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97 Helpless, clever, enlightened – which are you?
Just like you
A woman approached a
stranger in a narrow hallway. Just as she swerved right the
oncoming woman swerved left. They simultaneously switched
directions, putting them again on a collision course. The teller
of this tale spontaneously blurted out “I wonder how
Emily Post would feel in a situation
like this,” whereupon the stranger replied, “She would feel
exactly as you do. I know because I’m Emily Post.”
Sometimes in this blog we
have a zig-or-zag dance where neither of us knows quite where the
other party is going. When that happens, I feel exactly as you
do. Even though I am the writer here, we are equals as we try to
navigate politely. I welcome the tough questions and value your
answers. The comment field remains open and
Her parents worried when
a little Jewish girl repeatedly buried her doll in the back yard.
A large spoon was her other toy. They wondered why she didn’t
play some other game with her doll. Then they realized
that she was playing out what she experienced of the ghetto. She
hadn’t gone to sporting events at a stadium. She lived without
television and action figures. Conversations were at home. Her
most frequent gathering with other people was at funerals. Her
play was what she knew.
The other end of the
wealth spectrum has the same story. People who have grown up
looking at portfolios, profit-loss statements, and GDP play with
those toys. They realize they are playing a game, the only one
they know. They are as awkward on my modest turf as I would be on
their financial cushion.
Success coaches teach us
about the internal financial thermostat. Lottery winners suddenly
burdened with a fortune continue to manage assets as they always
have. That brings them right back to their familiar level. Not
realizing the opportunities that have opened to them, they play
out their self-limiting beliefs.
The overly wealthy do not
realize what they can do without money. Lack of vision
contributes to their misuse of the plenty they have. If they
solve problems by throwing money at them, they fail to develop
the creativity of those who must make the most of every asset. A
rich man who does not look at the price in a restaurant might not
realize that he could instead build a hospital. Lack of that
awareness is the wealthy man’s self-limiting
Unlimited thinkers aim
their efforts at solving problems, not purposeless accumulation
of wealth. Article 96 taught that
business is people. Skill is knowing what people need as
well as knowing how to fulfill those needs. Limiting our
vision is to limit our achievements.
One ignorance is
illustrated by the “helpless” spouse who claimed in the divorce
proceedings “I can’t live on $20,000 per month.” That is as
self-limiting as the “thinking poor” that keeps lottery winners
from constructively applying their funds.
Another ignorance is
illustrated by the corporate executive who published a paper
explaining how to survive on minimum wage. He would have been
much more convincing if he had demonstrated his point by
experiencing it—and no fair using the company phone for personal
calls. Someone from either extreme is paralyzed if thrust into
the opposite situation. Rich or poor, people are limited by
unawareness of what they have not experienced. We have disparity
because we are clueless.
We return to the theme of
the prior two articles. People are out of touch when they lack
understanding. “Filthy rich” and “not knowing what to do
with all that money” are labels for a mental condition. Those
affected do not maliciously wish harm on others. They simply lack
vision of what constitutes abundance and its function.
Disconnected from the common world, they do not realize their own
power to change reality. It is a helpless feeling, a
self-limiting belief, to be stuck in either poverty or wealth
with no path out.
On the other hand, many
wealthy people have humble beginnings. They manage well because
frugality was necessary. They do not condition people to remain
poor. Instead they spread their experience to help others
prosper. They can communicate with the masses using a common
language of determination. They have the ability and the
generosity to share.
Joyful sharing is within
the reach of anyone. It opens fresh perspective that explores new
methods and possibilities. Lack of imagination is curable
articles 59 and
We do not reject any idea
out of hand—it might be useful somewhere. It is all too common
for us to condemn an idea because of what it is called.
Name-calling and branding are harmful attacks. Applying
understanding, we will not assume someone is wrong who has
merely chosen a clumsy expression. The list in
article 95 names further ingredients to be understood.
Rich or poor, we have much to study before declaring our public
We can expect some
failures (success precursors, according to
article 63). We will
not be unanimous. Disagreement is not necessarily competition; it
can be comparison. We are trying out which idea works better, and
we cut each other some slack.
We will give credit
generously and not demand recognition. Building successful
people relationships is as essential as any other ingredient. It
uses steppingstones and avoids pitfalls.
Today’s article primarily
concentrates on those who do not realize they have the power to
build the school or hospital. Right thinking begins to remove
that self-limiting belief.
For good reason, our
country does not compel our charitable deeds. A homogeneous,
usually smaller, group can reach agreement flexibly, while a
larger, widely diverse group has a smaller footprint of
Therefore, I address the
disparate audience, particularly those who do not appreciate
their own strength. We hope gridlock will not cripple our
government forever, but it is unlikely that the entire country
will settle on one monolithic safety net that will equalize our
possessions. In fact, we do not even want to be completely alike.
Let us merely meet Humans’ Needs.
This does not excuse you
from building the school and the hospital. You choose to own the
good that you can do—preferably not alone. Here is the
key: what counts more than money is vision. If you do not have
copious resources, you can point the way forward for a group. It
is socially advantageous to have progress come from more than one
person. You are the visionary, the starter.
You collect friends who
share your ideals and make a start. High quality planning and
coalition building generate the funding that follows the vision.
A few people could build a hospital alone, but they do well to
challenge the community for participation so the hospital will be
appreciated. Starting the vision is the primary requirement, to
be followed by managerial skill. When that resonates, the project
I ask you to begin
something. Before or after that, bring somebody with
Being For Others Blog copyright © 2020 Kent Busse
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