerful than you know.