Have you ever thought to yourself: “Why me? Why am I experiencing this”? Well, you are not alone; everyone has problems in life.

Whether it is a health problem, a money problem, a relationship problem, a family problem, a work problem, or whatever you may be facing, there are millions of people dealing with the same situation or even with a more serious one. 

Even if we live in the 21st century, every year 9 million people still starve to death! 

Many others are living without a roof above their heads.

The United Nations Human Settlements Program estimates that 1.6 billion people live in inadequate housing, and almost 150 million people have no housing at all. Besides, 2.4 billion people worldwide live without improved sanitation and 2 billion are affected by water stress.

What about the 1.3 billion people living in the dark due to the lack of electricity or even those suffering from wars?

If you are bitching about your important meeting being canceled at the last minute, the bills you have to pay, or your soul-sucking job, let me tell you, you’re EXTREMELY lucky!

Now that you probably feel somehow awkward complaining about how hard your life is, let me share with you an inspirational story.

It highlights how everyone has problems in life, and how the problem you are dealing with is not as serious as you may think. 


Once there lived a zen master that people from far away visited to find a solution to the problems they were dealing with.

One day, a group of travelers reached the master’s humble abode.

“We have walked such a long distance because we know you can help us solve all our problems”, one of the travelers said.

Before long, the men started fighting against each other about who should be the first to ask for advice. 

“My problem is bigger than yours, thus, I should go first!”, one of the men said.

But, all the others objected: “My problem is way more serious, hence, I take priority”.

Since they couldn’t agree on the order to follow, the master, who had been silent, said:

“Here you are, take this pen and this paper; I want you to write down the problem that is affecting you the most now. Then, fold the paper and place it into this bowl”.

As strange as the instruction sounded, the men started writing.

When everyone had put their folded papers into the bowl, the master mixed them all.

He then handed the bowl to the closest man and said: “Pick up one paper, read the problem, and if you think it is less serious than yours, keep it! Otherwise, put it back and pass the bowl around”.

One by one the men picked up a paper.

On reading what the others had written, each traveler put the paper back into the bowl, which went round and round.

Finally, all travelers decided to keep their own original paper and felt relieved.

Everyone came to the conclusion that even the worst of their problems was not as bad as the other travelers’. 

They understood what the master’s lesson was:

Everyone has problems to deal with. We tend to complain a lot about how serious our problems are, but, way too often, what we are dealing with is far less serious than what someone else is facing.


No one is exempt from dealing with challenges.  

Some people have a fantastic career and look like they have it all, yet, they feel empty and numb inside.

Someone else has great relationships, but they are working in a job they hate.

Bottom line: problems and challenges are part of everyone’s life, thus, don’t feel shy or bad about speaking to someone about what you are facing.

Like the travelers in the story, you may be surprised by realizing that your problem is not as serious as you think and trust me, this will make you feel relieved.

"Everyone has problems, and learning to share them is essential. Hiding pain requires an enormous amount of energy; sharing it is liberating". - Carly Simon

If you still think your life is a mess, that what you are facing is too big for you and you lost faith, let Muniba Mazari inspire you and make you realize how blessed you are.

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Christian Caliendo
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