Successful Ones

P1330116 compressedSuccessful people get help.

The middle class has a notion that we must make our own way, buck to it, put our nose to the grindstone, and never quit.

But Keith Ferrazzi of Never Eat Alone, tells of his startling observation as a teen and young adult (he had grown up in the working class), that those in the professional heights lived a much different approach. They ‘found one another jobs, invested time and money in one anothers ideas, made sure their kids got help getting into the best schools, got the right internships, and ultimately the best jobs.’

He realized at that time and throughout his years at Harvard Business School, the incredible power in relationships, incredible power of generosity and reciprocity, and that success is all about working with people, and not against them, and that none of us can get anywhere on our own or by ourselves.

All of which, was a very different way of thinking than the working class he had grown up in, where the prevailing mind-set is, ‘figure it out yourself.’

There are many different ways of seeing the world, and different mind-sets about how it is supposed to work.

But what if our ‘its supposed to be this way’ is a figment of our culture and class and raising? What if there are other ways ‘that things work’?

What if a lot of our thinking is narrow and condemning? Do we lack generosity of thought, or are we able to get behind others, say hearty ‘yes and amen’ to the dreams of those around us. Or do we punch  holes and get our knickers in a knot just thinking about somebody who might not have to work the same way or put up with things like we have.

When in Uganda I notice a prevailing hatred for the upper level leaders in Uganda. Riddled through the attitudes and the comments of most of the people was a complete lack of respect or regard for those in leadership. And in that hatred they were condemning their own lives, keeping themselves small, ensuring till the bitter end a pride of poverty and glory of less-than.

We read in Psalm 106:24-25 a bit of the same, and how the Israelites despised the pleasant land.

“Then they despised the pleasant land;
they did not believe his promise.
25 They grumbled in their tents
and did not obey the Lord.”

Of the same story we read in Numbers 13, ‘We went into the land to which you sent us, and it does flow with milk and honey! Here is its fruit.’ and in that same chapter we read that the cluster of grapes was so large that it had to be carried on a pole between two men.

An incredibly rich land. A prosperous land. A bountiful land.

But the people were afraid, and they grumbled, and refused to believe, and as the Psalmist recounts, the sin of the people was that they despised the pleasant land. They gave over their an incredible inheritance for the opportunity to continue walking in the desert for 40 years until they had all died.

The Message puts it this way:

‘They went on to reject the Blessed Land,
didn’t believe a word of what God promised.
They found fault with the life they had
and turned a deaf ear to God’s voice.’

How often do our mindsets have us doing the same thing. And with much pride to boot.

The Israelites had been slaves for so long, that they couldn’t find it in themselves to take back the land, to acquire the bounty there just waiting for them, couldn’t enter into prosperity or a different way of life than the slavery they had been used to.

It was about them. They took their eyes off the Lord, turned a deaf ear to his voice, and shored up their insecurities, as their pride wouldn’t let them take on something that came as a gift.

With themselves at the center of the equation, the great bounty didn’t fit who they were, and so they rejected it.

Only when God is at the center can we find our lives redefined, and only then can we accept a life that does not reflect us, but reflects him.

A land of bounty.

The successful, the ones who inhabit the pleasant lands, know they need help, they know they cannot get anywhere on their own.

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