|Cutting Edge Ideas from 2500 Years Ago|
To Have And Have Not
Here's a dirty, dark secret: we've become a stratified group of workers in the nearly two years since I launched this newsletter.Among us this summer, unlike 2002 when nearly everyone was feeling dour, there are clearly haves and have-nots.
The haves are divided into what I call the happy haves and the restless haves. The happy haves either sailed through the recession without losing too much steam or have bounced back strongly. Their incomes are high, their career altitude is solid, and they're not worried. The restless haves fit the same objective criteria, only they are not enjoying themselves. The two main reasons for this are: A.They are much more concerned than the happy haves that their prosperity rests on shifting sand and could all change in an instant and B:They are exhausted.
The have-nots are really what I would call have- lesses.(I am speaking about the newsletter group right now, not our society-at-large, which is even more stratified). These are people who are mostly employed at this point, but at reduced incomes and often at a lower level than just a few years ago. Ironically, I have found some in this group to be the most content among us. These gleeful have-nots are really grateful for what they have and are enjoying fewer responsibilities in their work and more balance in their lives. The rest of the have-nots are despondent, wondering "Why me?" and not seeing many outward signs that they will once again ride high.
We're in deep summer, now, and wealth — the Chinese symbol for which is depicted above — may be less on our minds than the water temperature at the beach. Yet many of us have recently gone through mid- year reviews and strategic planning for how we are going to hit our second half goals. Some of us may even believe those strategies are going to get us to the finish line, though the Dilbert fans among us have gone through enough of these exercises to know they are just that: in real life, anything can happen between now and the end of the year. Regardless of whether we consider ourselves haves or have-nots, each of us needs to stay focused and deliver results over the next four months.
But how? And is staying focused enough?
Ezra Bayda, Zen instructor and author of Being Zen; Bringing Meditation to Life, points out:
That very strategy, according to Bayda, is blocking our way to true wealth. Only when we cease clinging to pleasure and avoiding pain and begin to just sit with the moment, asking "What is this?" can we begin to live effective, enjoyable lives. He writes:
We can achieve monetary and career success by staying busy and organized, but that success is as tiring as it is temporary; we become as good as our last achievement (it is not an accident that one of our greatest American plays is not entitled "Death of a CPA."). Achieving lasting success, true wealth, requires attending to the moment whatever it may bring, staying open, being in a state of inquiry.
Here are some wealth strategies for the second half that will help you achieve your goals and end up feeling healthy and whole come December 31st:
Have? Have not? In some ways, these phrases are narratives we weave for ourselves rather than true reflections of reality. I'll admit it's hard to feel whole and optimistic right now, given the embattled world atmosphere and all the evidence of corporate greed beaming at us every day from the media. After all, part of experiencing wealth is having a sense that our hard work matters, that the forces of good, even at work, will ultimately win out.
It's not surprising that we have lost that sense, but it is important to understand that even the worst of these events are moments in time, not global truths. And moments give way to other moments. I'm not saying you should give up your outrage, only to keep it attached to its real trigger and not let it spill over into a widespread sense of futility.Miracles do happen, after all. Who among us ever thought there would be a time when we were friendly with the Russians? Or that surgeons would one day routinely bypass clogged arteries surrounding the heart? The same is true at work. We can make money and take care of our customers in the process, helping to build companies that are positive forces in the world while we feed ourselves and our families. No matter how long you've been in business or how jaded you think you've become, there is still magic to be had.
As my old Australian hippie friend David used to say,