Playing a better game of life – part 2

To reiterate the theme from part 1:

Life is a game in that there are barriers to success, rewards for success, opponents, and potential team mates.

This is about joining a team that is right for you. Unfortunately it can be more challenging than you expect.

If you are a "wolf" joining a "dog" pack, you may think your superior skills and intelligence will carry the day. I’m sorry, but you will not fit in even if you learn to yap in chorus with the rest instead of howling. You will not "smell" right and they will eventually make you feel unwelcome. The same is true whenever your natural culture is not aligned with the team culture.

There are many teams with goals that are not aligned with your goals, in which case you will be operating in opposition to the team at times. Whether you realize it or not, this puts you in treason to your own goals and purposes while a member of this group. Believe me, this is not a good thing.

For example, you may have pulled in a lucrative contract with a drug company which promotes better living through mood-altering drugs applied early and often to people of all ages. If you know that the same effects can be achieved through proper nutrition and diet, you will be subjecting yourself to a moral crisis every time you come up with a way to get more people hooked on this medication.

If on the other hand, you firmly believe that the good life is the thoroughly medicated life, you are in the right group.

It all comes down to understanding what your future team mates do as well as what they say. Whether it is well-known company like Enron you are joining or a group that calls themselves Freedom Fighters for Universal Justice, you need to know whether their activities and culture align with your culture.

You will occasionally run across companies and groups with high-sounding goals which seek to achieve them by slandering or destroying people and institutions which are trying to keep the world running.

Does this sound confusing? The high-sounding goals can suck you right in and can cause you to get involved with a group that promotes fairness for oppressed minorities, while insisting on absolute subjugation of women and total destruction of other races and religions.

Another example is the political arena where a political group has all of the right words and music, but the principal actors are morally bankrupt. This applies to domestic and international religious groups as well.

When you choose to join a group, you should view it with the same seriousness as when choosing a life partner. The relationship should be mutually beneficial and should be something you will be proud to be a part of for a long time to come.

If your purpose in joining a group or relationship is to make a quick score and depart care-free at the earliest opportunity, you may be in for an unpleasant surprise. Flirting with the wrong people or causes can leave you with a reputation that may follow you forever. People do not forget those who fraternize and support enemies of their country or culture. People also have long memories when it comes to executives who betray their employees.

You will do best with a group when you take time to thoroughly investigate the group’s activities and culture as well as the professed goals and purposes – before joining the group as a member. Spend as much time as you need, working and visiting with the group if possible, before making your decision. You will not regret the time spent.

Joining the right company or group can have a profound effect on your life. Just remember, a well-run company may have a culture that suits existing employees just fine, but you may not fit that culture. It is up to you to make sure that you will be able to function well in that culture and become a respected member of the team.

Once you are part of a team that suits you, you can do a better job of playing the game called life. In the next post, I will discuss winners, losers, and victims.

Stay tuned.

(This was originally published on Sep 01, 2005 as part 2 of a 6 part series)

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