Once upon a time, there was a crow. The crow was quite interested in humans, but humans detested him and always shooed him away. Eventually, the crow became quite sad. One day, he was sitting on a tree branch crying. Suddenly, an angel appeared and asked the crow why he was crying.
The crow said, "No one likes me. Everyone always shoos me away. I don't like being a crow. I wish I was a swan. They are so beautiful, and everyone likes them."
The angel said, "Sure, I can grant you your wish. But before I do that, do you want to check with a swan to see if their life is really as good as you think?"
The crow thought about it and said, "You have a point. Thank you so much! I will be back later."
The crow then flew to a nearby pond to find a swan. He was extremely excited when he saw one, and he asked the swan, "Miss Swan! Your feathers are so beautifully white, and humans love you. Surely, you are the happiest bird in the world!"
The swan said, "What are you talking about? There are so many beautiful colors in the world. All I have is white. I think the happiest bird in the world should be the parrot. Parrots have so many beautifully colored feathers, and humans even take care of them."
The crow said, "Oh I never thought about that. I guess I should go confirm with a parrot then."
The crow then flew around until he found a parrot. He asked the parrot, "Mister Parrot! You have so many beautifully colored feathers, and humans even take care of you. You are surely the happiest bird in the world!"
The parrot replied, "What nonsense are you speaking? When humans see me, they all want to capture me and put me in a cage! What a stressful life! If you are looking for the happiest bird in the world, you should find a peacock. They are so majestic, and humans don't put them in cages. They get big fields to roam around."
The crow thanked the parrot and went to look for a peacock. Soon, he found one, and he said, "Mister Peacock! You have such a majestic demeanor, and humans take care of you and let you roam around freely. Surely, you are the happiest bird in the world!"
The peacock said, "Mister Crow, you've got it all wrong. Because my feathers are so beautiful, humans are always plucking them. I can't even run away or fly away. My life is so painful!"
The crow said, "Wow, I had no idea. So who do you think is the happiest bird in the world then?"
The peacock thought about it and said, "Well, the happiest bird is probably one that gets to fly around freely and do as he pleases. Humans won't try to capture it and put it in a cage, or try to pluck its feathers or eat it. Hmm…I guess that would be a crow like you!"
The crow was astounded, and he now had a new-found appreciation for himself. He thanked the peacock and flew back to the angel. The angel asked, "You were gone for quite a while! You must've had quite an adventure. So, do you still want to become a swan?"
The crow smiled and said, "Actually, I realized that every bird has their own advantages and disadvantages, and I'm quite happy to be a crow now."
We often think others have it better than us, but everyone has their own struggles. If we compare our unfavorable circumstances to other people's favorable circumstances, we are creating misery for ourselves. If we simply shift our mindset and focus on our favorable circumstances, we would be much more grateful and happier towards our life. This isn't to say that we shouldn't work hard to create a better life, but rather we can be grateful and happy now, before our circumstances change, by shifting our mindset.
Moreover, the grass isn't greener on the other side, the grass is greener where you water it. Rather than wasting energy looking at other people's grass, why not use it to cultivate our own garden?
Weekly Wisdom #259