Commentary and Philosophy Non-Fiction posted May 13, 2010

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Who decides who wins or loses in life

It's Complicated

by Annmuma

And the Winner is: Contest Winner 
Yesterday, as I walked a familiar path in a local park, I studied my fellow citizens who were also enjoying some time in the sun. There were moms with little ones, an older guy with a look-alike dog, two mid-twenty types throwing a Frisbee and a myriad of other people, all doing their own things.  I wondered how many of them, were the question posed, considered themselves winners?
Everyone wants to be a winner, but life doesn’t lend itself to easy definitions of winning and losing.  It’s not like a baseball game or a tennis match or some such event where final scores are attached to the names of the winners and losers.  Are the winners found among the world’s richest people?  Perhaps, the long-lived or the sports greats are the biggest winners?  Maybe life is more of a Dancing with the Stars scenario with a judge to cast the deciding vote?   It’s a complicated question, but one to be answered individually by those who strive to be winners in life.  
Societal norms elevate winning or success to over-achievement in a specialized area.  But following that thought through to the end proves it to be invalid.  A billionaire with poor health would hardly consider himself a winner.  No one would truly want to trade places with the latest screen idol suffering from an addiction and depression.  The most politically powerful person in the world probably considers himself a failure if his personal life is devoid of love. 
As I pondered the crevices of the “What is Success” question, a small child and an older woman caught my attention.  The toddler chased a butterfly as the woman looked on from her spot on a bench.   He turned to her and called, “Nana, you can’t catch me.”  Then he ran as fast as his little legs would carry him, giggling and looking over his shoulder.  Nana sprang from her seat, laughing and pretending great difficulty in catching him.  Finally, she swooped him up, and hugged him to her chest.  Both laughed until they nearly lost their breaths, lost in a moment of complete joy. 
That small act crystallized for me what winning in life really is.  Winning in life is a matter of balance.  The foundation for peace, satisfaction and true-life success is built on a four-cornerstone base, i.e. the search for physical, mental, emotional and spiritual abundance.  Those two people took another step toward all four goals in their lives and gave a lift to all who observed them.  Their moment of paradise made the world a better place, if only momentarily and only for themselves and those who enjoyed the show.
Our body is the connection to the physical world, including physical health, financial well-being, family, work and relationships.  The soundness of our mental state depends on our thoughts, ideas and curiosity.  Our emotional strength is tied to our attitude toward life, not what happens to us, but our reactions to those events.  Spiritual fitness requires that we get in touch with the small, still voice that lives deep within our souls, and it involves making time to remember through a child’s eyes how it feels to completely believe in good.
I believe it was Zig Ziglar who said, “Money will buy me a house, but not a home, a bed, but not a good night’s sleep.”  Inner peace does come from something much deeper, but it’s easier found on a full stomach.  Financial comfort adds to one’s quality of life, but without friends or family, true delight and bliss are missing.  If we have all of those things, but have lost our mental acuity and curiosity, we’ve become spectators, not players in life. 
Balance is the answer.  Those who acquire harmony among the physical, mental, emotional and spiritual aspects of their existence collect the winners’ trophies at life’s end.  They each will say without reservation, “I won.”

And the Winner is:
Contest Winner


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