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Sunday, April 19, 2009

Playing for keeps

Nobody wants to be poor or uneducated.
Nobody wants to have a meaningless, unfulfilling miserable existence.
For the most part we all want to be and do good.
Nobody wants to be a loser.

I’ve been looking at life and in particular at my own life trying to understand why with all our extraordinary efforts we fail to materialize our good intentions.
Why is success so important to me?
Well, for one thing I want to be able to offer my children a good life, a good education, a good chance for a fulfilling life.

I never had a problem of becoming successful in whatever I was trying to accomplish but every time my success ended in a crash and burn dive.
It was no problem. If I lost a job, I would find another one.
If I failed my business, I would start another one.
If my relationship did not work out as I planed it, I would find another girl friend.

When I was single I looked at all this like a game.
When disaster struck, I thought of it as bad karma, as paying the dues for my wrong doing.
I just picked up the pieces and started all over again.
But all that has changed the moment I started a family.
Failure for me is not an option anymore.

I can not go through another foreclosure and if I have a fight with my wife divorce is not an option.
The specter and possibility of failure has been a constant companion of mine for the last ten years.
The fear of another disaster has kept me from getting into financial troubles now when a lot of people are in trouble and sheer determination has kept my marriage afloat past all the storms.

Nut even if fear has worked for me keeping me out of the trouble I could not accept fear as the philosophy behind my life.
It just goes against all my beliefs and feelings.
But what else is there?

I have tried almost everything one can think of.
I have read all the how to be successful books.
I have meditated and contemplated for years.
I’ve been dissecting my life on this blog for months now.
What am I doing wrong?

After a lot of thought I think I have found the answer.
The secret of success is not knowing how to win but knowing how to lose.
I don’t have a problem wining, my problem is that I don’t know how to manage my loses.
I am like a football or basketball team with an excellent offensive but with no defense at all.
I am like America in Vietnam; winning all the battles but losing the war.

Now I understand what fear has been doing for me.
Fear has kept me on the defense.
When everybody was borrowing money for a bigger, better, more expensive house and life, I settle for and comfortable and affordable one.
When people droped out of their marriages I did the hard work of keeping mine alive.
I did well and now I understand why.

I like to be in control of my life.
I believe in God and I believe God gives us all great opportunities in life.
But when opportunity knocks at your door you have at least to open it.
Which reminds me; Interest rates are really low now. Time to refinance my house.
I am playing for keeps now!

6 comments:

Argent said...

Your post really struck a chord with me. A great deal of my own life has been informed by a fear of one thing or another - fear of rejection being pretty near the top of the heap, with a big side order of fear of failure. I often wonder what life would be like without fear.

Uku said...

Great post!

As long as we want something or we want to be someone, we're never happy for good. What ever happens, we're alive and when we're not alive, we're dead. But when we're alive, we have always a chance.

Brigit said...

Responsibility of family changes everything. It makes us stronger, but also makes us more vulnerable.

Perhaps pre family you weren't fearing failure or loosing everything and starting over, because you didn't have what was truly important to you - a family.

You said you knew you could always start again and be successful. That shouldn't have changed.

Perhaps I missed something while reading your post but I feel a need to say that maybe your fear is around more than possessions and your carear, because it is much more than those that makes you successful with your family.

Talon said...

I really believe it depends on what we're measuring success with...if it's society's idea then most end up feeling like they've failed...but if we have a good sense of what's truly important in life than we're more likely to realize we've accomplished success on our own terms.

Don't Feed The Pixies said...

I guess there's a difference between not wanting something and not knowing any different - i live in an area surrounded by 3rd and 4th generation unemployed who have everything handed to them on a plate thanks to my taxes. They create their own hell and force me to live in it with them.

I think a lot of the success thing comes back to our basic hunter/gatherer beginnings - we've become so closeted by the modern world that we don't know what's gone - only that something is missing: and so we strive for the unachievable.

And i agree entirely with your sentiment that the secret of success is knowing how to lose as well as how to win xx

Diego said...

I am probably paraphrasing but somebody said when I face into my fear it transforms into an ecstatic process. Someone else told me fears are vicious dogs at the gates of hell that encourage you to go the other way. It seemed odd to me that I couldn't find an antonym for fear.

I'm not sure if fear is supposed to be the emotion that tells us to strap on courage or turn around and run away. This is a big discussion but don't different people have different reactions to different kinds of fear situations? You know, flight, fight, freeze? And how do we know which reaction to apply?

Uí!