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  • Bob Burg

“You've basically revolutionized the way we are doing business. . . Your teaching style is very, very effective.”

~ Thomas J. Bartosic, SVP, Career Sales, G.E. Financial Assurance

Damaged Hot Dog Buns and Other First World Tragedies

June 18th, 2012 by Bob Burg

The bottom of my hot dog bun is splitting open. #FirstWorldProblems
hot dog

I thought that was brilliant when I first saw it on Twitter, and still think it is. I also thought it was something new. Wrong about that one. Apparently, the concept of First World Problems has been around for a while. And, as usual, I was slow arriving to the game.

First World Problems, as defined on the website KnowYourMeme.com, are “frustrations and complaints that are only experienced by privileged individuals in wealthy countries. It is typically used as a tongue-in-cheek comedic device to make light of trivial inconveniences.”

There is even an extremely clever rap video on this topic that I believe is well-worth watching.

What an awesome lesson in reframing our thoughts and helping us to live in gratitude.

Basically, First World Problems are problems that those living in Third World countries would be delighted to have.

For example, while we might feel put-out because the gas tank is nearing empty and we need to stop at the gas station, a person whose biggest challenge today is surviving on less than a dollar a day would love to be in our position.

While we are annoyed at drinking a bottle of water because we’d rather have a soft drink, the Third World resident who must walk miles per day in order to find relatively clean water to drink for himself/herself and their family would gladly drink that water.

And, yes, I really did find myself annoyed at the ballgame the other night when my hot dog bun began to split at the bottom {mega-embarrassed even writing this!}.

First World Problems. Just thinking of them is enough to fill a person with…gratitude!

What are some of the First World Problems you experience that you’d like to share with us. I have a feeling we can get some great reframes, attitude shifts, and feelings of appreciation going with this.

64 Responses to “Damaged Hot Dog Buns and Other First World Tragedies”
  1. Dan Alcorn said at 7:56 am on

    Don’t you just hate it when you have to park a few rows away from the entrance to a grocery store, mall or restaurant? And it annoys me terribly when the on-demand gas water heater takes 39, sometimes 40 seconds, to heat water for my shower. As Seth and Any would ask, “really?”

  2. Bob Burg said at 8:03 am on

    Dan: Awesome. Way to get it started, my friend! Can’t wait to see how these roll in.

  3. So annoying when the DirecTV goes out when it rains too hard. Hmmm…I have access to a zillion channels and in a lot of places in the world rain is an actual matter of life and death. Thanks, Bob, for once again yanking me back to the attitude of gratitude!

  4. Bob Burg said at 8:05 am on

    Beth: Love it. Thank you! That’s awesome!

  5. Nancy Matthews said at 8:07 am on

    Thanks Bob, as always another thought provoking post that has me focus upon and recognize what really matters most. I hadn’t heard the term “First World Problems” before and love how it clearly and concisely brings us to the point of true gratitude and appreciation for what we do have. We are ultimately in control of our thoughts and feelings and using the anchor of “Is this a first world problem?” can help us shift from annoyance at the little things quickly and easily.

  6. Bob, Great article and so true. I also checked out the rap which I usually don’t like rap. That rap was funny and captures the essence of your blog. We have much to be grateful for. Perspective is everything. I sometimes grumble about the pain in my legs until I see a guy with no legs. Thank you Bob for your continual thought provoking, potentially life changing writing.

  7. Mike Benton said at 8:11 am on

    I get frustrated when I make a special stop to get money out of an ATM machine and only find “This machine is out of order”. Good thing they wrote this machine, because the card slot rejecting my card was not enough of a clue. As I drive away I laugh, because I remember when I didn’t have enough money to warrant a ATM card. Enjoy

  8. Jen Kelchner said at 8:19 am on

    Being able to use washing machines & dryers that do all of the work in 30 mins! On a recent trip of Haiti that was a smack in the face for myself. As I watched people climb a mountain with a bowl of wet laundry on their heads after washing in a creek at the bottom. I don’t complain about my ability to multiple loads of laundry any longer. 🙂 Thank you for the post!

  9. Bob Burg said at 8:23 am on

    Jen: That was POWERFUL. Thank you! And, thank you for all the work you are doing in Haiti, as well!

  10. Bob Burg said at 8:20 am on

    Nancy: Thank you. Great way to put it, “Using the anchor of…”. Extremely helpful reframe!

    Brenda: Thank you. And, I know you do have some physical handicaps that can indeed make life truly painful and inconvenient for you. I also so admire and appreciate your attitude. And, huge gratitude for your awesome companion, shadow, who is always there for you!

    Mike: That’s awesome. And, knowing your story, I know you are one of the best at living in gratitude!

  11. Maria del Pilar Cuadrado said at 8:26 am on

    I live in a third world country and I very very use to see people walking long distances to get water, or go to a river to wash their clothes, the great thing is that many of those people live in gratitude, and even experiencing this I (my kids too) make ourselves miserable because either we lose the cable signal for a day, or the internet for just minutes, for example.

    This is definitely an awesome lesson to appreciate things and live in gratitude. Thanks Bob, tu eres el mejor!!


  12. Michael Fisher said at 8:27 am on

    Don’t you just hate it when the A/C goes out on the car as you are heading out to get ice cream? Great post Bob. Thanks so much for your continued thought provoking articles.

  13. Bob Burg said at 8:39 am on

    Michael: That’s about the epitome of a First World Problem, isn’t it? LOL. Thank you!

  14. This is such a cool post, mostly because it spotlights how often and unintentionally, we complain about totally insignificant stuff, thus shifting the true vibration of “gratitude” into senseless feelings of blah and emptiness. This is making me think “Why did I feel so blah and empty about_________?” Great clue to re-shift my true sense of gratitude!

    So let’s pay attention to what we’re complaining about, outwardly or internally, and let that be our cue to shift from BLAH to GRATEFUL….and let it be our inspiration as to how else we can help others in worse situations than ours.

    Thank you Bob! (and oh, yes, I chipped a nail!!!! – (lol)

  15. Bob Burg said at 8:38 am on

    Maria: Thank you for adding such magnificent perspective, as you get to see things from both sides. Powerful!

    Ali: Terrific reminder to be conscious of the vibrations we living in. Awesome point! Thank you. And, take care of that nail. 😉

  16. Dondi Scumaci said at 8:38 am on

    Powerful post. Has me thinking about a recent flight where “my” upgrade didn’t come through. (Embarrassed about the “my” part, but it was certainly part of my “First World Problem” view. Long flight in a middle seat, smashed between two equally uncomfortable people. I did try to make the best of it, but mostly just felt squished. Totally lost sight of the amazing part: Traveling across the country in 3.5 hours to do really fun work. When we focus on the “First World Problem” we miss the miraculous parts of life.

    Thank you Bob for another inspiring post and discussion!

  17. Bob Burg said at 8:45 am on

    Dondi: That is so very powerful. What a great example. As very frequent fliers, we also often get to see and experience both the best and worst of people as they make their way through airport, as well. I love your personal example! Isn’t it amazing to even think that we can travel so far in a tubular machine that actual lifts off the ground? I’m keeping your sentence in “future consciousness”for when I need it (and I will) where you wrote: “When we focus on the “First World Problem” we miss the miraculous parts of life.”

  18. Dave Gambrill said at 8:49 am on

    – Someone forgot to refill the Brita pitcher, so now I have to wait 30 seconds for water.

    – Someone watched a terrible movie on the Netflix account I use, now all of the recommendations are awful.

    Thanks for the great post and thought about re-framing Bob! As our society leans toward more and more people feeling entitled, it’s important to help them re-frame their “problem”. It’s tough to strike a balance between a deep appreciation for all you have versus a desire to do and become more.

  19. Bob Burg said at 9:03 am on

    Dave: Thank you for the examples, and for your thoughtful comments. Yes, indeed!

    John: Powerful, powerful. So very true!

  20. John said at 8:57 am on

    Annoyed when I forget my headphones at home for my morning run. Then I realize some people live in in the world don’t even have a pair of shoes to run in.

  21. Jean Kuhn said at 9:07 am on

    I just heard this phrase about 2 weeks ago when my daughter said “that’s a first world problem, mom” when I complained about something so trivial that I can’t even remember what it was. I knew immediately what she meant. She was right and I have found myself thinking about that phrase often in the last 2 weeks. Thanks. 🙂

  22. Bob Burg said at 9:16 am on

    Jean: I know, it’s a powerful “pattern interrupt” isn’t it? I’m so glad I just recently heard that phrase. I’ve found that it’s helped me a bunch already, and I continue to think of it every time I hear myself complaining (or about to complain) about something trivial.

  23. Dan Alcorn said at 9:40 am on

    The timing of this post is ironic for me in that I am in the middle of what SendOut Cards calls “30 Day Gratitude Challenge.” (Send a daily greeting of heartfelt gratitude and appreciation and then watch the results!) While that is specific to human relationships, it could also apply to “First World Tragedies.” (I am so grateful for the shop keeper who stocks fresh produce, etc.) I re-read your 2010 Thanksgiving post and noticed the “21 day” challenge. Yep, “it will change your life.” As always, thank you Bob!

  24. Bob Burg said at 9:48 am on

    That’s awesome, Dan. Thank you so much for that feedback!

  25. Linda Ryan said at 9:53 am on

    Bob, I too am “slow arriving at the game” but glad it’s not over! But now that I know what a First World Problem is, I’ll tell you REALLY gets me steamed: When I forget to turn the dishwasher on before I go to sleep and then in the morning I have to wash my favorite coffe mug BY HAND. Ohhhhhh that really burns me up!!! I usually get over it by lunchtime, though 🙂

  26. Christie Ellis said at 9:54 am on

    When my car needs to get a repair and I am frustrated I need to go to get a rental car because I can’t live 24 hours with out my vehicle. Thank you for the reminder to be grateful!!

  27. Chandler said at 10:17 am on

    Thanks so much for this, Bob…it made me think of the saying about…Someone, somewhere would LOVE to have your life! Be well, and be grate”full.”

  28. Bob Burg said at 10:27 am on

    Chandler: Great point. Ain’t dat da’ truth!?

  29. Bob Burg said at 10:21 am on

    Linda: Too funny, my friend. Indeed, that is a tragedy of epic “First World” proportions. Fortunately it doesn’t take you long to get over it. You Rock, my friend! LOL

    Christie: Yes, that is a definite re-frame situation, isn’t it?! 🙂 Funny thing is that I just caught myself getting really annoyed because “Tweetdeck” wasn’t working for a few minutes. Oh, the horrors! LOL

  30. Vicki said at 10:27 am on

    Sigh….my internet isn’t working today…NOW I’ll have to take my tablet out on the front porch, where it’s HOT, and TRY to piggyback off of one the neighbors wireless connections. Ugh!

    Thanks Bob for starting my morning with the right mindset. I’m off to a “career” interview this afternoon. I know this frame of mind will make me that much more grateful that my resume was chosen out of the hundreds that were probably received for the position. I know that gratefulness will come across during my interview.

    Thank you for the fabulous post!

  31. Bob Burg said at 10:29 am on

    Vicki: Thank you. My absolutely please. Thank you for sharing your gratitude shift with us. Well-done!!

  32. Geneva said at 11:45 am on

    Awesome perspective Bob! Thanks for reeling us back to gratitude! I have many pet peeves & could actually write a book about them! 🙂 Most of them are silent as they are viewed as complaining, so…I keep them to myself. I loathe filling up my car at the gas station only to have to go inside to get my receipt. I’m spoiled to the modern conveniences of getting it handed to me by the pump. This happened a while back & reluctantly I went inside to get my lovely receipt. Upon entering, the girl at the register asked how she could help & I nicely told her I needed my receipt. She immediately apologized for any inconvenience this may have caused & offered me a cup of coffee, cappuccino, etc., for my trouble. Her attitude was so very beyond pleasant, I immediately called the hotline & admonished her & that location, since it is my fav. I even tweeted & Racetrac answered back. I felt so terrible. My pet peeve turned into edification, but why couldn’t I have done that anyway?

    My A/C is out in my car & in Texas, that is a huge no-no. I’ve washed clothes by hand in Kiev, Ukraine for missionary friends of mine, and many other things that rock our world. I seriously try to use them as an anchor to remind me of just how blessed I am.

    As always….thank you for yanking our chains on a gorgeous Monday!

  33. Bob Burg said at 11:59 am on

    Geneva: What a wisdom-filled comment you provided, with very tangible examples. Thank you so much! (And thank you for taking the time to contact the convenience store cashier’s corporate headquarters and tell them how terrific she was. I’m sure it made her day when they related that to her!)

  34. KimunyaMugo said at 12:00 pm on

    Be grateful…

    As I write this, there’s a power outage in my part of the city (Nairobi, Kenya) and don’t know when it’ll be restored…

    Can’t even think of a mortgage with the rates upwards of 25%…

    And that is just part of the the reality I live with…

  35. Bob Burg said at 12:06 pm on

    Kimunya: Powerful reminder. Thank you for sharing some very real problems. I hope the power comes back very quickly, as I hope the mortgage rates come way down.

  36. Scott Allen said at 12:10 pm on

    @Dan – True! And what really gets me is that there are like a dozen handicapped spots, of which never more than 2 or 3 are filled! It’s why I go to Walgreen’s if I can’t instead of Walmart, even though I know Walmart is going to be cheaper.

    Here are some that I’ve had to face:

    – The ice dispenser on my fridge is jammed, so I have to open the freezer door to get ice.

    – I’m out of Diet Coke at midnight, and the convenience store that’s a mile away isn’t 24-hour, so I have to drive to the convenience store that’s 2 miles away.

    – The hole in the handle of my bath brush is just a little bit too small for the hook on my shower caddy, so it keeps falling off every time I bump into it.

    – Having a $300 A/C service call, only to find out that it’s because you’re too lazy/forgetful to replace a $3 air filter every couple of months.

    – Having to reschedule the maids for next week at the last minute because the $10,000 payment from your client hasn’t cleared your bank yet, and until it does, you’ve only get $47 in the bank.

    – Warm beer and cold pizza for breakfast.

  37. Bob Burg said at 12:24 pm on

    Scott: Wow! 🙂

  38. Jody Maley said at 12:11 pm on

    I hate having to pick up and clean up after my family. I call them my ‘piggies at the trough’ in the mornings! How can they be so inconsiderate to ‘leave me to clean it all’.
    Wow…what a great perspective and mindshift! I’m so grateful to be out of a stressful job and be making money every day online so that I CHOSE to be home with my kids! And so thankful that they have healthy food every day! I’m so happy to be home and not working 50plus hrs a week anymore!
    Thanks Bob! Hugs

  39. Bob Burg said at 12:25 pm on

    Jody: Awesome. Thanks!

  40. Aston, Harare said at 1:05 pm on

    wow! What a rude awakening. I am grateful of who I am and the privileges I get/got. I know that there are smarter, better & deserving people out there who envy to be where I am but cannot. I am +300% grateful!

  41. Bob Burg said at 1:40 pm on

    Aston: Thank you for your comments. I’m not sure there are those who are smarter, better or more deserving than you are…but it’s certainly great just to appreciate everything you have for the sake of gratitude alone.

  42. EJ said at 4:55 pm on

    Oh, I hate it when my remote needs a new battery. I have to get off the couch, go and get not one but two batteries, switch them out and then, and only then, can I switch channels on the TV. I certainly would not even think of getting up and changing the channel manually.

  43. Bob Burg said at 5:07 pm on

    EJ: That’s great! Yes, remember those “horrible days” when we used to actually have to stand up, walk over to the tv and manually change the dial to one of the three network stations and perhaps two other stations? 🙂 (Not to mention, having to hold up the foil-wrapped rabbit ears so that the picture would come in not quite as cloudy.) LOL. Thank you EJ!

  44. You had rabbit ears? Wrapped in foils?? You must be a hoot during Easter Time (lol) —♥Could NOT resist.♥

  45. Bob Burg said at 7:25 pm on

    I’m actually quite amusing…but only when I don’t try to be. 😉

  46. How about when you click on the link to watch the RAP on you IPhone and you get the message: Sorry, video not available?? Sigh, LOL! Great article!!!

  47. Bob Burg said at 10:14 pm on

    Vicki: Holy irony, Batman! LOL

  48. LizAnn Tepper said at 10:39 pm on

    I am really hungry so I go to the refrigerator and find something to eat! I am really thirsty and grab a glass and fill it with fresh water from my kitchen faucet. A daily occurrence for all of us privileged people. I am so grateful that I always have enough to eat and drink! Thank you Bob for a reminder that we are so very, very lucky! I am blessed!

  49. Bob Burg said at 6:36 am on

    LisAnn: Thank you. So important to keep in mind, isn’t it. Thank you for sharing!

    Wasima: Yes, breathing fresh air. Perhaps the most basic thing of all and yet how often do we stop and think about it. Right on!

  50. wasima said at 10:47 pm on

    breathing fresh air… we so often take for granted. less traffic is another…

  51. Janice said at 7:28 am on

    The other day I watched as my daughter rifled through purses and drawers to find enough change for her morning latte from Starbucks. (I guess her pay ran out before her month. 😉
    I was reminded about a vow I made a few years ago after returning from Africa. We had visited a few informal orphanages, and, at one in particular we witnessed the children get wild with excitement as a white van wound its way up the long driveway. It was a local grocery store delivering its expired products… Apparently a weekly event. We watched as black bananas, moldy breadrolls and wrinkly watermelons were brought into the kitchen. The clincher was when the orphanage mother said “thanks God. The children will eat tonight.”
    My vow? To save those $4 a pop Starbucks and send them to the orphanage so “the children can eat tonight”.

  52. Bob Burg said at 8:14 am on

    Janice: That story touched me very deeply as I’m sure it did everyone who read that. That is so amazing and so sad!

  53. Ali R. Rodriguez said at 10:36 am on

    Oh, Janice, that’s a tremendously moving story. There is so much we take for granted and so little we think as individuals, we can do for others. You just proved the opposite. Thank you so much for sharing your amazing and impacting experience!

  54. julie Sims said at 11:10 am on

    I am reminded when I stand in front of the microwave and it isnt fast enough, just how we lose focus and how far technology has brought us. To live well we must have a faith to live by, a self to live with and a purpose fit to live for.

  55. Bob Burg said at 11:23 am on

    Julie: I do that same thing with the microwave. Thank you for the reminder!

  56. mary silva said at 5:36 pm on

    Thanks, Bob. I’m a day late reading this very awesome blog! Our Lindar told me about it yesterday and explained what First World problems were. I, too, am a NEWBEE to the concept. So like Linda, I often forget to turn on dishwasher when my TWO favorite coffee mugs are in there! (They are both from FL….one mug from a girls weekend in Miami, the other mug from Disney that says MOM on it!). How about being grateful for these vacations… and for my house, dishwasher, coffee maker, regfrig…. and the list goes on!
    So many great responses! Thanks again for the lesson… Look forward to tomorrow’s blog:)

  57. Bob Burg said at 6:26 pm on

    Mary: Makes a lot of sense. Thank you!

  58. Richard Kittrell said at 10:33 pm on

    Did you ever notice the more you’re grateful for the less you need? We “Need” a bun for our hot dog so it won’t be messy. Yet, in third world countries, children will eat mush with their hands to keep from starving.

    And on a personal note, when the bun breaks and I get mustard and relish on my shirt, I do what every six year old boy does. I just lick it off my shirt.

  59. Ali R. Rodriguez said at 10:44 pm on

    RICHARD: It’s wonderful to be a KID at HEART. You go through life with more excitement, passion, curiosity and purity of heart. It keeps you AUTHENTIC. Loved reading your comment. Ali

  60. Bob Burg said at 7:08 am on

    Richard: Yes, the bun is a mere want that we see as a need A definite “First-World” thought in and of itself. Great point. (And, cool about licking the mustard and relish off your shirt. I personally don’t see any other way) 😉

  61. Sandy Harper said at 3:34 pm on

    I’m also coming late to the game (as usual, my friends call it Eastern Sandy Time)!

    Along the same lines, if I start to complain/be annoyed because I have a headache or my back hurts, I think about my niece (and others who are hospitalized), who is in constant pain over her entire body and who can’t even walk.

    Right now, many are annoyed because it’s raining outside in Florida. Folks who are hospital-bound seldom go outside or even have access to a window to view the great outdoors.

    We have SO much to be grateful for. And, right now I’d like to give gratitude for you, Bob. Thanks for being such a great leader (and Go-Giver)!

    With Gratitude,

    Sandy Harper 🙂

  62. Bob Burg said at 3:42 pm on

    Sandy: “Eastern Sandy Time” LOLOL, too funny!! Thank you, Sandy, for your always very kind words, and for sharing your wisdom regarding gratitude. I’ve learned so much from you regarding how to live in Gratitude. You embrace it and you embody it in everything you do.

    {Note: Sandy Harper, aside from being a very successful Realtor and ghost-writer, is also founder of Gratitude Boot Camp. Check it out at http://sandyspeaks.com/gratitude/}

  63. Sandy Harper said at 3:58 pm on

    Thank you for always being so supportive, Bob. I’m filled with gratitude (and a BIG craving for a hot dog)!!


  64. […] are familiar with the term, First-World Problems. Yes, your hotdog bun splitting at the bottom while you’re enjoying a baseball game is indeed “small stuff.” So are most of […]

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