As this article is posted, the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) is being held in my home of Perth. Between the time of the venue being selected and it occurring this weekend a number of countries (including Australia and the UK) have new leaders. Indeed the pace of change in the world this year is unprecedented.
Virtually nothing can be taken for granted anymore. Last week we saw the demise of Libyan leader Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi after 42 years in power. Earlier this year other long ruling leaders were also deposed. In Spain the ETA has ended its terror activities after 40 years. Anyone predicting this 12 months ago would have been laughed at.
We have also seen numerous natural disasters from the Japanese and New Zealand earthquakes to the Queensland floods and now an earthquake in Turkey and major floods in Thailand. This situation is changing daily and Bangkok, which was initially expected to avoid severe floods, is now facing exactly that. Thousands are being evacuated. Having been to Thailand on numerous occasions my heart certainly goes out to the Thai people at this time.
Those affected by all the natural disasters have in some cases lost everything, but have shown a determination to carry on. Equally those involved in regime change have risked all to build a better life for themselves and their countrymen.
There is a sharp contrast then to the laments of those in the “Occupy wherever” movement. I have no doubt that some of these people do not have the life they would like. Indeed the central theme of the movement seems to have been best summed up by writer Charles Cooke as “…if there is something someone doesn’t like about their life, someone else somewhere should change it. And if they don’t, well then the American dream is dead.”
Apparently one man in New York had a sign, which read, “Throw me a bone – Pay my tuition.” When asked to explain he offered that “ just because that is what I want”. Maybe I should join in and suggest someone pay for my next holiday, as that is just what I want.
Seriously though, the contrast between those with genuine problems and those who feel aggrieved that others have more than them is stark. Through all of human history some people have worked harder than others and some have had good fortune. The two are generally connected. The fact that someone else has more money than me does not mean that they have taken it from me or that I have any claim on it.
The same principle applies in health. Those who have good health have generally looked after themselves. They have chosen to exercise rather than sit on the couch. They have chosen to drive past rather than to drive through. Their good health is a function of their choices.
The world does not owe us good health or a living. We must make the most of the opportunities we get. There will always be those better and worse off than us. To improve our health or our finances requires personal effort rather than sitting around and blaming others.