That’s the title of the book Phil Davis and I have written. The subtitle is “The Ten (10) Rules of Highly Unsuccessful People.” The basic premise of the book is that we learn our most important lessons in life through experience or “The Workshop of Life.”
As children, we are overwhelmed with choices about how to handle life. As a result, we are bound to program some choices that are not in our long-term best interest. Such as, “Look out for #1.” Since everyone else seems to be using this rule successfully, we also adopt it. For example, don’t share your knowledge or homework with someone else, since they might get a higher grade than you. If they haven’t put in the work, that’s tough! After all, there only so many “As” available.
By the time we get through schooling and go into the world of work, we have perfected the skill of #1. We begin planning our careers by looking out those opportunities that are in our best interest. After all, we’re not plotting the downfall of others. That is, as long their interests don’t conflict with ours. We decide what people are needed in support of our quest, and we use them accordingly. After all, if they are too stupid to look out for themselves, there’s no hope for them anyway! “It’s life. It’s not personal.”
The problem with this approach is when we encounter someone more ruthless or skilled than we are at “Looking out for #1,” then we are in trouble. Because we are likely to get “screwed.” This experience is both good and bad. Bad because we lose at winning or gaining some advantage. And good because we are likely to learn the lesson that winning at the expense of others will not sustain our success in the long run; no matter how much short-term success we have. The earlier we learn this life lesson, the greater success, contentment, and well-being we will experience. (I didn’t learn this lesson early in life. What about you?)
It’s a collaborative world. We can’t make it without each other. If even if we apparently do win, what will we have won?
Please share your own personal stories of “Looking out for #1.” I will be pleased to post them on this Blog site.
The book will available as e-book in two weeks. Next blog: Rule #4.