First World and Third World Problems

I’ve been writing these weekly columns for 20 years. When I first began writing Winners’ Wisdom, it only appeared in the local business journal in my hometown. Then it began to grow as more newspapers and magazines picked up my weekly effort. The popularity of the column seemed to reach critical mass at about the same time online publications became available around the world. Today via newspapers, magazines, and online publications, these weekly efforts are read in virtually every part of the world by people from diverse backgrounds, faiths, and socioeconomic groups.

Many readers take advantage of the contact information below and email me. I have had ongoing correspondence with a number of readers for many years. Some of them live in the United States as I do, but many others live in remote parts of the globe that I had not previously known of. Extensive travel and contact with all types of people offer one a new perspective.

Here in America, it is easy to confuse problems with inconveniences. When your cell phone drops a call, your car battery dies, or a telemarketer phones you while you’re eating dinner, this is not a crisis nor is it even a problem. It is an inconvenience.

Here in America, we struggle against obesity in a world that is malnourished. We run promotional ads for people to drink water and remain hydrated when a major cause of death and disease worldwide is lack of clean drinking water. We complain about traffic when, worldwide, many people do not know the benefits or even the convenience of being able to travel where they want to go at any time. If you and I can keep a worldwide perspective and be mindful of third world problems, we can eliminate much of the annoyance we feel with first world inconveniences.

I have met a number of people who have relocated to America from third world countries. Many of them are entrepreneurs who come to my speaking events. Their success within our free enterprise system can put many native-born Americans to shame when you realize these transplanted entrepreneurs deal with many language and cultural barriers unknown to the rest of us.

Our country is far from perfect, and there are many challenges we need to face and resolve, but may we never forget that the whole world would love to trade their problems for our inconveniences and live the dream life that we, too often, take for granted.

As you go through your day today, try to overlook inconveniences and help others who have real problems.

Today’s the day!

Jim Stovall is the president of Narrative Television Network, as well as a published author of many books including The Ultimate Gift. He is also a columnist and motivational speaker. He may be reached by email at; on Facebook at; or follow Jim on Twitter @StovallAuthor.

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