I am in the beginning stages of a 16 day road trip, taking my fun, if impractical, second car, intentionally traveling on “back roads” from my home in Colorado Springs, to my first destination, Chico, to visit my eldest son and his family. It is my second night on the road, staying in a quaint, down home hotel, in a small, down home town in the middle of nowhere on Hwy 50. In the middle of nowhere, going from no place to the next place. Ah, but the people in these no places are unique. Open. Friendly. Trusting. And maybe more than trusting, simply not suspicious enough not to trust on first sight. Instead of, “Why should I trust you, we just met.” it is, “Why shouldn’t I trust you, we just met.” And it is more than just giving a stranger the benefit of the doubt, it is a positive belief that unless proven otherwise, people are pretty good.
When I was checking into my hotel for the night, I was asked for my car license plate. When I replied that I did not know, the woman checking me in asked me the make of the car. “Porsche”, I replied, at which point she said that was good enough for ID–they don’t get many of those around here. Her son, who turned out to be 18, was hanging out visiting Mom, the lady who was checking me in; he went out to look at the car. When he came back in, he said, “Someday I am going to get to drive one of those.” “Why not today?” I responded, and off we went. We put the top down, and with Gavin behind the wheel backing out as his Mom, the hotel’s GM, took his picture. We went off to visit a good friend of his–then went to see the abandoned gold mine in town. Gavin said that most people who come through don’t even know about the mine, much less actually drive up to look at it through the fence. Huh. I certainly would not have. More importantly, I got to know a little about Gavin and his ambitions, and touched lightly on the importance of setting goals to get what you want in this life. Gavin was clearly thinking about how to imitate the success he saw as being behind the ability to write a check for a really fun car. And, yes, we did talk about not buying things that depreciate on credit. And speaking of trust, how many places in the US do you know of where a total stranger would be allowed–with Mom sitting right there–to take an 18-year-old out for a drive unescorted? How many? I was blessed to have been in one.
Now, let’s look at a different conversation. “I don’t care how long it takes, as long as everyone has to wait the same amount of time.” I heard this statement made by a single-payer supporter on a talk show debate about health insurance. So, if everyone had to wait, say 3 months, instead of the wealthy and fortunate waiting one week and the poor and the less fortunate waiting one month, he’d be OK. His clear resentment of the kind of even modest success that was once required to have private health insurance was so great that if the poor had to wait longer under single payer than prior to single payer, he would be okay–as long as everyone had to wait the same amount of time. He wants not only equal access under the law, which is wonderful and just, but equal, flat if you will, results–also mandated by law. I call this the new Flat Earth Society. Legal access mandated by law–equal–flat–results, also mandated by law.
Resenting success, and preaching that success is due to some sort of inherent injustice, is certainly easier than working hard. But it cheats everyone out of the cellular-level satisfaction and joy that comes from succeeding despite the obstacles. And yes, deep satisfaction can aslso come from just the struggle–even without hitting all of your goals–or even any of then–if you have done your best.
Those who practice and preach resenting success seek to negate the positive consequences of success, and, at the same time, eliminate the negative consequences of failure. For a dangerously growing number of people, failure is no longer a necessary stepping stone to success–failure is to be eliminated. Not overcome, but done away with. Made impossible. And with the elimination of failure, comes the elimination of success. The highs and lows are flattened out. The Flat Earth Society.
Let’s go back to Gavin, who will no doubt encounter failure along his path in life, and apply the two main tenets of the Results With Reason belief set:
- Personal Responsibility; practice it, teach it and
- Be Your Brother’s Keeper.
Gavin is in the early stages of learning to take personal responsibility by setting goals for himself. I chimed in slightly by teaching a bit about personal responsibility in handling money.
And we will all need to be our Brother Gavin’s Keeper when he stumbles. As we all do.
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It is time for our usual parting thought. For us at Results With Reason, it is not only change your thinking, change your life. It is change your thinking, change your actions, change the world. And if you can do it in love and enjoy the people around you at the same time, all the better. Remember: Knowledge by itself is the booby prize.
Will Luden, writing to you from “on the road.”