Playing a better game of life – part 4

Think of your environment as the playing field.

Your environment is an essential component of the game of life. Your
survival depends on how well you understand this fact and take
appropriate action to level the playing field or tilt it in your favor.

In any game, the playing field has an effect on the outcome of the
game. You would not expect to play a topnotch game of soccer or
baseball on a field littered with garbage and potholes, because the
neglected environment introduces unnecessary obstacles and will cause
loss of control and possible injury.

An office environment where mold or harmful vapors exist can
seriously affect your health. Ignoring these clues can significantly
shorten your career and your life.

If you work in a foundry or a paint
shop, you are prepared for a life-threatening environment and usually
wear protective equipment. Office workers, on the other hand, will placidly continue
working while workers use caustic solutions to remove paint or lift
carpets in the same bay where office work is being done. In the same
manner, office workers will continue working in offices with
rain-soaked carpets and moldy ceilings because the boss has not told
anyone they can go home or work elsewhere.

For example, deciding not to protect employees from black mold
infestations in Research Triangle Park offices was probably not a
decision made by IBM top management, but it affected fifty lives, some
of them fatally. Somebody decided that it would be more efficient to cover up the problem
rather than deal with it. It is still being covered up.  The
interesting point as far as I am concerned, is that other employees are
still working in the affected buildings…

The home is becoming a workplace for more and more people as
telecommuting and self-employment spread. If ones home is cluttered and
disorganized, it acts as an impediment to efficient production. If the
home is filled with strife and unpleasantness, that is a major
distraction to getting work done. A pleasant and orderly home makes a
wonderful workplace. Those who work in such surroundings are to be

Your town or neighborhood is the playing field for much of your
social life, and in some cases, your working life. You have a
responsibility to contribute to the town or neighborhood so that it
remains a safe and healthy place to live. Only the most degraded expect
the Federal Government to bear the responsibility for activities that
are the responsibility of any local government.

For example, if you build your town in a swamp or a flood plain, why
should the Federal Government be responsible for keeping you safe from
mosquito-born diseases and flooding? State and County governments may
be involved because of the possible economic returns, but the basic
problem is an irresponsible choice of a high-risk playing field.

As an individual looking out for the interests of self, family, and
neighborhood, you have a responsibility to ensure that your environment
will aid you in your playing the game of life. Sometimes, the
neighborhood gets overwhelmed by factors that you and your neighbors
cannot overcome. If you have done all that you can do to rectify the
problem and the neighborhood becomes more unsafe as time goes on, you
may have to find another playing field before harm comes to you or your

This is an extreme situation, as you can usually enlist allies to
clean up even the worst of situations if there is some underlying
financial return from doing so. When there is a long-standing situation
of unhandled corruption and criminality, the economic viability of a
city, corporation, or township can be so marginal that it will no
longer support legitimate businesses. This is one of the times it is
wiser to relocate and start again elsewhere.

Do your best to improve your environment and make it a safe place to
live or work. If your actions are being strongly opposed, you may wish
to find another playing field and get on with your life.

(This was originally published on Sept 3, 2005 and it still applies today.)

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