Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Go Ahead, Keep Up With The Joneses

beach-shackThe Joneses are getting a bad rap. They’re just doing their thing.  Little by little they are accomplishing their great goals. A little everyday; a lot over time. Meanwhile, you’re sitting out on the stoop taking your last drag of an expensively taxed cigarette that you know you shouldn’t be smoking because you can’t afford them now and you probably won’t be able to afford the medical costs later.

Or maybe it’s the end of a long day and you’re pulling into the driveway in your jalopy that you curse every morning and bless every night because it got you where you wanted to go without breaking down.

No matter, some people manage to always blame the Joneses.  It’s not their fault.  They’re working hard on the things that are important to them. All you’re seeing is the results of their efforts.

Look closer. Get to know them. It’s been said we’re the average of the five people we spend the majority of our time with.  Maybe you need to up the average. Spend a little less time with the people who are agreeing with you that yes the economy is bad, and government is bad, and the weather is bad and things aren’t like they used to be.  Maybe you should spend some time with the people who may or may not agree with the current conditions but are working within the constraints of them; and instead are focused on the possibilities of life.

When you play a game, be it sports, or chess or hot dog eating with someone who isn’t as good as you it’s great for your ego because you win and you get to brag and rub their face in it. But honestly that gets old, and if you aren’t challenging yourself you’re getting old too, and faster than you think. Conversely, if you play against people who are better than you, you’ll probably lose. If you reflect and “study the films” you’ll learn something. And if you keep playing against those type of people you will continually learn and progressively improve. Eventually you will beat them and that will be better, because that win is based on effort, growth and skill, not by picking on the little guy. Not by bullying.

Back to the Joneses. We all have them, that person, family, or group we equally admire and despise. It’s not fair that we despise them. We just do because their success reminds us of our failure. There’s a cure for that. Stop acting like a failure. Get off your rump and start working on your great goals. As you start achieving them you’ll notice people coming to you for advice on how you did it and can you help them. You can and you will, because that thrill is a helluva lot more satisfying then repeatedly beating some pimp squeak.

Soon, you and the Joneses will be helping each other get better. Some people look at it as friendly competition. If that helps you for now, go for it. Unfortunately that’s still a win-lose mentality. Real success comes when you realize you’re bettering not only each other, but those around you. That’s acting with a sense of responsibility and stewardship. Learning not only for the benefit of your own goals but also, eventually even more so, for the benefit of others.