Thoughts on Two E’s

Someone asked me why I cheer for every single person I see succeeding in any way. I had no pat answer for her, and this began me thinking.

Why DO I cheer, even for the other team? Why am I delighted at every single story of someone making their mark or accomplishing their personal best? And figured out that it boils down to the impact of Excellence and Envy on our culture.

I cheer because every person’s success enriches not only them, but me as well. We strive toward goals as individuals, but our efforts impact not only ourselves but everyone around us too. In impacting the people in our lives we set off ripples that impact our entire culture.

Each person who reaches for perfection (an impossibility this side of heaven) will achieve some degree of excellence. Every person who achieves excellence is adding to and enriching their community and culture. The individual achieves excellence as an individual, but the culture is collective.

We rise collectively as well as individually every time an individual achieves. Or to say it a different way, Individual Achievement feeds the common good.

In the West, the individual has been richly rewarded for achievement of excellence. Sometimes with fame, often with cash, and this is a great thing for that individual! It is also a great thing for our community. When a person rises, it nearly always includes competition. Every winner sets a higher target and encourages everyone to work a little harder and become a little better. The individual winner pulls the culture collectively UPward.

So your win is my win too. I do not get the blue ribbon, or the big check, but I get to be part of a culture where higher achievement is rewarded and so the culture will rise.

Sadly, Envy has replaced cheering for the winners in too many cases. Envy says that the individual winner has taken something from the community, from the collective culture. THIS IS WRONG THINKING!

Envy leads to taking from those who achieve excellence to give to those who did not achieve excellence. Envy punishes excellence! Envy destroys cultures and we can see our own country dying as a culture thanks to Envy.

So I cheer for the individuals who are succeeding, I cheer for the teams who are succeeding, because it is by way of the winners that the culture collectively can rise. Without the individual winners– the culture will die. I choose excellence over envy.

Dear Lord, please forgive us for the times we have exhibited envy and help us to seek excellence in all things.

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