I have been thinking lately about the state of the world around me, a common issue that I ponder. Specifically, I have noticed the growing sense of entitlement all around me. A few months ago I saw a brief video from Conan O’Brien, where a comedian was saying that the problem with the world these days is that “everything’s amazing, and nobody’s happy.” The more I think about it, the more I agree.
It seems that we have had so much, for so long that we have forgotten that we have all that we do because we are blessed and have started to believe that we have it all, because we deserve it. I get bothered when the Internet in the café I am in right now takes more than 30 seconds to get to a page. I am bothered when the traffic takes me 10 minutes longer than I think that it should. But why am I really bothered by these things? If I really get down to the heart of the issue, I am bothered because I think that I am supposed to have things go quickly and smoothly. I deserve it. When I really think about it, it is the most selfish, unhealthy attitude I could possibly have.
I’m also really bothered by a lack of humility that I see all around me. People who quickly come up with a prescriptive answer for any problem I face, and even innocuous comments like “You need to read this book,” quickly touch a sore place in my psyche. If I really examine it though, I am bothered because I do that too. I am prescriptive and puffed up, maybe not more than anyone else, but more than I should be.
Lately, I’ve felt a sense that I need to do something big, some project that will have a lasting effect on me and the world around me. Not just growing the American Dream, or career-wise, but something bigger, something A.J. Jacobs big…something Morgan Spurlock big. It has to be something that will jolt me out of my everyday routine, but something that means something. I think I’ve found it.
I’ve come up with an idea I’m calling “The Gratitude Project.” It’s a challenge, just for myself. I’m going to spend a year, the next 365 days trying to shake myself from an entitled, self-absorbed, consumerist mentality. I’m going to take daily steps to challenge myself, and monthly projects that are a little bit bigger and somehow costly, and I’m going to blog about it every step of the way.
I don’t know how it will all work itself out. In reality, this project may look a lot different in month 3 than it does tomorrow, but I’m going to see where God leads it all.