Excerpt for The Secret to a Happy Life - Turn Burden Into A Blessing by , available in its entirety at Smashwords


Turn Burden into A Blessing!


Stephen Egegbara


This e-book has been written for information purposes only. The author cannot be held responsible for any personal or commercial damage caused by misinterpretation of information. All readers are encouraged to seek professional advice when needed.


Copyright 2017 by Stephen Egegbara

“Smashwords Edition”

All rights reserved.


1 - Introduction

2 - Count your blessings: How gratitude can help us overcome all our burdens

3 - How counting your blessing can make you live a happier life

4 - Thankfulness: The one stop towards true happiness

5 - If you want to change your life you have to change your mindset

6 - Why you should keep a thankfulness journal at all times

7 - Conclusion


“If nature can turn night into day, then it can easily turn your burden into a blessing” Anonymous

We see many occasions when we are down and depressed and are convinced that the way out is only through walking with our terrible burdens in a miasma of despair. However, it does not always have to be this way because many times our burdens are not burdens as such, but actual blessings in disguise.

Nevertheless, we are so fatigued with looking at the burden that we do not even see it for what it is, an outright blessing in disguise.

You may consider the fact that your kids are giving you a really tough time since early morning and they refuse their breakfast and don’t want to go to school and as a consequence, you may feel tired, distraught, and jaded.

However, when you did eventually manage to bustle them into your car, did you see the look of wistfulness in your neighbor’s eyes as you passed her by, because she does not have any kids of her own, in spite of being married for over a decade.

Yes, it is all too easy to slip into a bad mood on a day when nothing seems to go right. But the fact is that what you may consider a burden is actually a blessing in so many ways if you but stop to consider them as such.

The story of Helen Keller

Let us hearken to Madam Helen Keller’s iconic words:

“When one door of happiness closes, another opens; but often we look so long at the closed door that we do not see the one which has been opened for us.”

This was a woman who had been born with the gift of sight and hearing but lost both at a very young age, in fact, even before she understood that each object has its own separate identifying word. Yet she used her disabilities to become not disabled but “differently able.” She became a lecturer, a women’s rights activist, a vocal voice for the blind and the deaf as well as the working classes.

She used her unique position as a deaf and blind woman to “open the eyes and ears” of the world who cared little for the plight of such people. So powerful was her voice that it resonates to this day and she is now known globally as arguably the most famous deaf and blind person who ever lived.

In spite of the fact that she was living in a world as silent as it was absolutely dark, she refused to let this be a burden but rather considered it a blessing because it allowed her to make an impact for the silent ones who had no voice.

If this brave woman who had lost so much, at so early an age can consider her crippling disabilities to be a blessing rather than an onerous burden, who are we to complain about the petty things in our lives?

Gravity is my enemy: The legend of Mark Hicks

Young Mark was only 12 years old when he had fallen off a tree and severely damaged his spine. He had become a quadriplegic for the rest of his earthly life. In other words, he had lost all sensation in not just all four of his limbs but his whole body, from the neck down.

Most people would have been crushed under such a terrible burden. But not Mark. On the contrary, he used the time he had lying in bed, to create a wonderful world full of vibrant colors. He started creating art by holding a pencil in his mouth. Slowly, as his artwork improved, his popularity grew till he became a very well-known artist in his own right and he went on to join the world famous University of California Los Angeles; a varsity so strict, that their acceptance percentage is well below twenty percent. A documentary on his life won an Academy Award back in 1978. When quizzed about his life, he very quietly replied that everything he had been able to accomplish may not have happened had he led a normal life, with his limbs intact.

The people above are a far cry from most of us and they teach us a really great lesson; that the heaviest and most crushing of burdens can become actual blessings in disguise if we were to allow them to do so.

Most of us are very lucky indeed, that we have full use of all our faculties, which by itself is a truly great blessing in itself.

Reflect on your present blessings, on which every man has many, not on your past misfortunes, of which all men have some

Charles Dickens (M. Dickens, 1897, p. 45)


The word gratitude is essentially derived from the Latin root gratia that means grace, graciousness, or gratefulness. If we are truly grateful for our blessings we will never feel that we have any burdens. Let us study the parable of the “Unhappy Emperor”

The legend of the unhappy Emperor of Japan

Long ago in ancient Japan, there once lived a very unhappy Emperor. He was so burdened by the affairs of state that he thought he will never be happy again. He called out to all the physicians in near and far away lands, to advise him of a way to get rid of his malaise. They all failed, till one wise old man told him that “he will only be happy when he wears the shoes of a man who is happy from morning till night and from night to morning”.

Duly inspired the Emperor sends his troops all over the Island chain to look for a man who was happy, 24/7. However, no one was able to find such a person as just about all the people said that they were unhappy at least at some point in their lives. Till at last, they came across a fisherman who was happy from morning till night and night till morning. The emperor’s soldiers watched him from some distance away as he went about his work, pulling his fish nets while laughing and singing all day long.

At last, they approached him and asked him if he was always happy, to which the man replied in the affirmative. “Your shoes, quickly’ said the soldiers. The fisherman merely laughed out loud and said “But good sir, I have never owned a single pair of shoes in my entire life”

The moral of the story is that how we look at our burdens is what makes us happy or sad, as the case may be. The Emperor had a whole nation at his beck and call and the vast riches of an empire and yet he was not happy, while the poor fisherman, who had nothing, merely made light of his burden and saw it as a true blessing that he had no responsibilities or riches to guard against.

It is ultimately our own perception of the world around us that determines our happiness. The often repeated cliché “well, look at the bright side…” certainly has a lot going for it to this day. How many of us have used it to cheer up someone who is feeling down and depressed? In fact, it is practically a knee jerk reaction when we see someone who is upset for any reason. It basically means that one should look at one’s burdens as blessings.

The miller of the Dee

The miller of the Dee is an old English poem whose writer has long since being lost in antiquity. It denotes the story of a miller who was always happy though he was quite poor, while the great King Hal of England envied him his poverty:

There dwelt a miller, hale and bold, 

Beside the river Dee; 

He worked and sang from morn till night-

No lark more blithe than he; 

And this the burden of his song

Forever used to be: 

I envy nobody no, not I -

And nobody envies me!" 

Since he had nothing to boast of and was a simple man with simple means he was convinced that no one was jealous of him or envied him in any way. For him, his very poverty was a blessing rather than a burden.

Thou’rt wrong, my friend," said good King Hal, 

As wrong as wrong can be, 

For could my heart be light as thine, 

I’d gladly change with thee. 

And tell me now, what makes thee sing, 

With voice so loud and free, 

While I am sad, though I am king, 

Beside the river Dee?" 

The King of England heard him singing this refrain and said that he wished that he was as carefree and as light of heart as the good miller. This is because the King was burdened with so many matters and issues that he would have simply loved to change his place with that of the “miller of the Dee” and be free of his terrible responsibilities.

The miller smiled and doffed his cap, 

I earn my bread," quoth he ; 

I love my wife, I love my friend(s), 

I love my children three ; 

I owe no penny I cannot pay, 

I thank the river Dee, 

That turns the mill that grinds the corn

That feeds my babes and me." 

The miller simply said that he had but his three children and wife to take care of and neither did he owe any money to anyone, which is why the mill was sufficient for his frugal needs as well as those of his household and he wanted nothing more but was content to be blessed with such a life.

Good Friend," said Hal, and sighed the while, 

Farewell, and happy be ; 

But say no more, if thoud’st be true, 

That no one envies thee ; 

Thy mealy cap is worth my crown, 

Thy mill my kingdom’s fee ; 

Such men as thou are England's boast. 

O Miller of the Dee. 

Finally, the king left the miller with the message that he was proud to have such subjects in his kingdom and his dusty old cap was worth more than the King’s crown; weighed down as it was by so many different responsibilities. Furthermore, the king claimed that he envied the Miller because of how light a burden he found his poverty while the King’s vast wealth and riches weighed him down so much.

The lesson we can learn from the above poem is that it is ultimately our own perception of our burdens and blessings that define our emotional and mental health. Most people will not think twice to take the King’s place and become rulers in their own right. But, the King himself envied the simplicity of the miller’s life who owed not a penny to anyone and was content with what he had rather than being covetous and demanding more. For this simple man, happiness was a hard day’s work and then sitting down to a simple meal with his small family. For the miller of the river Dee, not having riches and power was not a burden, but an undisguised blessing.


Many of us refuse to see the ‘silver lining’ on the cloud’ when we commence a recitation of all of life’s wrongs. However, the more negatively we think the worse our condition becomes. This is a vicious cycle that does not lead anywhere. But on the other hand, once we start counting our blessings and feel a sense of gratitude, then the odds are we will become increasingly more optimistic about our future as well as the present in which we live.

This sense of gratitude about even simple everyday things in life; such as waking up to a glorious sunrise or for that matter, getting to work a few minutes earlier due to a lack of traffic may actually make us feel better regarding the innate groundswell of positivity that exists deep inside all of us. And of course the more positive and optimistic we are, the better our overall outlook on life will be.

The legend of Alexander Graham Belle

This genius of a man was born to a deaf mother and went on to marry a deaf woman. His belief in ameliorating the life of the deaf led him to create many devices that could help the hard of hearing, till finally the stellar work he did led to the creation of the first operational telephone in human history, way back in 1876.

He firmly believed that the deaf of the world did not have to live in a well of silence all their lives, at least not if he could help it. Had he allowed himself to be crushed by the twin burdens of both his mother as well as his wife’s illness, the modern telephone may never have been invented. It was his unique ability to see his burdens as a blessing that ultimately ushered in the era of seamless communication from one end of the world to the other.

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