Life Wasn't Meant To Be Easy
We are brought up in our society to become competitive, this is fostered by our education system and the values our parents transfer to us. We learn the value of cooperation, and of being able to ‘get along’, but it is this sense of ‘getting your share’and competing with others which seems to be favored in our society.
Sport is encouraged in our schools, and feelings of emnity for the opposing team, for one’s competitors is greatly fostered. Little kids of 5 & 6 are encouraged to join ‘Little League’ clubs and Netball/Footie is hugely talked about. For many parents this approach to their kid’s education seems normal; they themselves were quite often brought up in the same way.
But this focus on winning, on competing with barely controlled aggression, is this really what human life has to be? If we look around us we can readily see that unhappiness is pretty common in our cities, towns and small communities. The Suicide rate in Australia matches and often exceeds the Road Toll, which in itself outstrips the casualty rate of War. Over 1.2 million people kill themselves each year in the world. Now we can go on pretending that everything is normal, and only the mentally unwell, the vulnerable tend get depressed, and top themselves, but this is quite simply untrue.
Very few of us are completely untouched by this massive epidemic of human misery. So it is well past time when we stopped to consider the reasons, no doubt someone you know, or even in your own family is depressed, or even has paid the ultimate price.
We all think Sport, and the attitudes we have to life are pretty normal, but in effect our ruthless attitudes towards coming out on top, and winning, of the pressures to succeed are killing people and generating untold suffering.
One of my heroes, Gary Vaynerchuk speaks of providing a role model for young people-so they don’t regard ‘Gold Watches’ ‘Ferraris’ and ‘Mansions’ as being their objectives, and instead he wants to foster ‘Hard work, humility, empathy and kindness’.
How much do we need this here in Australia where we have such a massive number of people who choose to exit, rather than carry on trying to measure up?
Hard work, anything worth having is only achievable through working for it.
Humility, in our big noting culture where appearances, image, ambition are valued above all else, we need to understand what ‘Humility’ is, that we are all simply human beings alive on this little planet, that we all deserve an opportunity to be happy.
Empathy, this is one of those words which is in danger of becoming just another ‘buzz word’-it actually means something important, the ability to actually feel what others feel, something which is not encouraged in our sport-centric education system & society where you are at a distinct disadvantage if you are not equally aggressive and ruthless in your dealings.
Kindness, can we express kindness to people other than those who are in our family, in our ‘clubs’, in our tribe? Kindness is something the Vicar preaches about on Sunday if you go to church, something you display at Christmas time for a few days because it is our custom. Do you think being ‘Kind’ is a weakness, a soft option?
The suicide rate in our society is appalling, depression is at epidemic levels. Don’t you think it is time to review how you think, how you work, what you consider ‘valuable’?
Business can be a force for development, for building affluence and opportunity, but increasingly it is just the means for exploiting, for taking more than you need, for treading on people.
You can either ignore the distressing reality of our society, or you can make a difference. Choice, this is something we all have.