happiness_by_wint3r88

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“There is no happiness for people at the expense of other people.”

 

—-

 

Anwar Sadat

 

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Ok.

 

There is a lot of talk about winning these days. That is simply a bastardized version of a focus on ‘outcomes’ which is the bane of the business world today.

 

Happiness is being tied so tightly to ‘winning’ that its cost, the expense as it were, is suffocating the larger perspective.

expense of the moment

This expense can come in a variety of larger perspective forms … character, self-limitation and time.

This is a tricky balance for anyone.

 

This is actually a discussion on the balance between me <as in the individual> and we <the business … or how we earn our living>.

 

Look.

 

 

I talk a lot about balance in Life & in business.

 

 

Balance as in good & bad or pragmatic & hopeful or pessimism & optimism. These are the quandaries that seeking success creates from a moral, organizational culture/political and even spiritual perspective. Stuff like that.

 

Here is a truth not maybe people discuss.

 

Success should demand some sacrifice.

 

Uh oh.

 

But have you noticed how rare it is that when someone is focused on winning they rarely talk about ‘at what expense’ other than effort?

 

That is a reflection of a decision that ‘the win’ is the only thing that matters and the expense is always worth it <to win>.

 

This is an incredibly easy trap to fall into.

Why?

 

Because most of us really have no clue what we want to do in our lives and with our lives. Yeah. we may have some ‘short horizon priorities’ but anything that resembles a ‘more than minor Life’ is more often than not simply out of our mental framing.

 

This means that it is pretty natural that in a world where pretty much everything seems in flux that we want to have some things that are tangible to measure progress and ‘what is.

 

This means that ‘winning’ all of a sudden assumes a fairly high priority in one’s Life and in business.

 

This also means that ‘at what expense’ is more often than not relegated to the trashcan because ‘the win’ is all that matters.

 

Let me be clear.

 

While I just rationalized how and why this happens … this is fucked up.

 

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“People do things to survive, and then after they survive, they can’t live with what they’ve done.”

 

 

Adam Johnson

 

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It is fucked up because all of a sudden this ‘winning’ thing we are focused on begins to infringe upon our Life purpose … or the soul of who and what we are.

 

You may look at winning as a means to survive but afterwards … maybe not hard to plan success_and_happinessimmediately but at some point … you realize you have to be accountable for what you have done under the guise of ‘surviving.’

 

I don’t really care how you define ‘life purpose’ but simplistically most of us want to reflect upon our lives not only looking at success but at the quality of the success.

 

And by ‘quality’ I mean “at what expense did I achieve that success?”

 

Here’s the truth.

 

We exist for some period of time.

During that time we do things. Some of these things are important. Some of them are unimportant. The important things are supposed to give our lives meaning and happiness. But what if you get them wrong? What if you fuck up the big important things?

Shit.

 

What happens if you fuck up the unimportant things?

 

This is why moments matter. Uhm. This is why all moments matter.

 

 

This is why ‘how you win’ matters.

 

 

This is why ‘at what expense’ becomes maybe the most important question someone can ask when pursuing winning.

 

 

Now.

 

Everyone asks “what do we need to do to win? … but ‘expense?’ … not so much.

 

I imagine my real point is that with such a huge emphasis on winning we need to recognize that everything involves sacrifice.

 

Everything includes some expense.

 

So despite the fact the answer almost always seems to be “win” <at any cost>… the question is ‘at what expense is tolerable?”

 

And therein lies the issue.

 

Money, energy & time are the three easiest expenses. Everyone focuses on these because, frankly, they avoid the bigger potential expenses.

 

Self-limitation is the next expense that steps up. This one is fraught with peril.

Peril in that if you admit you are not capable of doing what must be done you become a … well … loser. We have set some absurd expectations with regard to ‘the sky is the limit’ and ‘if you want to win you need to do whatever it takes.’ The latter avoids a possible truth that ‘whatever t takes’ may actually be beyond your own slef limitations. But nonetheless … limits are for losers.

 

The last expense is character. Throw in maybe integrity, compassion and possibly dignity <yours and others>.

 

This is the expense that ‘winners’ tend to avoid discussing because it dangerously nears “nice guys don’t win’ territory. And as we eye this ‘nice guy’ <or ‘play by the rules’> expense we suddenly step onto the slippery slope of moral relativism. We begin justifying our behavior based on other’s behavior. If someone is cheating, or stretching the rules, or … god forbid … simply being slimy soulless cutthroat competitors … well … then we begin to morph into their behavior because they have established the rules to win.

This is just a race to the bottom.

 

Anyway.

 

This is the expense that almost everyone avoids discussing because it dangerously nears ‘ethics’ or “what is right versus what is wrong’ <which, when it comes to winning, becomes an incredibly uncomfortable discussion>.

 

 

And all of this last expense circles how we, each of us, would answer ‘what does it mean to live a good life?’

 

This is really all about living ethically and conducting business ethically. This is doing the right thing braveryabout what you do and how the objectives need to align with a certain moral code <this can get even trickier because not everyone’s moral code is the same>.

 

It is certainly ethical to pursue money, status and ‘the win.’ But do we have a moral obligation to pursue those things not at the expense of others or by doing the right thing’?

 

 

You actions matter.

 

How you achieve a win matters.

 

Winning, or achieving outcomes, is desirable … but you should always seek to identify ‘at what expense?” If you do not do this … while you may be able to count a shitload of wins … they may end up looking a little hollower in the end.

 

For, in the end, the expense is that of character. And that is an expense that no win, no number of wins, can ever generate enough to pay the cost.

 

 

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“If I’m sincere today, what does it matter if I regret it tomorrow?”

 

 

José Saramago

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Written by Bruce