OK, I have to admit that I am not a happy camper this evening. The day was trying. Not much went right. I finished a lot of work, yet it still keeps piling up. Whenever I write this blog, I’m either usually in a good mood or pretend to be in a good mood. I’ll admit that today is just a downer day. We all have them. One hopes that there are more happy, positive days than not. Unless you are under duress or blissfully ignorant, you’re bound to have both good days and bad days. Perhaps the only people who are perpetually unhappy are those who are imprisoned in gulags and prison camps. Today, walking to lunch in the freezing cold, I thought about the estimated 200,000 North Koreans imprisoned in gulags north of the DMZ. The thought woke me up to a unsettling reality. I may be unhappy today, but I do not really have a reason to complain. My life is absolutely blissfully compared to the horrendous ordeal of gulag prisoners.
So, what happened? Oh, a nasty comment and a cold shoulder by a couple of people today initially put me in a foul mood. I do my best not to take them personally, but it’s a bitter pill to swallow. Most days I try to shrug it off, but today I couldn’t help but dwell on them. My life is surrounded by perpetual competitiveness, and sometimes competition rears its ugly head. I’m competitive by nature, as are most people around me, but I don’t appreciate when competition creates social tension. I prefer to believe that there is enough room in this world for everyone, and when we work together, we achieve a better outcome. Sometimes someone else wins, but you can be happy for them and still be successful yourself. For example, only one person wins a road race, but everyone who finishes can be happy knowing that they crossed the finish line. Life does not have to be a zero-sum game.
At the same time, I also realize that in this competitive environment, you are inevitably responsible for your own success and excellence. However, success should not come at the expense of other people’s livelihoods. The comment and cold shoulder were byproducts of jealousy and mistrust in a very competitive atmosphere. I really wish we could all get along and realize that we don’t always have to be so competitive. We all have strengths we can use for the greater good. I’m an intuitive thinker who innovates, but I am not good at inspiring others to embrace these innovations or defending my position. That leads to tension and failure. I know my limitations, and that is where I know others excel. Let them excel, but don’t excel at my expense. If I had to choose one aspect of this lifestyle I dislike the most, it’s the incessant competition and drive to be successful, even when it comes at the expense of your peers. It obviously tends to foster an unpleasant atmosphere…and make you unhappy.
Blog Notes: You may be wondering the significance of my last blog entry. I didn’t have much time to write last night, so the thought crossed my mind that I should write the shortest blog entry in the ever-expanding blogosphere. I have no idea if I succeeded! Perhaps, Dear Reader, you can tell me. The subject shouldn’t count–just the content. In case you wondered what "Oh" meant, the trite phrase served as a response to the title statement. Believe it or not, I spent about five minutes figuring out what to write, thinking, "Hmm, what is the shortest word that still sounds profound?" You didn’t see the thought process behind the final product. "OK" made the final round, as did the word, "Bye." I figured that if I wrote the word "Bye," some readers would wonder whether I planned to stop writing. "Oh" carried the day. "Oh" is an exclamation of discovery and understanding. It’s the shortest, most thoughtful, content-laden word that crossed my mind. And it took me an entire paragraph to explain!