Archive for June, 2013

A commentary

June.3. 2013

Someone once said, “Christianity started as a movement in the Middle East, it became an institution in Europe, and in America, it became big business.”

One of my favorite pastimes is to watch televangelists on TV and compare their various modus operandi.

Lavishly decorated TV studios, glamorous supermodel sidekicks or reporters, appreciative audiences.

And of course, one must not forget the never ending footage of hungry (but extremely cute) children, staring into the camera with stricken eyes.

And then the inevitable plea for your generosity.

Just one buck a day from you, and these poor children will never have to go hungry again.

I think I will have to rephrase that earlier statement. “Christianity started as a movement in the Middle East, it became an institution in Europe and in America, it provides an opportunity for all kinds of sleazeballs and scam artists to get in on the act”

Now, don’t get me wrong.

I’m actually a fan of some of these televangelists.

Joel Osteen, for example.

Some have called him a prosperity preacher.

I prefer to think of him as a self-help pastor. There’s nothing wrong, of course, with being a self-help pastor. All great teachers in the past were self-help gurus in one way or another – Jesus himself is a prime example.

What I like about Osteen is his upbeat message – a message of fulfilling your potential and living up to your full promise.

It’s a message brimming with love, hope, and optimism as opposed to one brimming with fear, self-loathing, and the threat of eternal damnation.

And he doesn’t beg you for contributions, not like some of these other televangelists who do it under the guise of tithing. (10%? No wonder some of these guys have money to build $16 million mansions for themselves.)

And he doesn’t need any glamorous supermodels either, to sell his message. His message is enough to sell itself.

And he doesn’t need an endless parade of hungry children to tug at your heartstrings and make you fork over your hard earned money so he can live his lavish lifestyle.

He sells his books.

And his books are a prime example of that win-win strategy I talked about earlier.

You win by learning to live that hope-filled optimistic prosperous life he extols in his books and he wins by making a bundle from selling those books to you.

Winners are losers 2

June.2. 2013

This post is an extension of the last.

It’s clear that not all winners are losers.

Because wherever you look, there are many highly successful people who do not subscribe to the win-win strategy.

For them it’s the win-lose strategy and you’re the one that’s in the latter category.

How are these winners losers?

It’s a matter of timing.

If you were to see Khaddafy and Madoff five years ago, you would probably have included them in this group of win-lose ‘highly successful winners.’

But look at them now. They don’t look so hot anymore.

Everything catches up with you eventually, if not today, tomorrow.

All religions recognize this. Some of them call it the day of reckoning, others karma. And Jesus told a parable about it – the parable of the sower.

For me, I just see it as the inner workings of nature.

Nature is not dead, it responds. For example:

If you don’t water your plants, they will die.

If you don’t do your yard, you will get a jungle out there soon.

If you insult your neighbor, they will find a way to insult you back one day.

It works the other way too.

If you take care of your plants, they will bloom and blossom.

If you do your yard, you will have a great lawn.

And if you treat your neighbors well, they will treat you well too.

Sometimes, nature’s response may not be so timely; sometimes it may not be so direct. One thing for sure though, it will happen as surely as the sun will rise.

Winners are losers

June.1. 2013

Winning is good, we all want to win. But winning sometimes does have their unintended consequences – you end up losing.

I suppose the experts in this area are Lance Armstrong, or Bernie Madoff.

But the phenomenon occurs in life too.

You’ve probably noticed people in your life who always want to win in any argument. And they usually do, but who wants to be around with them after that?

I had a friend in school. He was the poster child of winning, if ever there was one. He always had to be Number One. Even when I played duets with him, he would insist he take the first part and I take the second.

I let him win, I played second part, but soon after that I stopped playing with him. Who wants to play second fiddle all the time?

And then there was Khadafy or Qaddafi who ended up in the sewer. One minute, omnipotent ruler, the next, hunted down like a rat in a sewer.

Yes, he won big and he lost big.

So is winning bad?

Not really.

The problem with winning is that it usually involves some loser or losers somewhere.

And there’s nothing worse than having some unhappy loser out there.

I see some analogies between winning and stealing.

When you win, you usually do it at the expense of someone else.

You’re stealing someone else’s victory.

And that someone else will want to get even with you. It could be as simple as just avoiding you after that, or hunting you down in a sewer, or spilling the beans about your doping.

So the solution is simple.

When you win, make sure others win with you. Make it a win-win situation.

Never win at the expense of someone else.

This makes winning harder, because it’s a lot easier to steal from others.

But it’s worth it.

And it’s possible.

Look at guys like Bill Gates, who won big and the world won with them.

Or any of the other innovators or businessmen who came up with a great product or service and made life better for all of us and in the end became super winners themselves too.

And sometimes, it’s good to let other people win too, especially if you’ve already won.

That was Lance Armstrong’s mistake. He got greedy.

How many Tour de France trophies does one man need?

Or for that matter, how much money does one man need?

Since Qaddafi is no longer around, I guess the next best person to answer this question is Bernie Madoff.