Thursday, February 19, 2009

Doing the Best You Can (With What You Already Have)

For those to whom “More” has always been the driving force in their lives, these may seem like difficult times, but for those whose guiding principles in life have been “Enough,” these are times like any other -- they just do the best they can with what they presently, and already, have, and so are way ahead of the crowd in this respect.

Unfortunately, that’s not one of the habits that have been cultivated in the Islands, where “More,” is the only mantra they learn from grade school -- usually led by the teachers and their union. So in times when there isn’t any “more,” they just think there is nothing they can do but wait for the more to be funneled home from the federal government in DC, instead of finding out ways to do better with what they already have -- which creates more, without demanding more.

While an important principle in government and economy, it is even more so in personal lives, by which it becomes the major difference between those constantly demanding more, and those who feel they always have enough, and whatever they have, is what they have to realistically work and deal with and so can become quickly, properly and effectively focused. Thus, they are not to be found complaining as their first, and usually only course of “action,” but quickly recommit themselves on how to make what they have better, and even more.

Despite the current recession, this is not a country and land of scarcity, and in fact, the current problem is not the scarcity of goods and services but rather the overabundance of them -- but the challenge as always, is how to better distribute them to those who could value them more properly -- instead of to those who merely take everything for granted.

So the pictures we see of those suffering the most famously in the current reversal of fortunes, is not of the most chronically unfortunate and deprived, but rather, how those who were well on their way to lifetime security, experienced a disruption to a retirement of endless vacationing and fulfillment of their every fantasies -- which they had come to regard as their new entitlements.

That’s not to say that the chronically poor are not affected by the rippling effect of layoffs and business closures, but for them, this is more like business as usual in which some may even have an advantage because they are used to having to make the best of whatever they have. They are also not threatened by the possibility that things could get worse.

They are used to taking each day at a time, and making the best of whatever they have -- and that’s what gets them through the worst of times, and also serves them equally well in the best of times.


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