Sunday, January 06, 2013

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Rise above ...


We marvel and cheer for people who succeed, especially when they succeed against all odds. 
Today I watched a movie entitled The Greatest Game ever Played’ about a golfing underdog who succeeded in winning the 1913 US open … I defy anyone to watch it and not find themselves cheering for Francis, the film’s protagonist played by Shia La Beouf.  
We love people who do well, who rise above all expectations and beat the odds … well .. most of us do, but there are also quite a few of us who only seem to do this is long as the underdog is ‘at a distance’ - when it is someone they do not personally know. I think that this strange phenomenon is best summed up by an old saying (can’t recall where I first heard it) - ‘We love it when friends are successful - just as long as they are not more successful than we are’. Yikes!
I have seen this phenomenon in action - up close and personal - and it is ugly. I guess we all know this to be true … but it does raise the interesting question: why?
I think it may be because ‘hero’s (at a distance) are no immediate threat to our ego … they are ‘over there’ - part of THAT story - and not OUR story. When someone close succeeds in a way that perhaps we could have succeeded ourselves (but did not) we are forced to question our own (often imagined) failings. They bought a house, why didn’t I? They made that money, what didn’t I? They have that great relationship, why don’t I? Etc. 
It seems we are fine with Storey’s, with Movie’s, with Hero’s-at-a-distance - but often not-so-fine when it’s our friend, our neighbour, etc. 
Immunise yourself against this kind of thinking/behavioural reaction today - realise this; there are abundant opportunities … plenty of chances - heaps of houses - lot’s of money - a zillion opportunities for a wonderful relationship …. we are no longer living 3000 years ago, when resources may have been scarce and if someone else grabbed something, it mean’t that we missed out. 
I love seeing other people succeed - it serves as a poignant reminder to me that abundance is abundant.

JBW 2012

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