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From the Rat Race to Financial Freedom... A common man's journey
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Tuesday, May 19, 2015

It does not matter how much you have

It does not matter how much you have, what matters is what you do with what you have. 
Like me, you must have heard this umpteen times in your life. It was only until my daughter narrated me its real meaning, that I realised its true power.


It was a get together of a different kind. My 10 year old and her friends made a plan to assemble together on Sunday evening and go out for a treat. Well, considering their age group and the lack of financial freedom, they decided to borrow some money from their parents so that they can go out, freak, have some snacks and enjoy the evening.

The only thing that they did not decide, as a group, was how much money each one is supposed to bring in. So, it was essentially left to each one on their wisdom. My daughter was the youngest in her group. She also had less exposure to what all are the options for eating out. Anyways, the D-Day arrived. Children were all excited. They got ready, and like my fairy, most of them reached the assembly point at a friends house 15 min before the scheduled time.

Soon, the attendance was 100% and off they all went to the market - with their own chaotic chit chat that was hard to decipher for anyone. That's how girls typically are.

"OK, I will first have a small pizza and a cold drink, and then I will see what else can I have? What about you gals?" asserted the leader of the group, Aparna, who must be close to 14 years.

"Well, we are fine with that. We can have the same stuff too !!" came a chorus response from all of the other gang members except one. 
My daughter was wondering about the wrong assumption that she made. She had just brought Rs. 50/- from her home. She thought that they would only have something like a small burger or momos and that's it.

"But I only have Rs. 50/-" 
Somehow she gathered enough courage to declare this to the group.

"Ha ha ha ha....Which world you are in Arpita? You will not get all those in Rs. 50/-. We all got at least Rs. 500/- each and you got Rs. 50/-.... Ha ha ha ha"

Needless to say, she was getting embarrassed. It was just a wrong assumption she made, and now she was in a situation where she cannot do anything. She can neither go back home, nor anyone of her group members would loan her some money.

So, here she was, with less then what she would like to have. But then, she had remembered me telling her many times "It does not matter what you have, what matters is what you do with what you have." She accepted the fact that she had less (money). Now, she was thinking what she can do with this Rs. 50/-. She was thinking how she can effectively put this limited money to the best possible use.

As others ordered pizza and cold drink, she sat back thinking.

"Go and at least get a burger for yourself, and remember that you will only get the cheapest one in this amount....ha ha ha ha.." 
Her friends had a topic to make fun of. They used this topic to have fun for the evening, as Arpita felt humiliated.

She was still thinking, and then, suddenly, she got up, went to the ordering counter and ordered a standard burger with no frills. While the order was under preparation, she came back and sat along with her friends who were all waiting for the delivery of their respective order of pizzas.

"So, you finally ordered a burger..ha ha ha...I think that should be enough for a tummy of your size...ha ha ha" and her friends continued to laugh.

As their orders were being served, Arpita's order was also served. She immediately stood up from the desk and rushed outside leaving her burger on the desk itself.

"What happened to her? Hope she has not felt insulted with whatever we have been saying" 
Their friends murmured. 
"Kavita, Go and fetch her please !! Else she might complaint against us to her parents."

Kavita was about to get up when they saw Arpita entering back in the restaurant. All of her friends heaved a sigh of relief.

"Come, sit here." said Arpita to a young boy who accompanied her from outside.

The boy felt a little shy occupying the seat, was wearing half torn clothes, and was laden with dirt, as if he had not taken bath for several days.

"Who is he? And why have you brought her inside?" Her friends felt a little awkward and inquired so.

"I don't know who is he. The only thing I know is that he is quite hungry and this Rs. 50/- can be truly appreciated by him." 
She remarked, as she passed on the burger tray to her new friend.

Everyone was stunned. There was pin drop silence across the table. The only audible voice was the hurried munching of the burger by this hungry and poor little boy. His eyes were ingrained on the burger and he did not even bother to look who else were sitting around the table.

The boy felt very good after eating the burger. It was the first time that he had eaten anything like this, and that too, inside an air conditioned restaurant. The burger was finished in jiffy. By that time, the pizza orders had also arrived. Arpita's friends were now feeling a little ashamed. At the same time, they realised that Arpita's act was a very noble one and their jazzy pizzas looked feeble in front of Arpita's burger that was given to the needy. They felt good at what Arpita had done for her little friend. She seemed to have really made the best use of her money

Aparna, the leader of the group, who was the first to embarrass Arpita, stood up and immediately offered her pizza to the boy, in case he wanted to eat more. The boy must have been really hungry, so he did not mind. In fact, they got 2 pizzas packed and gave it to the little boy for taking the rest of it home.

The group then shared their pizzas among all members equally and Arpita got her share as well.

She narrated me this story the next day morning, and I told her how proud we, as parents, were of her. And that she has truly proven that "It does not matter how much you have, what matters is what you do with what you have."

It happens with all of us all the time in our life. The money that we have, the family that we have, the situations that we have in life - all of these are different for everyone. If you are feeling unlucky or unfortunate to have less than what you actually desire, then hold on. Rethink. It does not matter how much you have, what matters is what you do with what you have.

If you have a small house, think how you can make the small house the most beautiful small house in your area. If you have a small car, think how it can be the best looking small car in your locality, if you have failed in your exams, think of where all you went wrong, learn from your mistakes and prepare for your next exam and come out with flying colors, if you have been struggling to become successful in your life goals, think of what you have learnt till now, and think how best you can use that knowledge. Even if you have to sweep floors for a living one day, think of how you can bring efficiency, productivity and quality in sweeping floors. Because it does not matter how much you have, what matters is what you do with what you have.

Beethoven, when he was still deaf, compiled the greatest ever music for this world. Einstein was a hunchback and he redefined the subject of science. John Milton was blind when he wrote 'Paradise Lost' - one of the greatest poems of nature. Amitabh Bachchan was refused movies for his height and he is the most sought after actors even at this age, Arnold Schwarzenegger was refused movies for his Russian accent, and went on to become a Hollywood legend.

And there are millions of examples which go on to prove that, in life, It does not matter how much you have, what matters is what you do with what you have.

The book Happiness Unlimited shows you many such lessons to lead a happier, contented life.

Cheers


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