What’s the hardest thing to learn in life? It’s to take turns.
We are born with that “survival of the fittest” intent and must, over time, learn to share. That’s why, as babies, we club our brothers and sisters over the head with plastic baseball bats and baby dolls and bulldoze our way to the top.
With time, we are forced to share. But we really never lose that desire to get what we think is ours and, when we don’t get it, Mr. Jealousy quickly knocks on the door and says, “Hey, you should have gotten that job before Bob did!”
“I know,” you say and then seethe.
Here at the Lone Tree Ranch, we have 10 bulls that trod in together from nibbling in the pasture with Mojave desert-sized thirsts. That’s why you have to plan for a war when you build corrals around a water trough. Because bulls are not going to take turns. They are going to bang each other around to get to the front of the line and, in the process, wreck everything in sight, just like our ineffectual representatives in Washington, D.C.
That’s one thing that separates some of us from many animal species. We have the ability to share. Unfortunately, we often do it when it profits us most.
Contrast that to the preachers we encounter who, while quoting from the Bible, tell us that our mindset should be exactly the opposite? They say we should sacrifice all for the benefit of others, or, in other words, we should let them budge ahead of us in line and turn the other cheek.
We tend to turn the other cheek but it’s a different cheek if you know what I mean.
Then again, if everyone puts themselves second, who is going to be first? Isn’t it good to put yourself first to achieve and then, because you have achieved, you are able to give a lot more to others? Isn’t that a good thing?
Not if you’re a jerk along the way. Not if you forget to give.
You see, you may find it hard to believe, but wealth is not as connected to being happy as you might think. Findings reveal that as one’s standard of living increases, happiness does not also go up. Often, it even declines.
If you want to be happy, you need to go against your nature and give instead of get. When you strive to make other people happy you discover that happiness will eventually find its way back to you. In other words, it is more blessed to give than to receive.
You could even say that your level of happiness is directly proportional to your level of giving. Except that a single act of giving gives you 10 times the return. That’s just the way the world works. Try it and you’ll see.
Writer and poet Kahlil Gibran said that generosity is giving more than you can, and pride is taking less than you need.
In other words, just worry about giving and the rest will take care of itself. It’s as simple as that.