Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Just Some Random Stray Voltage from a Questioning Mind

Are you more likely or less likely to win a game if you get to make up the rules?

Of course we all understand that if we play a game by rules created for the benefit of others, we will lose every time. If we get to make up the rules, we are more likely to win at the game we call life. If you take money from another human without understanding this simple principle you can find yourself playing to lose. That is true whenever you cash a paycheck. It is true whenever you borrow money.

Are you playing a game that makes you happy? If the game you are playing is making you extremely unhappy, why don’t you think about playing a different game with a different set of rules, one that favors you?

If we choose to take a paycheck from an individual or an organization, to some degree we are entering into a fiduciary relationship with our employer. We are agreeing to act in the best interests of that employer, even if what we are doing is not necessarily in our own personal best interests. Assuming there are no criminal activities involved, the employer/employee relationship should be a covenant, an agreement between two ethical entities that is mutually beneficial. Unfortunately, that is not always the case. Sometimes criminals seem to have a better understanding of the concept of covenant than legal businesses.

Maybe that is why they call MAFIA organizations, families?

Life is about finding balance. In this case the balance is finding freedom in structure. If you define financial freedom as the ability to live a good life without accepting a paycheck from the man, you are still not off the hook. Finding structure in freedom is really not that different than finding freedom in structure. If you are playing the same 18 holes at a particular golf course day after day, will there come a point in time when the game of golf is no longer a source of joy?

Turning your back on the world for the religious life still won’t solve your basic problem. The nuns in Mother Teresa’s order wear wedding rings to symbolize their marriage to our Lord and Savior. Mother Teresa would complain that she understood the difficulties faced by married couples. She was married to a husband who was at times quite difficult and demanding.

So take a few minutes. Look around at your life. Are you finding the balance between structure and freedom that leads to happiness or is there some room for improvement? If you are working for a paycheck, can you find a way to live in greater freedom, playing the game by at least some of your rules, while still acting in the best interests of your employer? Quite likely, you can improve that relationship. If not, it might be time to consider another path.

Did buying all that stuff you didn’t need with money you didn’t have really make you happy? Is working for a paycheck just to give the money you have earned to a bank for the privilege of driving an aging automobile that is worth less than you owe to work every day to get more money for the bank? Personally, I don’t want to play that game. I don’t think I would ever win if I choose to play the game of life by the bank’s rules.

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