I decided to take a break from the CrossFit series to write about something that’s been bothering me for awhile.
Back in the days of XSport, I was walking from my car into the gym. As I neared the entrance, a Porsche sped by me and came to a screeching halt in a handicap space. The guy inside hung a handicap sign on his rear-view mirror before jogging into the gym ahead of me. Maybe he thought that I was going to get his treadmill.
But what got my attention was his license plate: FMYLIFE.
I don’t have to tell you what the “F” stands for. This phrase usually gets abbreviated to “FML”. The acronym got traction when someone started a website for people to share stories of their everyday failures. Every post ends with the letters FML.
I see it in Facebook statuses all the time. I know it’s not meant to be taken literally. According to Urban Dictionary, it is “an easier, faster way of saying something when nothings going your way.” I usually read it as, “here’s another reason why my life is the worst.”
Seems harmless, right? But what happens to us when our primary reaction to everyday failures is not to learn from them, but instead to say, “FML”?
Maybe what happens is that we become people who buy Porsches and still write FMYLIFE on the license plate.
In other words, we are blind to our blessings. We focus on our deficiencies rather than our abundance.
If you have ever been to an impoverished country, then perhaps you have had the visceral experience of realizing that the people have so much less than you do and yet seem so much happier. Why are they so happy? Is it because they don’t know what they’re missing? Is it because they have killed their desire, taught themselves not to want anything anymore? Maybe it is because they approach life with an attitude of thankfulness instead of entitlement.
I read about a study involving Olympic medalists. Its findings: bronze medalists are happier than silver medalists. Why? Because the silver medalists tended to focus on the fact that they could have won a gold medal and it produced feelings of disappointment. The bronze medalists tended to focus on the fact they almost didn’t win any medal and it produced feelings of gratitude.
Where is your focus? Is it on the stuff you aren’t, the stuff that you don’t have? If you compare yourself to other people, there will always be people with more, and you will always feel empty and incomplete.
But if you realize that everything is a gift, you will approach your life with a grateful joy, a holy greed to take the years that are given to you and to spend them well.
Think of the life that you have been entrusted with. You don’t have to be here. You are. It is a gift that you are here. Be thankful.
The other day I listened to a story about a blind dad who tried to take his newborn baby on a walk. It made me thankful for my eyes.
Here’s to eliminating FML from our vocabulary.
Question: What’s a good acronym to replace FML?