There are people who believe resources are finite. They believe that the pie is only big enough for one or two people to have a slice. While I'm certain this is true of some biological resources - like fossil fuels and water - there are other resources I don't really believe are limited. Happiness. Success. These things are . . . subjective. My happiness might be defined differently than yours, and my success might be defined differently than yours as well. So there's no way to say that just because I'm successful or happy doesn't mean that you can't be, too. You might define your success or your happiness completely differently than I do. And also, since they're not tangible things, who's to say that you can't hold them and I can't hold them at the exact same time?
When I was younger, I used to think, boy do I wish karma would come back and get people who have wronged me. I don't think that so much anymore. A lot of times, I even wish happiness or success more for people who have hurt me over the years. Of course, I don't always think that instantly, in the sting of the hurt or the drama. (I say lots of nasty things, trust me.) But eventually, I realize that some of those people need the happiness or success even more, because a lot of times those people go out of their way to do silly things to other people. And people who go out of their way to do silly things to other people - or even those who just don't think outside of themselves at all - are the people who, at heart, are probably the loneliest and unhappiest. So now, when I see people who have wronged me in the past, instead of thinking, I sure hope they get what's coming to them, I think, you know, the pie is large enough for everyone to have a slice. The pie of happiness - the pie of success - is not like the pie of natural gas or water. It is big enough for all of us to have a slice. There is enough to go around. And maybe what that person really needs is to find a slice of the right pie so they'll stop worrying what everyone else's tastes like.
There's been this absolute outpouring of my friends and colleagues lately who've decided to start their own businesses. It's hard work. I've left large companies 3 or 4 times now to help organize startups. I can tell you that it's just not for me: wearing multiple hats, trying to organize chaos. I'd rather climb a ladder, and have some stability, and run my own projects on the side, however mundane that might be. But that doesn't make my schedule or my goals any less hectic, and there is a lot of insinuation that only someone who is working for themselves or starting their own business is really "on their grind." This all goes back to what I am saying about the pie being big enough for everyone to have a slice. The pies of "busy-ness" and "business" are big enough for all of us to have a slice, just like the pies of happiness and success. Life is not a constant competition.
It is funny that I got into triathlon, because I actually despise competition. I think it makes me a worse person, not a better person. It makes me petty and snarky to try to "beat" someone. At heart, I want to share my pie with everyone. I don't want to have hog a piece for myself. I don't want to think that I have to "beat" someone to win first place, or "get my ass kicked" to lose. I think "kicking ass" is amazing. I think "kicking someone else's ass" sounds kind of . . . well . . . mean. And I especially don't want to do that if the person is a friend or colleague. I have an easier time picking out someone in a race to "pass" to motivate myself if I don't know that person at all, because I can see them as a landmark and not as an actual person. Once the element of "competition" comes in, everything becomes petty and small to me.
I know that this way of looking at things means I'm going to be eating my pie by myself an awful lot. And that's something I'm getting used to. Other people can compete with me all they want, but the only person I'm here to beat is me. I'm not saying that I don't feel that internal urge to fight back when someone is trying to "win" something over me. But when that comes, it is almost invariably replaced by this frustration that they don't want sit down and share a slice of pie with me. And then I usually just go back to my little corner of the world, make myself a cup of coffee, and eat my pie alone.
And you know what? From time to time someone else who thinks like me comes along and shares theirs with me.
And it's actually kinda nice.
Labels: the pie is big enough