I want to share a story that will act as a metaphor for how many of us lead our lives.
I am not a heavy user of dairy products, but I used to have yogurt every morning and some milk in my coffee. One of my former colleagues used to take a pill before every meal. I finally asked him why. He said that he was lactose intolerant. I didn’t think about it after that. A few weeks later, we talked about it again and I asked him when he discovered that he was lactose intolerant. He told me he discovered it when he was 27 years old.
27 years old! What? I had no idea. I always assumed lactose intolerance would be something discovered during childhood. It need not be though. As the condition suggests, there are varying degrees of intolerance. If you are severely intolerant or allergic, then yes, it would be caught during early childhood. But for others, it can be an intolerance mild enough to function normally but severe enough to cause gastrointestinal problems.
I never would have thought that I could be lactose intolerant. But armed with a chance encounter and a mind that questions everything, I decided to conduct an experiment on myself. I stopped consuming all dairy products cold-turkey and within a couple of weeks the change was dramatic. My stomach and intestines felt much, much better! I could very easily have gone through my entire life with these gastrointestinal problems. I have already lived with the discomfort until now, right?
So, good for me. What is the lesson learned here?
How many things do you do in your daily life, perhaps unknowingly, that cause you harm in the short-run and/or long-run? Sure, we know smoking is bad. But there are more subtle examples. What about your posture while you’re sitting down? The food you’re eating? How you communicate with your loved-ones? How are you breathing?
We all have had the experience of being forced to confront something taken as status quo. Maybe it was a relationship or job. Hopefully the decision to change your behavior or environment resulted in a happier you even if it’s not what you initially wanted. What subtle, status quo things could you change resulting in a happier you?
Having an attitude where you question everything makes you more perceptive and receptive to your environment. Use this to question what small changes in your environment could make you happier. In my case, I am definitely happier not having to deal with gastrointestinal problems all day! But it could be confronting a pet peeve, exercising, or consuming more zing or omega-3s. It’ll be different for everyone. But put on your lab coat and make yourself the guinea pig! You only get one chance at this life, so make it interesting! Even if all your experiments fail, you will have learned more about yourself in the process. That’s always good.
What do you think? Have you made a small change in the past that resulted in disproportionate happiness? Share your comment below!