Rich Man, Poor Man

September 9, 2008 at 5:05 am Leave a comment

Rich Man, Poor Man – Lauren Kennedy

Joe had a promising future in a large corporation where he had been employed for several years. He was married with two children. He spent more time at work than at home. But once he got his promotion into the executive branch of the corporation, then he could spend plenty of quality time with his family.

It was dark, as usual when he got home. He was typically preoccupied with a presentation that was due in the morning.  Reading his notes as he walked to the door, he didn’t notice the new bike parked next to it. He crashed into the new bike, knocking it onto his tools he had left strewn on the floor. Damn, the bike was broken. More money out of his pocket to get it fixed.

He fumbled to get the door unlocked. He strode quickly through the house and suddenly found himself flying through the air in a forward flip. He landed on his sore tailbone, papers flying. Crap, his wife rearranged the furniture. Doesn’t she have anything better to do?

Suddenly, Joe’s mind flashed to a recent memory of his son’s disappointment that Dad hadn’t noticed a special drawing he had done and placed on Joe’s dresser. He shook his head to erase the memory. Once again Joe’s mind flashed to a recent scene. This time he saw his daughter, becoming teary eyed after gleefully announcing that she had won a writing contest. Isn’t that great, Dad? Finally her insistent pleading brought him back from his preoccupation with a pressing business concern. Joe heard her imploring him to come to the ceremony. Wasn’t he proud of her?  He tried to placate her with trite phrases. You know I am proud of you. I just can’t make it this time. I have to work to support the family and our lifestyle. You understand, don’t you?

He shook his head one again to eradicate the scene in his mind. Once he got done with these major deals, he’d try to be more aware, pay more attention to his kids and take time to enjoy his family.

His wife wanted to go to their ten year high school reunion. She had been looking forward to this event for several months. But Joe had gained some weight and developed a receding hair line. Not this year, dear. I just can’t get away. When he lost the weight and had a hair replacement, then he could go without feeling uncomfortable.

One day Joe returned from work very upset. He told his wife that one of his co workers got his promotion. But he knew how to put things right. Joe would see to it that the company president discovered that his rival had left early on several occasions and rushed home because one or another of his children were ill (he was a single parent). Being a conscientious employee, Joe had diligently done double duty  in his rival’s absence. In addition, Joe could let it slip to the company gossip that he closed a deal for the same co worker when he suddenly departed for the hospital where his sister was in intensive care after a heart attack.

When his wife raised her eyebrows he retorted, “It’s his own fault. He should have made the marriage work so he would have someone to watch his kids and his sister should have stayed on her diet and exercise routine.”

He quickly silenced the persistent voice questioning his choices. He was just trying to provide security for his family. And he was the one that deserved that promotion. He was just setting things right.

The inner voice was insistent however. He couldn’t afford the luxury of worrying about principles now. Nice guys finish last. Joe had no intention of ever finishing last, or even second for that matter. Once he secured an executive position in the company, complete with lucrative salary, retirement benefits, power and respect, then he would turn his attention to principles and matters of conscious. But now he had a family to support.

Within five years, Joe was President of the corporation. He had lost 15 pounds and gotten his hair replacement. He had over a million dollars in cash saved,  millions more in investments and a retirement plan that rivaled the queen of England’s.

But he still had to work long hours to stay at the top. He was more pre occupied than ever with his business. After all, he was responsible to take it to the fortune 500 and beyond. And he had to keep the stockholders happy. Or at least spin a favorable picture, complete with statistics, which can always be manipulated to validate one’s version of the facts.

But that took a lot of time, energy and negotiations. Joe had worked hard to reach his goal and he’d sacrificed alot. He wasn’t about to let it slip through his fingers now.

His kids were teenagers now anyway. They were always with their questionable friends and never followed his advice. No wonder they were always having problems. And his wife was always taking everything too personally. Emotions were inconvenient, a waste of time and demonstrated weakness. Suck it up like he did. Go make something of yourself.

People are just too needy. He was much more comfortable competing for corporate dominance.

Joe’s single minded determination had earned him success, wealth and power. But he had avoided the more difficult business of developing an emotionally intimate and supportive relationship with his wife, children or friends.

He had achieved his goal of success beyond measure while those closest to him paid the price with deep emotional wounds that can take a lifetime to heal.

They should take responsibility for themselves. He’s not to blame.

After all, he has succeeded in becoming the ultimate role model in society’s eyes. He has achieved wealth, power and success. And he has not become complacent but continues to press on to even greater success.

He just aligned his values to match societies. Society respects and admires wealth, power and success.  It desires it. Society excuses the necessary transgressions in the pursuit of achievement and success.

And if other’s get trampled along the way, well that’s because they don’t have what it takes.

Joe happily accompanied his wife to their 15th high school reunion. After all, he was at the top of his game. He had become wealthy and powerful. Everyone would finally treat him with the respect and admiration that he deserves.

And everyone did.

Only his family knew the truth.


Society sets a template for behavior. Humans have the gift to choose the direction in which they evolve.

On a practical level, every civilization that valued power and wealth above the human condition eventually crashed, burned or drowned.

On a spiritual level, every spiritual prophet, no matter the country, nationality or religion, delivered the basic same message. Our evolution and our ultimate happiness depend on Unity and Compassion.

We have made great strides in our technical abilities and our mental fortitude, perseverance and confidence. But time and again we have ignored the message of the spiritual leaders and chose not to address our spiritual evolution.

We have a choice in our evolutionary path. It is our daily actions and our true intentions that will direct that path, not what we profess to believe, our religious affiliation, or our measure of material or social success.

What will you choose today?

Lauren Kennedy

Entry filed under: Piority, Motive and Intention. Tags: , , , , , .

Balancing Act The Cheese Stands Alone

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Our life is an evolving creation, shaped by our choices, colored by our desires, and lightened or darkened by our intentions.
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