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It is so easy to look at the world around us and think “How am I ever going to succeed?”

In a world that encourages everyone and everything to be the same, where is there room to be an individual? When is it possible to be happy if there is always so much stress and anxiety?

When the focus is put on being a person who owns the best house, the best car, and the best of everything, then it is so easy to fall into this trap. You might think “I am not good enough because I don’t have the best of everything.”

Guess what? The best things in life are not the shiny new trinkets. They are very convenient for sure, but are they ABSOLUTELY necessary? No, because life goes on without them. You don’t have to check your Facebook for the 5th time today. You don’t have to read if Susan broke up with Andrew. You don’t have to watch the latest episode of Game of Thrones.

So stop and think for a minute or two: What would it be like if there was nothing? What if the only ones in the universe were you and your family?

Try it sometimes. Put all that aside for a little while and go play a board game with your family. Or better yet, go look through old family photos. Let yourself laugh and have fun. It’s okay, really. Focus on the goodness you already have.

(This post was inspired by this writing prompt, which asks us how to succeed in today’s world.)

To end this post, I will post a story about why it is so bad to focus on the newest shiny technology.

“But why!” Andrea pleaded with her mother, pointing to the newest IPhone.

“Because I said so. End of discussion.” Andrea’s mother moved to the checkout line, eager to get home.

Oh, the old “because I said so” line; the bane of children everywhere. Now it was personal.

“It’s not fair!” She worked up some tears, hoping to win her mother’s support. Parents shrugged and turned away as the young girl cried loudly.

“Life isn’t fair, honey.” Her mother began taking several $20 bills out of her wallet.

The young man at the checkout handed Andrea a coupon. “Miss, the IPhone is on sale today. For $40, you can have it.”

Her eyes shone with a new intensity. Flipping through her wallet, Andrea’s mother counted all her money slowly. Finally, she sighed: “Fine, you can have it.”

Andrea ran with a new spring in her step, determined to show her mother that she was NOT too young to be using a cell phone.

A young boy grabbed the last phone and rapidly pressed every button. “Put that down!” His mother yanked it out of her son’s hands, putting it back gently so it didn’t break.

She grabbed her prize and held it up proudly before walking back to the checkout line.

Andrea hummed, walking back to the parking lot invigorated. Nothing could bother her now, for she was immersed in the world of Angry Birds and Candy Crush Saga. She smiled with delight at the thrill. “Come on Andrea, let’s go!” Her mother insisted.

She was not prepared for the footsteps behind her. With a thud, Andrea fell to the ground, her new treasure shattered forever.

“Sorry, gotta go!” The man in a hurry ran forward without stopping.

“Hey! That’s my kid you jerk!” Her mother screamed.

Andrea gathered up the broken phone and sobbed. Her mother ran over, picking up Andrea and placing her in the back seat.

“Oh honey. It happens. I’ll buy you a new one when you turn 13, I promise.”

Suddenly three years didn’t seem so bad. She gave her mother a hug.

“Thanks Mom.” They drove off, placing the broken IPhone out of sight and out of mind forever.