We are our own competition

No doubt you are familiar with Pogo’s famous quote: “I have seen the enemy, and he is us!” The reason that quote has remained so endearingly popular with us is, unconsciously, we know it is true.

And note, I’ve emphasized the word, unconsciously. Because, on the other hand, consciously, we try to convince ourselves it’s not our fault that something didn’t happen the way it was supposed to happen: our excuses are, there’s too much competition; people are always undercut my prices; my employees don’t have to work more than eight hours a day, so why should I have to? The list of excuses goes on and on. I’ll give you a real-life example of what I mean by our own attitude and lack of thinking that causes us to fail so often.

I’m retired now, but I was in the sign painting and promotion business in my younger years. One day a fellow came and wanted me to make up some promotional flyers advertising his new start-up business: postal home delivery. Since we don’t have mail home delivery in our town: only post-office boxes, on the surface, this seemed like a good opportunity to fill a service need that was not available in our town before his arrival.

I asked him, since this was a new business venture in town, if he had done a survey to see if people wanted postal home delivery. He never did answer me directly, but assured me, that, being a retired postal worker himself, home delivery in a town that didn’t have home delivery, was a good idea.

Long story short, his business was a total disaster that never lasted out the year. In an angry huff, he and his wife packed up and left town. In a parting editorial letter to our local paper, he bitterly complained that the townspeople were too backwards to appreciate the service—home postal delivery—that he was willing to supply.

I can’t speak for other towns, but for us, we don’t need—nor want home delivery. For us, the post office acts as a community gathering place. It gives us a chance to briefly meet and chat with someone who lives on the other end of town and get up to date on what’s happened in his life since the last meeting.

In other words, our post office acts as a mini social gathering place: an excuse for going to the post office to pick up our mail that doubles as an opportunity to socialize. For that reason, most of us don’t want home delivery!

So, where to put the blame for his business failure: on the town for not wanting his ‘modernized opportunity services’, or should he blame himself for not doing proper research before investing his time and money in a no-win idea?

The same ‘blame-game’ idea can be applied to many of our social involvements. One of my present-day pet blame-game topics is our personal health and our present concern over the dangers of the COVID-19 virus. How many of you think the virus is to blame for a person getting sick from it, or even dying? Come on, now, don’t be shy. Raise your hands!

If the virus is to blame, why aren’t all of us sick? The fears also are that it is more dangerous to the elderly. If it is, then why aren’t all elderly sick or dying from the virus than there are at present? Could it be that the virus is more able to attack a person who has a low immune system, regardless if they are child, adult or senior? Therefore, the virus skips me, because I’m healthy, but ‘hits’ my neighbor who is careless in his health habits.

So, in reality, for the majority of us it’s our own lack of personal health care, not the virus that’s to blame for us getting sick.

A practical saying that I’ve always found helpful when I get into the ‘accusing syndrome’ game is: “For every finger that you point at someone else, remember, there are three fingers pointing back at you.”

We could save ourselves a lot of disappointment if we would search ourselves first before looking at our envireonment for failed solutions and/or causes.

If You Know You Are Right …

If you know you’re right, it really doesn’t matter what others think? Note, I’ve emphasized the word, ‘know.’ I’ll give you a simple example of the difference between knowing something to be right and believing something to be right.

You came home from the office a short while ago, a bit tired, but you remembered your routine before you can call it a. day: taking out the garbage. You fulfill that task in your usual, efficient way, then return to the comfort of your living, anticipating a quiet, restful evening. As you settle into your easy chair, your wife calls out to you from the kitchen, “honey, don’t forget, it’s your job to take out the garbage!”

You explode. “I’ve already taken out the damn garbage! Now leave me alone!”

What made you lose your composure?

It relates back to your insecurity.

According to an article in Psychology Today, “The 3 Most Common Causes of Insecurity and How to Beat Them,” insecurity appears to be at the heart of our auto-instinct to flare up and defend yourself, often at the slightest provocation.

            The first, and possibly the main cause of insecurity is a feeling of failure or rejection. Did you loose last night at the poker game, and now you’ll be a bit short on your monthly grocery allowance, and you’re afraid your wife will find out?

            You self-punish: how stupid of me gamble away our grocery money! Why don’t I have more self-control? I’m just a failure! … and so on.

            A second reason for an angry flareup can be social rejection. Did your boss give that envied contract to another employee and that has put you into a rejective social slump?

            That damn Bill, he’s always suck-holing up to the boss! My idea was far better than Bills! Even Dolly, our secretary, said that I was more qualified!

            The third cause of insecurity mentioned in the article is, are you a perfectionist? In that burst of anger, you feel that your partner should know you take out the garbage at exactly eight o’clock right after you get home from work! Why is she questioning your efficiency?

            Our security/insecurity is something few of us try to analyse. Yet, if we took the time to do so, we could save ourselves a lot of grief. In this present era of our evolution, everything is in rapid change. Look at the violence and distrust that’s present everywhere, and to think that a lot—no! I’d say most of that is generated through people’s lack of faith in themselves, and lack of, or unwillingness to understand of what is actually happening in the world.

            But that doesn’t mean you have no choice but be trapped in this nightmarish world and have to accept whatever is thrown at you.

            You’ve heard the expression, “solid as a rock,” or the familiar hymn, “Rock of Ages.” A rock is a symbol of stability: solidness; surety. Does it care about what the environment thinks about it?

            Another example is the weather and the weatherman. Does the weather really care what the weatherman thinks about its—the weather’s everchanging nature?

            If we wish to survive in all this insanity, we have to become ‘as solid as a rock,’ yet as versatile to change as the weather.

            A rock is! That’s a fact. The weather is! And that’s a fact. You are! That’s another fact! Practice mindfulness. Be present in all that you do. Do your due-diligent research and be informed, not opinionated.

            Like the Universal Consciousness itself—God, if you will, be as solid as a rock, and as flexible to change as the weather: secure in your knowing, and it won’t matter what anyone else thinks or believes of you!