Friday, May 30, 2014

Winners and Losers

I am not very good at idle chit chat, and it's getting worse as I get older.  I hate gossip.  Small minds talk about other people.  If you want to talk, let's talk about the issues that matter.  I want to hear about your passions and what drives you to want to make a difference.  We can even talk about the hurdles that life throws us, but please talk about the ways you can change them.  It's not easy listening to everything that's going wrong if you aren't willing to search for a solution to make it right.  Chances are, if you're talking to me then you're open to solutions, otherwise you don't know me very well.

If you feel the need to complain, I suggest you write about it.  If you are too embarrassed to go public with it, then it's probably not worthy enough a complaint.  Hopefully, that should put it into perspective for you.  Save your breath and don't waste other people's time and energy (unless they are a therapist) unless you're prepared to take advice from that person - in which case, choose the person you complain to wisely.  Better yet, stop complaining and focus your energy on doing something to change the situation.  That would be so much more productive.

I'm not saying I don't whinge and feel sorry for myself from time to time.  Everyone does.  It's human nature.  I'm the sort of person who will show up on a friend's doorstep with my pad of paper full of notes, to help categorize my complaints (just ask my friend Jacqui).  I have written an equal amount of solutions and options, as I have complaints.  If I don't have that pad of paper I stay home and write, or meditate to find a solution.  I'm lucky enough to have a handful of friends who know me well enough to know that I am not a serial complainer.  They are there to talk me through my options or make me a cuppa tea and listen (and laugh) at my crazed lists.  If you are lucky enough to have friends like this, cherish them, because if you become a chronic complainer, they will disappear from your life.  Tread carefully and respect their need for optimism.
Life will deal us a tough hand now and again, but you have to try to work with what you've been dealt.  Rearrange your cards, throw out a few that you don't want, pick up a few more.  Your aim is improve your chances of winning that round.  What happens if you do nothing?  If you don't play, you'll never win.  It's all a game of chance.  The good news is, it's just temporary.  The next hand could be a full house... a winner.  

Do you express your gratitude just as openly as you are willing to express your disappointment?  Sadly people often don't appreciate the winning hands.  

The problem with our society is that it has become unacceptable to feel euphoric about holding a winning hand.  We've become afraid of being labelled "egocentric" or "narcissistic" or "up ourselves".  So we feel the need to tip-toe around all the losers, so we don't upset the game (and spoil our chances of another winning hand).  Do you notice that the same people win and the same people lose?  It has nothing to do with luck.   

Occasionally though, winners often don't get invited back to play.

Here in New Zealand we call this Tall Poppy Syndrome.   I experienced it when I first arrived here 10 years ago.  I was offering myself to charities as a speaker, and an advocate for their cause.   I wasn't asking to get paid, I wanted to volunteer, so I couldn't understand why on earth no one was interested.  I was told, "Sorry, we already have someone in a paid position to do that."   After about 10 attempts with 10 different charities, I gave up.   It made me sad.  I have a gift and I wasn't given a chance to share it.

I was talking with a friend of mine from Ireland who had a difficult time finding work. Like me, she is a winner in life with a vibrant personality.  Sometimes I think that Kiwis feel threatened because if they hire a vibrant outsider with more experience than them, they fear they might have to "up" their game.  They don't have the confidence or belief that by inviting a winner to the game, it will challenge them to play better and to increase their own chances of winning.  Instead it seems, they want to keep the same cards and hope for the winning hand one day... which will never come.

We have forgotten how important it is to share winning - regardless of who won.  It's so important to celebrate when things are going well for someone, because it could be you next.  What good is winning if it can't be shared?  This is how we know what success is, and who our real friends are.  We are becoming a society of dissatisfied complainers who only talk about the bad cards we've been dealt, and feel disappointed when no one wants to listen.  Sadly, that's because there are so many others who are engrossed with their own losing hand.  Sometimes chronic losers set up "Pity Parties" where they all get together to talk about how life won't deal them better cards.  You will never find a single winner at one of these parties.

Winners know that this is a game, and everyone has the ability to choose different cards to better their odds.  I'll say it again - we forget that everything is temporary.  

Think about a real poker game.  You wouldn't go to a poker game, pull out the same cards from your pocket every week and sit there complaining that you never win.  That's just insane.  The most successful players turn up every week expecting to be challenged and filled with the enthusiasm that they are going to win the jackpot.  

What cards are you holding right now?  Take a good look at them.  You could be holding a winning hand and you don't even realize it.

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