Some time ago, I watched Chris Martenson’s The Crash Course in economics. It was quite informative. One thing that I distinctly remember was his view that we live in better circumstances than kings and queens of old.
Take, for example, one of his arguments about the energy required to power a light bulb. An exercise bike recently told me that I can pedal at a reasonable pace to produce 100 watts of energy. Big deal, right? Well consider every light bulb in your place of residence. Martenson says that every time you flick on the light switch, it is as if you have one slave pedalling away for you to keep that light on.
Now think of all the appliances and machines you have around the house that turn on when you want them to or run around the clock – your TV, computer, refrigerator, washing machine, car – it’s as if you had a group of slaves working away for you. Work gets done for you and you barely have to lift a finger.
From time to time, I remind myself of how fortunate we are. Remembering back to what you can’t live without, so many of these “other things” are just luxuries.
Interestingly, the OECD has recently ranked Australia as top of its Better Life Index, which consist of eleven topics that they have defined as essential for current living conditions and quality of life. If you are Australian, like me, consider yourself amongst some of the luckiest in the world.
And the next time your internet drops out, you get stuck in traffic or your phone battery dies, just remind yourself of what you do have. And when you do it, mean it. It will help the frustration to dissipate.