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Understanding the Game in Two Easy Lessons
The only way to take control of your life, raise your standard of living and move beyond merely surviving is to create your own unique product or service that you offer to increasing numbers of people in exchange for the things of value that you desire. This simple formula applies to countries as well as people. A self-sufficient economy has its own products or services of value to export to the world. Similarly, a self-sufficient individual has something of value to exchange in the global marketplace. That thing of value is based on your natural talent, skill, or interest—in other words, your passion!
There are only two questions and their answers that are of ultimate importance to every member of the human race. Those questions are: How shall I survive? and Why am I here?
“How shall I survive?” is the most basic question. Every decision a person makes is in the interest of his or her survival-or, more accurately, what they perceive is required for that survival.
“Why am I here?” is a more advanced question. Once a person has adequately answered the survival question, and secured some workable means for survival, they typically start to ask more advanced questions about life and its purpose, and eventually get to question #2. It is that yearning for more meaning in one's life that encourages advanced, abstract thought, liberates minds, and moves societies upward towards enlightenment and empowerment. In other words, people and societies prosper only after they stop worrying about basic survival.
It is my contention, and the basis of this essay, that people can best survive when they are free. Freedom, therefore, is the most important imperative. So what is freedom?
There are only two basic freedoms of real value: a place to exist, and the time to do as you please. In other words, without a place to call your own on which you can create and cultivate the means for your survival (i.e. land), you are never truly free. And without control of your time to do the things you desire, you are never truly free.
A “place to call your own” means a place that you own free and clear and that does not require payment of any kind in order for you to exist on it. You are not free if you have to pay someone for a place to exist.
The “time to do as you please” means the time to devote to any exercise or endeavor you choose without interference, obligation or contract. You are not free if someone else is in control of your time.
That is all you need in order to be free, survive, and prosper: a place to call your own, and the time to do as you please. (This supposes, of course, that at least some of that land and/or at least some of your time is devoted to creating sustenance in the form of food to eat, and shelter in the form of protection from the elements as required.)
Everything else you have been led to believe is necessary for your happiness and freedom is contrived. Cell phones, cars, refrigerators, stereos, beds and television are not necessary for survival, happiness, peace of mind, contentment or true prosperity. Now, don't get me wrong. They provide convenience for sure, but they are not ultimately necessary for happiness and prosperity.
It is an unfortunate fact of life that many people today are born into families and situations with no true wealth and no freedom. Their parents have no place and no time to call their own. Perhaps someone in their family tree long ago, traded true value for imaginary value, and now every generation thereafter is paying the price. At some time in the past, someone sold their land-real value-or moved away from a self-sufficient lifestyle to work for someone else. They, in effect, handed their survival over to someone else.
Today, in a turn of events that can only be described as insidious, other people in control are essentially selling this survival back to you. Yes, you are being charged for the right to survive. Survival, in other words, has become a commodity-a product. You pay monthly for a place to call your own, and you trade your most valuable possession-your time-for the money you need to pay for this place to exist.
Once your survival has become a product that you need to purchase with the imaginary wealth you (or your parents) traded your real wealth for, then you become locked into a loop, and compelled to spend your time devising means for accumulating more of this imaginary wealth in order to simply survive.
At the same time, there is another insidious game being played. It's called the game of the artificial need.
Through the power of marketing, people are being convinced that they need certain things in order to be happy. This need is then filled with unnecessary and harmful things. These harmful things invariably cause dependence, addiction and illness. The “Cure” for the harm these unnecessary things cause is then sold in the form of more unnecessary and harmful things, and the trap becomes self-perpetuating.
You are trapped in a game of survival with no real winner. This is what we call the rat race.
The dictionary defines the rat race as “the ruthless, competitive struggle for success in work, etc.”, but it's really called a rat race because, much like any race among rats staged in a maze, a treadmill or laboratory, there is someone else in control for whose benefit the race is really being run, and so, no rat ever really wins.
Mastering the Game
Now, don't despair. On an individual level, it is possible to develop a strategy for wealth that meets your needs. In other words, this game of survival can be mastered. There are great books on how to master the game. And based on the rules of the game, it can be mastered as it is. The key concept, however, is that it can be 'mastered,' but not won. Rats can master the race, but they never really win.
Many generations have bought into the game and more and more people are learning how to master it. People become wealthy and prosperous. So, then, what's the flaw?
The flaw is twofold. First, in this no-win rat race to accumulate the means for your survival, the money you are chasing is imagined wealth. It is not real. And unfortunately, you can never fully replace real wealth (that you lost or gave away) with imagined wealth.
Second, this game of “survival and success” as currently defined, and the accumulation of imagined wealth to satisfy imagined needs is usually at the cost of, usually at odds with, and usually at the expense of the purity of the environment, the rights and freedoms of others, and a functional understanding of reality. So, on a group level-on the level of societal progress-the world devolves. In other words, the world does not get any better when we play the game the way it is.
In still other words, there is a cost to mastering the game the way that it has been developed: The earth gets depleted. The rights and freedoms of others are abridged. People develop dysfunctional interpretations and responses to life, and the cycle of devolution continues.
So mastering the game is flawed activity if.
If you are committed to saving the world; if you are committed to helping others to the ultimate degree; if you are devoted to the welfare of others; if you are intent on preserving the beauty of the planet for future generations; if you are dedicated to justice for all regardless of race or affiliation; if you are about honoring the human spirit; if you are in favor of human rights for the planet’s people; if you are on a quest for a workable understanding of the world and what happens in it, then you realize that the game the way it is needs fixing. Understand this and you are halfway towards real freedom and empowerment.
The New Game
Yes, if the world is to be saved; if global warming is to be prioritized and addressed; if people are to live disease-free lives; if the rights and freedoms of all on the planet are to be honored and respected; if we are to develop a workable understanding of ourselves, of others, and of reality to be able to make better choices, then there must be a change in the way people currently think, communicate and act. People need to be awakened to a specific set of new ideas that will facilitate these changes. People need to see beyond the deceptions that currently skew their perceptions. People need to be able to think critically and analyze their worlds and make choices that are in their own best interests and the interest of global survival and prosperity. They need to play a new game.
But before we can move toward those ideals, we must all be on the same page. I suggest to you, therefore, as a starting point in the practical matter of forming groups and organizations and movements with the purpose of effecting real, lasting and positive change, that you have your members sign a simple agreement that states the following: (This represents just a preliminary working of the basic contract for change.)
I, ____(name here)__, in making suggestions, proposals and decisions on behalf of this organization and movement and its stated goals, put these commitments above all else:
[ ] I am committed to the creation and maintenance of a cleaner, sustainable environment now.
[ ] I am committed to creating optimal health for myself and others according to concepts that do not violate nature's laws.
[ ] I believe in the equal rights of all, and commit that no one's rights will be abridged for my own interests.
[ ] I am willing to question my current beliefs to arrive at a working, possibly new understanding of reality.
Just think how much debate could be avoided if we all started our discussions from this “same page” of agreement. What do you think?
For more tips on acting on your ideas, changing the game, and creating a passion-centered lifestyle, visit www.passionprofit.com!
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Until next time, remember, success is a journey, not a destination!-Walt
(Walt F.J. Goodridge is author of 12 books including Turn Your Passion Into Profit. Walt offers coaching and workshops to help people pursue and profit from their passions. Originally from the island of Jamaica, Walt has grown several successful businesses in the US, and now makes his home here in Saipan. To learn more about the Saipanpreneur Project and Walt's philosophy and formula visit www.saipanpreneur.com and www.passionprofit.com)
WHERE IS SAIPAN?
Located in the western pacific, a short flight from Guam and 3 hours from Japan, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI) is a popular tourist destination rich in history, culture and natural resources. Saipan, just 5 miles wide by 12 miles long, is the largest and most populated of the 14 islands making up an archipelago that stretches 400 miles (north to south) along the edge of the Marianas Trench.
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