I’ve lived an extraordinary and exciting life. When the inevitable last days arrives, I feel pretty prepared to look back at a full life, generally satisfied with what I did with it.

Sure, there are regrets, and a few things I’d do differently. But I’ve had no shortage of experiences, and have learned quite a bit, along the way.

One thing I’ve observed throughout the course of my life, certainly more that I would have hoped or expected, is the number of people who’ve looked at my life and hoped that I would experience some the pain and suffering and horrible experiences others have experienced.

Their hope in wishing that is that I would become more empathetic towards others. They hope I would see, understand, and realize some of the real hardships others experience.

I see it the opposite.

When I meet people with stories of pain and suffering, or people who’ve experienced real hardship, I wish they could have experienced some of the successes I’ve experienced.

That doesn’t mean I haven’t suffered my share of humiliations and failures. I definitely have. But the key was to identify them, learn from them, and build on them. To apply what I learned in a way in which I can come out ahead. I always tried to do that as best I could. But even then, sometimes I failed.

Instead of seeing people who are generally happy and healthy and wishing them harm, bad luck, or tough experiences, why don’t we instead see people who are suffering hardships or down on their luck and wish they could make some decisions and pursue some opportunities that may turn their fortunes around.

We’re either all aspiring toward greatness and wishing it on others, or we’re in it for ourselves and wishing jealously that those who we think “have it made” suddenly run into bad luck. Why would you do that?

Success and happiness take many shapes, and even the mere act of determining that someone is unhappy just because their situation doesn’t necessarily look like yours is an act of ignorance. There are happy people who live with family in a one room apartment, and there are miserable people who live in mansions. One’s circumstances don’t determine their happiness, and don’t ever think you can tell, just by looking, how someone is living.

Why not just wish that everyone make the best decisions they can for themselves and find the peace and happiness they seek?