Is It Still Cheating If I Don't Get Caught?
Life Is Like Whac-A-Mole
Have you ever played Whac-A-Mole? The object of the game is simple: Take a rubber mallet and strike a mechanical mole as it pops up through one of many holes on the board. As soon as you hit one mole over the head and it retreats back into its hole, another one pops up. You hit that mole on the head, watch it retreat, and then prepare to smack a third one that will emerge from yet another hole. The object is to hit as many moles as you can in the time allotted. You win if you can hit all the moles before the bell rings. But that doesn't happen very often. After all, it's a carnival gamethe odds are stacked against you.
Life can sometimes feel like a carnival gameexhilarating but also unpredictable. You feel that you ought to be able to figure out how to handle whatever life throws at you, but problems seem to pop up at random. The truth is, without a game plan for tackling life's problems, you'll keep whacking away at them with little chance of success.
Wouldn't it be better if life were problem-free?
Not really. A world without any problems would be a dull place to live. After all, overcoming problems can make us better, stronger, and happier. Problems can force us to think of new ways to look at things, bring out qualities that we never knew we had, or prompt us to rethink the way we live our lives.
Some of the toughest problems of all involve doing the right thing. When you ask yourself "What should I do?" you're really asking "What is the right thing to do?" Sometimes it's difficult to know what the right thing is, and sometimes, even when you know the right thing, it's hard to find the courage to do it. You may be afraid to talk about the problem with your family or friends, or worry that doing what you believe is right will make you unpopular. You may be concerned that a relationship will be damaged, no matter what you do.
Since life isn't problem-free, the next best thing is to come up with a strategy for tackling dilemmas. It is simply not the case that all of the possible responses to a problem are equally good; there are better and worse ways of playing the game. In other words, just because you can do something doesn't mean you should do it.
Read on and you'll learn five powerful principles that provide the foundation for doing the right thing anywhere, anytime you're faced with the question "What should I do?" The goal is not for you to become perfect, but to live life to the fullest and continue to be a person you can be proud of.
Text copyright © 2009 by Bruce Weinstein