Nothing Left To Lose

The most addictive substance available in this country is not heroin, it is not crystal meth, it is not cigarettes, it is not alcohol.  It is money.

Those who have a lot of money always want more, see conference realignment in college sports.  Those who don’t have it will often do whatever it takes to get just a little bit, most drug dealing and prostitution fall into this category.

The worst ideas come when money is the primary goal.  Take this job and you will make more money.  You may have to give up a great deal of your life, but you will have more money that you don’t have time to spend.

A logical argument about making more money is this:  You’ll have more money, and if you don’t like the job, you can leave it after a little while.  The job doesn’t make you, you make the job.  If you don’t like it, you don’t have to let it consume your life.  That is a perfectly logical and perfectly plausible way to live your life that people I love and respect have been giving me.  This advice makes perfect sense, in a vacuum.

Real life doesn’t work that way for many people.  The mental exhaustion from walling off all the different parts of yourself is too much to deal with on a daily basis.

I started this post as a critique of the ball faced greed of the college conference commissioners and how everything they have done has been the explicit and short-sighted attempt to get as much money as humanly possible.

However, as often happens in life, personal issues informed and have been informed by these real world issues.

At a certain age, you gain the ability to look back and see patterns in your life.  You see how repeat the same patterns over and over.  If you are lucky those patterns reveal to you the keys to your success.  For many, those patterns reveal the places you continue to make mistakes.

My repeated mistake has always been to play it safe, to always give myself and out, to never allow myself to commit.

So, I’ve been asking myself a question for the last week:  If I die tomorrow, what have I accomplished.  The question for me is not even about being successful in the things I want to do, but it is about the attempt to accomplish the things I want.  My decisions have to be based on that and not on anything else.

That means I’m going to be making decisions that are seemingly ludicrous and counter-intuitive to being successful.  As the song says, freedom is just another word for nothing left to lose.  I look at my life and where I am, and I have nothing left to lose.


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