By Reggie Smith
I have been an athlete and sports fan all my life. Sports have always been a wonderful way for me to learn about life and my attitudes. Early on I learned that playing the games were fun, but it is more fun to win. A harder lesson was learning how to deal with losing or not getting my way. In athletic competition, I was able to deal with losing in an even tempered way. In life though, I was given to tantrums when I did not get my way. The emotions involved with not getting my wants met had a powerful influence on my behavior. I went to any lengths not to feel the agony of defeat. I guess we all have had to learn how to grow through disappointment. I always say, “it’s one thing to play the role, and another to let the role play you, right?”
The world, our politics, and the way we interact with each other has always been contentious because everyone wants to have it their own way. Although our human needs are very similar, the things we have come to “want” are different. Much of our wants have been marketed to us as a way to keep us living as ignorant consumers. The system of capitalism, and all other systems used to control the masses depend on competition. Unfortunately, many of us have not learned how to manage our emotions so that we do not lash out or try to manipulate others in order to get our way. Our ability to discern between our needs and wants has been diminished. As a result, competition is used by the status quo (SQ) to keep us at each other’s throats, allowing them to maintain authority. Things have been this way forever. Will the social dynamics ever change?
As far back as I remember, I have tried to expect a miracle. The hard part of life is not quitting two minutes before the miracle happens. Is it a matter of faith and optimism to think that a change is gonna come someday? After all, humans have been playing this game eternally, and we have not found a way to get along yet. I have been in the game of life for six decades and I have seen enough to know “life” is complicated and it will eventually kill us all. Is it foolish to have faith that we can make the world a better place? Do we believe we can actually manifest societies that operate with integrity and respect for natural law in our lifetimes? My experience has been that our most clarifying moments of social harmony have come when we experience the greatest human pain, tragedy or fear. Some religions are waiting for a savior or they promise “heaven” after death. Is death the line we have to cross in order to judge whether our faith was worth our efforts? How will we determine winning in the game of life?
Life is filled with questions. Life has plenty of joy and pain. Suffering is optional part of life. Based on our ability to change painful situations, we can choose not to suffer. Change is necessary in order to overcome the pain of not getting our needs or wants met. One of the life skills that helps us coexist peacefully is humility. Humility calls for a level of faith and appreciation for life. The fact that we are alive and in the game of life makes us winners already. It is not foolish to put our energies into making our personal and collective experiences as enjoyable as possible. We can be “winners” in the game of life without making anyone else a loser. Our challenge is to not give up the hope that our individual energies are making a positive and critical difference in the world. Keep hope alive because it is imperative that we continue to #RISE4WAR.