Monday, April 28, 2014

Alice and the Cheshire Cat

Alice: “Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?"
Cheshire Cat: "That depends a good deal on where you want to get to." Alice: "I don't much care where –"
Cheshire Cat: "Then it doesn't matter which way you go.”
― Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland

Lately I have felt the need to write more often than usual about the importance of others in our financial lives. Today I will write about two kinds of people, door keepers and models.

There are times when we have simply come to end of the rope. We find ourselves facing overwhelming obstacles. All of us, even if our situation is not so dramatic, are in need of counsel in times of uncertainty. In the simplest possible language, sometimes we just need a break. As a Christian, I believe that normally such counsel, instruction, or opportunities come from the Lord by means of other people.

Somewhere out there a doorkeeper is waiting for you. This person has the answer you need. She has access to the resources you need and she is willing to share them with you. He can introduce you to the man who actually makes the hiring decisions for the company of your dreams. Perhaps there is a doorkeeper who may even be able to introduce you to your future husband or wife.

Here is where it gets tricky. This person may or may not be someone you like or respect. Alice found the Cheshire Cat annoying and quite mad. Yet the creature had information and wisdom she needed on her journey through Wonderland. This person may or may not become a permanent part of your life. I doubt that Alice kept the Cheshire Cat as a house pet once she woke up from her dreams on that riverbank. However, for whatever reason, the doorkeeper is a person who holds a necessary key to your future. For this reason unless you are a clairvoyant, you must live by the Golden Rule, “Do to others what you want them to do to you. This is the meaning of the Law of Moses and the teaching of the prophets.” You simply don’t know. This cuts both ways. You may not be a nice person, but you may hold the key bit of knowledge or opportunity that would bless someone you may not even like. Bless them anyway. You will find joy in the success of others. You will not find happiness if you injure others or withhold blessings that are within your power to bestow upon others.

If you don’t like some aspect of your life, you must change yourself to change your life. As much as that goes against the spirit of this age, it is the truth. Don’t expect the world to change for your convenience. Find someone who is succeeding in an area where you are failing. There is an important difference between a doorkeeper and a model. A doorkeeper is a person who has something you want or need. A model is someone you want to become, a person just like you only better.

The easiest place to find models is on the bookshelves of your public library. Somewhere there is a person who overcame your problems, with your personality and your resources. Study their life.

The best place to find a model is in your circle of friends and acquaintances, your tribe. If you do not have a model or models in your immediate circle, your circle is too small or you are living in the wrong tribe. If your friends are encouraging you, supporting you, and yes, even kicking you in your backside when you need it, these are people you want in your circle. If they are dragging you down to their level, tempting you to give up your dreams, or excusing your bad behavior, it is time for you to move on.

When you find a model, make them a part of your life. Treat them with respect. Don’t be afraid to invite them out to lunch. Ask them questions. Ask them how they found a path to fulfillment facing the same handicaps that you face. If you have found a model, you will know it. When you hear their advice, your heart will confirm it with a resounding, “Yes!” This is different from even the best advice given by a doorkeeper, advice that you might desperately need to hear. Sometimes a prescription given by a doorkeeper, might not taste very good. I don’t like to think about the diet I should be eating if I really want to continue losing weight.

The very best outcome to your search for doorkeepers and models is finding both in the same person. We generally call such people mentors. These people can provide us with opportunities, ongoing counsel (sometimes for decades), protection from our enemies, and a model of how to live a good life in keeping given our personality, gifts, and dreams.

Happy hunting; may you be blessed with the doorkeepers you need, the models you want, and a mentor to guide you through the valleys and mountaintops of life.

Now just relax and enjoy a conversation between Alice and that annoying cat.

Alice and the Cheshire Cat

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