What I want to tell you about is how Monopoly ruined my life. Not really, but it was a close call for sure. One of the nights we were staying at my sister's house, we decided to pull out a childhood favorite, Monopoly, to have a game night. This quickly turned into a nightly, stay-up-til-2am tradition for the rest of our trip. What I learned? Number one, I stink at Monopoly. I was out within the first 10 minutes of our first and second round and it didn't get much better after that. Number 2, don't base my self-worth on winning Monopoly because, back to number one, I stink at Monopoly.
On a more serious note, Monopoly got me thinking about an all-to-common cultural belief about success. Let's call it something short and sweet like the 'I have to crush everyone else in my path because there's no way I can win if anyone else does' rule. Yeah, that sums it up nicely. The object of the game in Monopoly is to make everyone else go bankrupt. You win by putting everyone else out of business. Unfortunately, this behavior and belief have transcended boards games into real life. It's a scarcity mentality. Worry about me, take care of me, hold onto my resources so tight that my knuckles turn white because, if I don't, who knows if there will be enough for me tomorrow. We can't even celebrate or encourage the success, happiness, and accomplishments of others because, apparently, there is a limited supply of those in the universe. (WIth that attitude you might as well start yelling at everyone you see to stop breathing your air because their taking your much needed oxygen).
I think it's time for a deep paradigm shift. Why can't you be happy when a friend, a colleague, or even a stranger for that matter does something great? Why do we have to play 'king of the mountain' all the time? First off, that was sooooo second grade, and second, last time I checked, God was king of the mountain. You don't see Him shoving people down so He can have a bigger piece of the pie. God is a builder and a helper. His focus is on people. We would do well to do the same. Be a builder; focus on people.
Maybe your co-worker does get that promotion you've been desperately wanting. So what? Cheer him on. He has a family and a mortgage too. And guess what? If you put your time and energy leading up to the promotion into building your co-worker, and helping him be successful (instead of plotting his downfall with your best friend the 'me monster') he's likely to do the same for you with his new found influence.
If you can't be happy unless you are the only one on top, don't be surprised if you end up exactly that: the only one on top. Alone. Life is going to be an empty, discouraging journey. Instead, help people. Build people up--instead of shoving them down and pushing them aside. Serve. Lift. Give. Celebrate the accomplishments of others. Break up with the 'me monster' (he's ugly anyway). Put your time, energy, and resources into making OTHERS happy and successful. I'm confident that better doors will open, greater levels of success will be reached, and life will be whole lot more fulfilling and happy.
Monopoly sure is fun, but it's a lousy lie for living real life.