by Gila Hayes
It is natural to want the world to conform to our wishes and desires. That innate urge receives excessive encouragement from self-help and personal-growth coaches who urge all and sundry to, “Go out and get what you want. Make it yours. Do not stop until you have what you want.” I think the better life skill is found in knowing when that for which we wish is attainable and how to adjust when our wishes can’t or won’t be granted.It is natural to want the world to conform to our wishes and desires. That innate urge receives excessive encouragement from self-help and personal-growth coaches who urge all and sundry to, “Go out and get what you want. Make it yours. Do not stop until you have what you want.” I think the better life skill if found in knowing when that for which we wish is attainable and how to adjust when our wishes can’t or won’t be granted.
I couldn’t stop thinking about the “you should do what I want” attitude during September after exchanging several interesting emails with potential members who were profoundly convinced that the Network should change what it has successfully done for nearly 10 years to become their dream post-self-defense support plan. These exchanges always fascinate me, because by paying attention and suppressing the urge to “shush” a stranger telling you how to run your business, an impractical suggestion can sometimes spark extremely productive secondary lines of thinking.
In one exchange, a revealing choice of words made me ponder how wishes obscure reality. This correspondent started his question about what he perceived as too much money spent on Network operating expenses by writing, “I want to think of this as a club where we all help each other out” adding that if we operated that way, he would join. Sounds great in theory, doesn’t it?
Sadly, “wanting” is a lot different than being able to create the alternate reality some desire! Can the wishes of some be imposed against society without causing greater harm than good? In this example, my interlocutor wanted access to higher levels of Network financial assistance without allowing for all the ordinary expenses of operating a business. That would be great, if reality allowed! Realistically, though, after immediately reserving the first 25% of all revenue for the Legal Defense Fund, we siphon off approximately another quarter for taxes, maintain an emergency account as insurance against tough times, pay for advertising so we can grow, buy the member education DVDs and books, pay for postage and delivery and make sure enough remains for payroll so the crew providing assistance and services to our members get paychecks so they keep doing that. I found it kind of fun to imagine the Network as a club where each member pitches in to make sure all the work gets done. Q & A sure does provide good exercise in creative thinking!
In a similar vein, a number of correspondents insist we should be or should restructure as a non-profit entity to take advantage of all the financial advantages charities enjoy. That ideal would only work if we handed out money from the Legal Defense Fund to anyone instead of reserving it for the legal defense of Network members. We only draw on the Fund to pay post-incident legal expenses on behalf of the people who paid the dues and gifted the additional contributions that have built that Fund. If we operated as a non-profit we could not do that. Taken to its logical conclusion, if non-members were given support from the Fund, why should anyone bother to join the Network, pay dues and contribute to the Fund? Why not just come asking for charitable assistance after a self-defense incident?
How does confusing wishes with reality apply on a larger scale? As armed citizens, I am convinced that we must train our minds to accept reality and not dwell too much on what we wish was real. When life, death or liberty is at risk, “should” is an incredibly dangerous word! I’ve lost count of the times I’ve heard, “I should be able to go where I want, when I want, without facing danger!” or “I should be able to carry any gun, knife or other weapon I want without legal consequences!” or “I shouldn’t need a lawyer after I kill someone who threatens me!” and other such proclamations that are all compelling ideals, but dangerously out of alignment with reality.
What governs real-life outcomes–reality or wishes? We need to know and acknowledge the facts. We need to see beyond “want” and “should” into what truly is. That requires open-minded, agile and reality-based thinking.
Do “wishers” really have options outside of reality? Of course not. Folks, we practice the mental skills to get through emergencies by how we think and react in day-to-day life. Don’t let your wishes blind you.
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