Why Only Winners Count.
If you want to be great you have to win! No one enjoys being the forgotten loser so we learn to focus on winning at all costs and, when we can’t, we save face by trashing the contest and bad-mouthing the winner. Trouble is this need to win becomes an addiction. We define ourselves by what we win, our self-esteem collapses when we lose and we lurch from conquest to conquest hoping to find meaning and definition in life. Hard stuff.
The ancient story is still valid: It goes that Cineas, when dissuading Pyrrhus from undertaking a war against the Romans, said, ‘Sir, when you have conquered them, what will you do next?’ `Sicily is near at hand and easy to master,’ replied Pyrrhus. `And what when you have conquered Sicily?’ `Then we will pass on to Africa and take Carthage.’
`When these are conquered, what will be your next attempt?’ asked Cineas.
`Then,’ said Pyrrhus, ‘we will fall upon Greece and Macedon and recover what we have lost there.’
`Well, when all are subdued, what fruit do you expect from all your victories?’
`Then,’ said Pyrrhus, ‘we will sit down and enjoy ourselves.’
`Sir!’ said Cineas, ‘may we not do it now? Have you not already a kingdom of your own? He that cannot enjoy himself with a kingdom cannot with a whole world.’
The art of life is to be ambitious for the advancement of the kingdom of God while we dodge derailment of our lives by ambitions for ourselves. (This demands honesty since we are adept at rationalizing what we want under the pretense that it’s really for God – just because it sounds good doesn’t mean it is: too often it’s all about our pride and insecurity.)
“I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances . . . “ “People who want to get rich (or famous) fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge them into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.” — Paul.
“Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; a person’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions.” — Jesus
“What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don’t they come from your desires that battle within you? You want something but don’t get it. You kill and covet, but you cannot have what you want. You quarrel and fight. You do not have because you do not ask God. When you do ask, you don’t receive, because you ask with wrong motives – you want to consume what you get on your pleasures.” — James (written to Christians)
Who sets our ambitions and what drives us to pursue them? The reality is that we will never find fulfillment in life until we focus our ambitions beyond ourselves. We’re acculturated to only counting winners but we’re not always savvy enough to recognize that only some contests are worth winning. It’s not hard to recognize greed but our faith becomes magnetically attractive to others when they see we are motivated by something better and greater, something that goes beyond self-service.
- How To Really Get Ahead In Life. (citesimon.com)
- Ambition Needs The Killer Instinct. (citesimon.com)
- When Ambition Meets Harsh Reality. (citesimon.com)
- Luke 12: Beware of All Greed! (kingdomnewtestament.wordpress.com)
Posted on July 12, 2012, in Active faith, Leadership, Self-awareness and tagged ambition, Cineas, conflict and victory; beating the odds, covetousness, faith, greed and selflessness, life goals, Pyrrhus, self-promotion. Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.