"I challenge you all to walk from here to the end of the woods," he told them. "I will be waiting there. The first to reach the end will receive $1000. You may have any one thing to bring with you. Anything but a vehicle, of course. Just ask, and you will have it."
"I'll have a bottle of water," Fred proclaimed.
Within seconds, a bottle of water appeared in the astounded man's hand.
Louis asked for an iPod full of all his favorite songs. A pair of headphones were suddenly placed in Louis's ears and the attached iPod was in his hand.
"I'll take a pair of running shoes," Roberto said.
The sneakers instantly replaced the shoes Roberto had.
When it became apparent that there were no questions, each man chose a path and began their journey.
Fred figured that the trip would take a while, so he decided to conserve his water. He walked fast, just below a jog speed.
Louis was enjoying his music, skipping merrily to the current song.
Roberto dashed madly through the woods. He was confident that he was moving faster than the other two.
The air was starting to heat up. Fred stopped walking and took three gulps water.
The heat was also having its affect on Louis. Fortunately, he was in an area with a lot of shade to walk under. Sweaty and pumped from his current song, he continued his journey.
The hot sun was especially getting to Roberto. Reluctantly, he stopped running and sat on the ground.
Within an hour, Fred drank all his water. He was still thirsty, and he used that to motivate himself to keep going, in hopes that the man who gave the challenge would have water bottles for him.
Louis soon saw a river. He took his headphones off and put his head underwater to cool off.
Roberto later ended up at that river. Kneeling at the edge, the man reached into the cool water and splashed it into his face and hair.
Fred eventually found the same river. He rushed over and filled his bottle with water. Then he took a drink and refilled it. When he was satisfied, he carried his full bottle back to the trail and continued.
An hour and a half after the challenge began, Louis reached the final corridor of trees. The man from before was standing there.
"Louis, you are the first to reach your destination. Just out of curiosity, why did you choose an iPod, instead of something that would actually help you?"
Louis took his headphones off and answered,
"Because I love music. It cheers me up when I'm stressed, it makes it hard to stop moving. It didn't even feel like a long walk, and in that way, the iPod did help me."
The moral of the story is, we all travel through the same journey in life. If we do not find something to enjoy about things that may not change, we will only wallow in misery for the rest of our lives. Whatever you like about your circumstances, focus on it, whether it be your job's benefits, your spouse's sense of humor, or that fact that you even have a car. If you lost those things, the alternative may make you even more miserable.