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Friday, June 30, 2017

Those born very rich--and sometimes those who have found wealth later in life-- have a problem. CAN YOU GUESS WHAT IT IS?

Most of the very rich have a prob- lem... and as you can imagine, it's not money, though they always seem to need more.  Acknowledged, money cannot buy health, happiness or true friends but we pretty much know that.

A very real problem for many, especially those born with a silver spoon in their mouths, is that no matter how they may try, they cannot understand how the less fortunate of us feel, think or manage in our shared world. And worse than that, a great many don't care, presuming wealth equals all knowledge.

In my career as a magazine publisher, I worked for three extremely wealthy people... two born into money and one who earned his way rich.

My first, born that way, was gregarious and generous to a point, highly principled and kind-hearted in his way. He never knew a want or had a need. So his acts of kindness often presumed he knew much more about people than he did, so he was often clumsy and misunderstood. But if he perceived you were on his wrong side, he would fire or sue liberally. He was an insecure man of action.

The second earned his way with the role model of a parent in the publishing business. He was a wonderful man to work for, totally open with no hidden agenda, fair and understanding in good news or bad, helpful toward a mutual successful relationship and he cared for people.

The third was a corporate nightmare. His bottom line was sacred, no mater the cost, and growth was mandated or heads would--and did--roll, often despite good news... but not quite good enough. It was of no concern to him to order valuable, dedicated people fired to make the bottom line look better or to help prop up another lagging venture.

My publishing entity became a small part of a much larger corporation and we would have a quarterly meeting in the New York headquarters where we were to be present two days in advance of our meeting to "practice" what to say and how to say it for "the big man." We had slides to address every possible question "he" might ask--dozens and dozens of slides--to be certain we were fully prepared.

Then, on the big day at one winter meeting, there were two dozen of us in a giant conference room at 8:30  for a 9 am meeting. It was soon 9:45 and "he" was not there. At 10 minutes after 10, "he" ceremoniously burst into the room in a cashmere top coat, hat and scarf, greeting everyone as he pulled off his outerwear handing it to an aide one step behind. He joyfully said, "Good morning everyone. It was such a beautiful morning that I just had to walk through Central Park today." No "Sorry I'm late," or anything of the sort. After he was attended to with "A latte, just the way you like it... and a sweet roll with butter and your favorite marmalade," he nodded and we began.

Yep. Most of those I'm referring to lack Empathy: The ability to understand and share the feeling of another. 
Empathy is a moral virtue that enriches any and every relationship. I am not referring to decision-making itself but an understanding of the gains and losses of all involved and respect and thought for another perspective, even though it may not be yours.

The Golden Rule has been stated in many different ways over time, but has become a horrible aberration when cited, "He who has the gold, rules."

In sports, winning and losing is part of a game. In life, winners and losers are often determined by "he who has the gold" without much consideration for the consequences. It is often referred to as winning.

Politics has become so ruthless and contentious. Each side must win without regard of the consequences. It seems winning is the most important element of every action. Politics has become a wicked game of our lives where winning is more important than any consequence that may be swept aside by a myopic determination.

And yeah, I'm referring of the rush to kill The Affordable Care Act with anything that can pass, effects be damned. (Author's note: I am strongly for any and every improvement our legislators can make that truly benefits us all. But lacking that, to dispatch one for another just because, is disastrous to millions with no political clout by legislators who don't seem to have the empathy to care.)

I end with three quotes:

Empathy is the most mysterious transaction that the human soul can have, and it is accessible to all of us, but we have to give ourselves the opportunity to identify, to plunge ourselves into a story where we see the world from the bottom up or through another's eyes or heart. Sue Monk Kidd 

... that the government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth. Abraham Lincoln (the conclusion of the Gettysburg Address)

My whole life is about winning I don't lose often. I almost never lose.  Donald Trump

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