WINNING GAME PLAN
and/vs.
"Climbing Fools Hill"

Let's Start: For every human, parents (see BELOW) are the starting point for help within FAMILY. Parents can extend "ropes" of help or direct you to "ladders" of opportunity (or do both...HERE) off & on during your entire life. Potentially supplimenting the parents are churches, civic organizations, churches, social groups, educational entities, financial companies, advisors, government agencies, etc. YOU need to learn how to ask, apply for, and generate help. Above all, your being guided into being a Jesus follower is the most important single thing in your life for getting help in this complex world!

Especially when you are young, there is a temptation to "wing it" (and not plan and NOT ask "winners" for advice and not act way ahead of deadlines). A big part of the following discussion can be encapsulated in this truth: if you don't earn it...you will not value it! That goes for obtaining help. NO ONE is obligated to help you! TIP: come up with a scheme that has you "earning"...possibly by actually making & reporting success on the planned steps toward your goal...the help that you want to ask for.

"Climbing Fools Hill": at least in a free, capitalistic country such as the USA which allows personal choice and full opportumity for all, it is inevitable that ALL young people will spend, months, years, or even decades "climbing fools hill". In a nutshell, the conscious or subconsciouse mindset is that the older generations are "backwards" and"stupid"; they are too trusting, easy marks for youthful con jobs, suckers for an "I promise" story, too cautious, and too encumberred by social customs, rules, and laws. "Climbing fools hill" is the process of learning how the society you live in really works within the various levels that YOU want to be part of. The "climbing fools hill" saying was a favorite of my grandfather who endured an incredible number of life set-backs (including becoming an orphan the day before high school graduation!). Google the term, "climbing fools hill" and find Psychology Today Articles and books which include this concept & title!

Your inner baseline: The first part of winning is (1) faith in Jesus (so that you obtain the indwelling warning & guiding system of the Holy Spirit), and the second part is (2) learning how to relate rightly with people (Jesus has a lot to say about that). (3) The third part is knowing how to have gratitude...a mental state that can be screwed up by various government angles, HERE. Your family (parental generation first) is the starting point for help & advice. Next comes learning stuff...education (now a life-long process). Planning and avoiding last-minute scrambling is important. Whether getting help from guidance counselors, application guides, personal coaches ("life coaches"), family, friends, or banks, relationships and advance planning with plenty of "heads up", in-person contact with potential helpers are two important factors.

Odds of positive outcome: (1) Your "help target" deserves enough information about your plans in order for him/her/them to feel like the plan you are asking for help on has [a] a reasonably strong chance of success and [b] with a low chance of causing you harm. (2) It is hard for a help target to come up with a favorable response when they feel (1) that their relationship with you is either indifferent or negative AND/OR (2) that you are actively & outspokenly (not just apathetically or unthinkingly) OPPOSED to the help target's life views, social views, and governmental/political views.

Irritations: There are plenty of frustrations and irritations on the road of life, and you must learn how to quiet down your negative reactions to them. Some are due to failure. You have to determine WHEN to persist...when there is a stumble or failure...and when to take another direction (some would say, quit or give up).

THE "world" OWES you NOTHING: In 2015, the USA seems to scream the opposite message...this is The TRUTH. (1) YOUR PARENTS owe you love, nutrition, a roof over your head, a means to help you with illnesses, and as much safety as they can provide. For a best chance at the life of realizing your potential, they should lead you into The Way of Jesus by setting the example of Jesus. If you AND they are fortunate, your parents may have saved for your education and/or a start in life in the young adult arena. Your community, state, and nation owe you safety and a stable society with liberty and opportunity to lead an independent life through which you have a chance to (1) provide for yourself as an independant self. If times and the economy can be good, you will be blessed to have chances to achieve your dreams, potential, and calling. That is it! (2) Grandparents, teachers, friends, and others owe you nothing. However, especially if you have a winning plan and your parent's blessing, they might help you. To be emphatic about this, let's check financial management expert, Dave Ramsey's rant about those who lie by telling you THEY will "fix your life" for you, HERE.

It's the PARENT: In this day and time (2015), if anyone "owes" you a basic education, it is your parents. How they go about doing this is their business. Beyond the basic education, the rest is up to YOU. BUT, if you can legally do so and you directly or indirectly declare your adult independence (I don't want ANYBODY telling me what to do!), then anything further is up to YOU...unless you "wise up" and change your approach. When communities, states, and a nation attempt to guarantee both, they fall into socialism or communism and end up in totalitarianism and dictatorship which inevitably (no exceptions in history) leads to murderous killing of large numbers of citizens, HERE. Now, lets get back to getting help! Grandparents & great-grandparents may be help targets.

Grandparents/great-grandparents and other kin: UNLESS you are in the situation of a totally disrupted relationship with one or both parents, your grandparents/great-grandparents should NOT agree to help without the co-request...or at least the blessing...of your parents. Be WELL prepared to discuss with your help-target grandparents/great-grandparents (or other kin) this disrupted parental relationship. They may very rightfully choose not to help on the basis that they believe that you are a key factor in the parent-child discord with parent(s) who THEY think are good. Even banks & lending companies reward "good behavior" by favoring issuing help to good behavior records rather than bad!

Relationships: Whether long term or short term, successfully getting help involves formation and/or adjustment of a relationship between helper (him/her/them) and recipient (you). [an adverse EXAMPLE, HERE] In getting into & keeping that kind of a relationship, let's imagine the help provider as the person on a tight rope, and the recipient of the help as BEING the tight rope. As the helper considers giving help, he/she wants a vision of (1) what constitutes that tight rope, (2) how high that tight rope is (risk), and (3) where that tight rope walk leads to or ends. WARNING! The helper may become disturbed by a "fog bank" of uncertainty blocking his/her vision down the tight rope toward the end. This can be frightening to the potential helper to the point of him/her/they having to back WAY up on the relationship and await a clear vision. It is the help recipient's (YOUR) choice as to clearing the vision up or not. If the relationship is NOT STRONG, are YOU willing to invest your effort in getting that relationship strenghtened?

Because you are thinking of getting help (and making your own way) to get ahead, you may actually have the very important beginning of a (1) personal sense of being exceptional in some positive way. If so, good! BUT, (2) you must alternatively cultivate an independent sense of insecurity...you need to be continually proving yourself capable...you are never "all the way to home base". And, (3) impulse control is a vital component of all winning factors, even in the urge to ask for help. It is simple to ask for a ride or to borrow a few dollars. Yet, even in such simple situations, a "yes" or "no" depends on relationships.

Networking: Those who learn the value of relationships will easily understand the concept of business, political, professional, social, and family "groups" or "networks" of mutually positive relationships..."networking". Good networks save time. Those who, for various reasons, find themselves not in a desired network or relationship often fall prey to thinking that those that are "in" have done some unfair thing(s) to become a favorite or to get "in" the "back-scratching" network or "good ole boy" network. Networking is the way the entire world works (not just the USA).

In making this page, I suspect that it might apply to anyone (1) needing and getting help from (2) any targeted source of help. But, in putting it together, I am a Southern USA, white male who had an intense, professional worklife & am thinking (1) as a parent who has children & stepchildren, (2) as a grandparent who has grandchildren & step-grandchildren, (3) as a church member with churchmate fellowship contacts, (4) as a retired physician (pathologist) professional with many colleagues & coworkers, and (5) as a member of a local, state, and national community of US citizens. All of these are part of my "network" of relationships. I recently (needing help even later in life) got some help (a lead to a help source) from a longtime friend who asked his friend to help me. The need for help never ends!

Jesus brought salvation & a gospel (good news) clarifying (1) about the love, mercies, and grace of God and (2) the keys to righteousness (relating rightly to others...see link below at end of Preparation point #1).

A most disappointing thing in this life is to gift or help or do favors for a person and have them (the recipient) transform into anger at the helper& a negative relationship when the helper is interupted from being willing or able to help now and again! SHAME on such thankless, ingrate people!!!

THREE KEY POINTS:

  1. TIME IS NEEDED: You cannot think and frett and let time run out! You must think, plan, and make your initial moves toward help early! Plan ahead and start EARLY in your search for help. NEVER wait until the last minute...NEVER!!!
  2. LOGICAL SOURCE of HELP: The help target has to be a logical target. You don't go to a mortgage bank to ask for car title loan. Commercial loans are for certain things. You picked the wrong target. If you have an ordinary job for income, you don't try to get financing for buying a BMW or Lexus. Avoid unreasonable desires!
  3. CAN HELPER BE CONFIDENT in YOU:The help target will need to be/feel assured and confident that he/she/it has a high likelihood of the experience being a positive & gratifying experience for him/her/it. A couple once rented a former home to a younger couple, one of that couple being a police officer (owner presuming that a rules and law-enforcing police officer would assure reasonable care of rental property...but they grossly damaged the property). The property owner DID NOT have a positive experience with that rental family. The more negative experiences "help targets" have in helping others, the harder it is for them to see their way clear to provide help to (1) that recipient once again (2) or to others (old saying: "once burned; twice shy!") We all owe it to all other humans to be GOOD beneficiaries of help so that more people can be helped by more helpers more often!!!

FAMILY AND CLOSE FRIEND HELP TARGETS: It is very dangerous to get financial help from close family! (1) The parents of children are THE ONES responsible for the raising of their children toward being responsible, independent, and productive American citizens. (2) The parents are the very first "helpers" to their child And the very first "school" their children attend and give the earliest basics on relationship loyalty within a family & extended family. The above two items being parental responsibilities, parents are the logical source for help on money loans and educational & marriage (their daughter) expenses. Having said that, other family members are not totally out of bounds for your asking. But any family "financial pie" has just so many slices. Independent, able-bodied, full-grown adults are, therefore, responsible for themselves (3) but are often in need of help.

Especially when seeking help from family, the help target MUST be highly responsible and careful to (1) not allow a dependency to develope in that help requester who is trying to become independent. That is, (2) the help target MUST act with tough love (I love you and am one you can count on but cannot meet your request because I predict that it will either weaken or hurt you in the long run or damage our relationship).

ALL OTHER HELP TARGETS: These include every person, agency (such as DSS or scholarship foundation), institution (such as churches & charities), business (banks & other loan companies), or even on-line funding sources [BELOW] that exists.

THE HELPER: A "helper" who lives by "right relationships" is far more likely to cheerish the hope of being close to you (the "help" recipient) in your ongoing success and life journey rather than making you forever feel indebted to that helper! I always spent time with my parents when I came home from my educational chase for my goals. And, I enjoyed their conversations and the looks on their faces when I let them know about how my progress was going. Especially as I look back as a retired man, I realize the joy I brought to them as they got to hear how their sacrifices on my behalf and "investments" in me were "bearing fruit".

PREPARATION: NOW, you need to be prepared! Here are some recommended preparations which should be "for real" and not "faked":

  1. Have a right relationship: God's favorite human, King David of Israel, in his old age said (Psalms 37:25): "I was young and now I am old, yet I have never seen the righteous forsaken or their children begging bread." Before you broach the subject, think hard about whether you have done anything in the past to injure your relationship with the help target. If so, repairs MUST be made, HERE. Next, have you done all that you know how to do in order to get your relationship as positive as possible with the friend or family person or persons you target & hope to recruit for help? "Helpers" have ridden in many of "life's rodeos" and will spot an insincere "butter them up" job right away. A bank loan officer or scholarship source, on the other hand, will be well aware that your first encounter (a business encounter) with them can only be a first encounter. BUT, such an officer (who has a strong positive relationship with your churchmate or your close family member who can vouch for you) gets closer to you quickly after knowing of (and independently confirming) such vouching relationships.

    Think hard through the above about this issue of getting relationships right because your success depends on this first step of preparation. Jesus was all about relating rightly to others...check His views on it HERE.

  2. EVIL: Stay away from the many attractive evil people (you will be SHOCKED at a real & modern definition of EVIL, HERE). And, see further discussion on evil, below. A type of safety profiling is invaluable to keeping your life from being derailed.

  3. Have a firm mental bedrock foundation: Especially if the targeted helper family member has his or her own foundation based on the Christian faith (HERE), help is more likely to come if you have a Christian foundation undergoing developement (helper & recipient have similar "foundation" identities). Another (or additional) foundation might be that of just a simple, non-spiritual belief in hard work and dependability. I think that hard work is way more productive toward goals when done out of this spiritual foundation rather than on hard work alone. The worst mistake I ever made was about a 25 year hiatus from Christian participation and growth (from college to mid-career). My experience has been best with folks who, "Seek first the kingdom of God" and "walk" by their faith in what Jesus has promised. A true Jesus believer has the Holy Spirit residing within themselves as a source of extra, divine help at all times. They are most likely to deal honestly in this relationship...their "word" actually means something (their word is their bond).

  4. Financial responsibility: A successful friend or family member who may be a potential source of help rarely wants to risk their resources with someone who does not appear to be financially responsible. What do you know about money and financial responsibility? Dave Ramsey is a great source of information & has many YouTube videos (example, HERE) and has much focus on the danger of getting in debt. Do you work out of an actual personal budget? He also has a free cell phone app (EveryDollar) to help you track your money & avoid debt. Debt...especially reckless debt...de-rails countless lives of Americans! You might have already won your scholarship support. Or you might have asked for money from a crowd-funding web site (such as, GoFundMe, IndieGoGo, and KickStarter) which typically keeps 4% or 5% of the donations that come in. And, though possibly you don't currently need help, you very much need some financial "smarts" to keep from (1) squandering that support and (2) any other help you get or (3) money from any part-time job.

  5. Education: YOU should be ready to help the potential helper to understand that you have the educational preparation needed to be successful in your goal. If the education needed is lacking, so far, to reach your goal, be careful to NOT make choices that could lead the help target to lose confidence that the needed education will actually take place. No one will want to squander hard earned resources on a "ham-strung" personal venture!

  6. Common sense: There is an old saying, "If you've got more education than common sense, it will make you a fool". Life experience is the art of (1) learning "how things really are", and that knowledge (2) yields realistic thinking called "common sense". Without grounding in "common sense", you will become "naively hopeful" and filled with an attitude of "they should have" or "if only"...a type of self righteous thinking about what you imagine or dream that life could be (or "should be") rather than the facts about how it actually is. Computer billionaire, Bill Gtates, offered up important info in his, "eleven things they don't teach in high school", HERE.

  7. Safety and human evil: As clearly discussed in his excellent book, People of The Lie, M. Scott Peck, M. D. (psychiatrist & author of The Road Less Traveled), the world is filled with evil people who are (1) narcissistic (amazingly self centered) and (2) never willing to admit that they are ever wrong. They are often "con artist" types. Though, along life's way, you may have to be beholding to such people for a job or their teaching, avoid such folk as much as you possibly can. They are not safe to be around. As their evil within harms them, some actually want to do you harm, HERE (Scott Peck). You must avoid "wrong" people and be vigilant and think safely at all times! Both in the USA and the rest of the world, naive males and females are captured by "human trafficking" into work and or sex slavery, HERE (and YouTube is loaded with similar expose videos). Especially as males & females seek love, there is danger, HERE. Even if you are not looking for help, you must be VERY careful and alert. There is a lot of danger out there.

  8. Sleep and rest: To be successful, you MUST arrange your life so as to get enough rest. Check this: driving tired and sleepy is every bit as dangerous as DUI (driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs). Check out National Geographic's excellent special, Sleepless in America, HERE, for just one arena of safety that people widely ignore. Sleep deprivation drags you down.

  9. Mental toughness: What is the evidence that (1) you are NOT a quitter and that (2) you will not give up because some step in your path is hard? Are there examples of how you stuck with something even when things got tough? Life is hard! Check out that Bill Gates video again (#5, above, HERE). Also check black female olympic great, Jackie Joyner-Kersee, HERE.

  10. Failure: Here is the one-hour episode of NPR with John Donvan (in for Tom Ashbrook) interviewing Peg Streep of Psychology Today dealing with the topic, "What's So Great About Failure, Anyhow?"

  11. Junk in your trunk: If you know that your target friend or family member knows that you have special situations (a car needing constant repairs or a pet you want to keep with you or a messy habit of some sort, etc.) or have had some problems, you will need to address them and present convincing evidence that the "junk in your trunk" is (1) either not going to be a problem for the helper or (2) is a thing of the past. Always think ahead as to possible consequences of wrong relationships, negative activities & conduct, and poor choices. Especially as males and females seek love, there is potentially serious danger for their future [see this counselor's warnings, HERE]. Bishop T. D. Jakes has good comments on the topic of "junk", HERE.

  12. Frustration tolerance: The entire journey of life in this world is filled with abundant & never ending episodes of frustration. This is because mankind is naturally very far from perfect (Christians call this "fallen" mankind). Almost any person you deal with can be more or less frustrating. This is an inevitable part of life. So, get real and understand this. That is a HUGE step toward becoming frustration tolerant. From 1975-2014, I have had a wonderul career! Yet there were numerous frustrations...nearly always. But the goodness of the overall efforts and outcomes offset all of that frustration by the overall quality of the effort & the positive results. What is the evidence that you understand this and know how to deal with frustration? Bishop T. D. Jakes speaks on frustratiion and how to deal with it & develope frustration tolerance, HERE.

  13. Delayed gratification: This is a more mature stage and part of "impulse control" (see 4th sentence of this page, above). Be prepared with convincing evidence that you have learned the skill of "delayed gratification". Instant gratification, impulsive buying tumbles countless Americans into debt (they have no skill or habit of impulse control and delaying getting what they want until they have money to buy it without going into debt). We must learn to think ahead about "pros" and "cons" before we leap into a decisive action. A person MUST work hard on learning about the pros and cons of getting something or doing something NOW, rather than (1) either passing up on the thing altogether (2) or at least delaying it to a future better time. If you have not learned to delay, then your chances of success are much reduced. And any resources earned or provided will likely be squandered. An attitude and habit of being able to delay gratifying yourself NOW for a real advantage or better result LATER is highly associated with success in life. Check out the marshmallow test, HERE (and the test's implication of what parents can do to help teach "delayed gratification"). A sports figure gives a lesson about delayed gratification (HERE) and the implication of the mental toughness that is needed to get to your goals. Professional advice: In today's USA, families are in various stages of disarray. An uninterupted march to your career goals is unlikely for many.

  14. Appreciation: Last but not least, you need to appreciate the United States of America, the country that you were so amazingly blessed to have been born in! There is no point at all in a family member investing in your future if you (1) deny your creator and/or (2) dispise the USA.

I like the following graduation speech because it sums up much of the above. Rather than his message of your changing the world, I'd like for you to think in terms of, "If you want to get ahead in life and get your goals, ...": University of Texas at Austin 2014 Commencement Address - Admiral William H. McRaven, HERE.

****************

Life in this fallen world is somewhat like the start of a card game: you have no choice but to play the hand that you are dealt! Very telling and instructive about the "attitude" of success & independence is this brief, powerful video interview of a now famous young women (she became a "star") caught between the black and white cultures and in a severely dysfunctional family who explains a person's own role in what course a person's life takes, HERE. I'm not (1) advocating any violence, and I (2) warn you that nearly every person is a product influenced by some sort(s) of family dysfunction.

In my wife's and my social groups growing up in central S. C. (grade school from 1950-1962), our parents made great sacrifices in order to provide a where-with-all for each of us children to launch into life in a line matching with our personal potential and goals. Because this support was a "natural", I (1) never had to present my "case" and actually ask them for help until one time related to buying a home after medical school. During growing up, our culture was very strong on family relationships: you nurtured family relationships above all others ("blood" [family] was "thicker than water" [water = non-blood-kin relationships]). So, (2) I "launched" with far less preparation and realization about obtaining help...and generally about life...than is easily possible in today's web-based world. (3) My grandparents and great-grandparents, aunts & uncles, and cousins had no role toward me other than as being positively interested family members who hoped to stay in a close and informed relationship with me.

No wise person wants to be part of a losing effort!

Without thinking about fault or blame, if your personal circumstances have left you in need (note: every person moving forward and "up" at least needs helpful advice), then you are the one who needs to make your own way. A potential part of "making your own way" is to learn how to ask for help. People or sources who have slaved away for years to achieve a position of strength are potential sources for you to go to in order to enlist their help. It takes a level of maturity to ask for help. You must ask for the help! Many people consciously or subconsciously avoid asking for help. ***And it all works best when the potential "help person(s)" has plenty of lead time to know you & for working out financial or other arrangements to help you. The "asking" does not have to be by way of a single, surprise, big speech. It can be worked into bit by bit...maybe starting with some texting or e-mail or even by way of a trusted adult intermediary "breaking the ice" for you.

Successful "asking for help" should be preceded by YOUR personal preparation.

Work on the relationship: If you simply walk in off of the street into a bank and ask for a loan, the odds are huge that you won't get it. Wise people make it a point to get to know (form a relationship with) at least one key worker in the bank in which they choose to do business. But, let's think ahead about some general preparation for "asking". Set aside time in your life to positively cultivate & update the relationship with the targeted helper(s). Actually force yourself to get interested in the targeted helper(s). Let them get insight into who you are becoming and what you are beginning to see in your future.

Those who won't ask friends or family for help (or are nervous or timid about it) secretly "hope" for help but avoid asking for fear of (1) lacking the skill to present their case, or (2) embarrassment of being turned down, and/or are (3) secretly afraid that this help they need will make them "indebted" to the helper(s). But, it is far better to specifically ask for (and potentially get) this friend's or family's support.

CAREER SPECIALIST: Now, having insight about the above building blocks & the need to get them moving into place in your behalf, can you engage some acual professional help? As of 2015, a nitch advisor...the career specialist...is a person who should be aware of all sorts of routes to career goals. Unlike the grade school guidance counselor, it is my understanding that the career specialist is able to advise on nonstandard routes to careers. I would suppose that there may be general career specialists to help you choose a segment of the work world matching your interests and aptitudes. Then, there may be more specialized career specialists for segments of the work world such as medical field, airplane field, computer field, etc. HERE is a web site that notes the structure of this type of counseling.

FINAL COMMENT: Wise people continue to seek help throughout life (mostly along the lines of advice as they get older & more experienced). You will, however, never be what you can be if you try to simply have an "entitlement" approach to life. People rise to their best amid competition and having definite "skin in the game". You are never going to reach your potential without challenges. As the Bible notes (Proverbs 27:17, "As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another"). Persons who incorporate much of the above habits and strengths are destined for more success and satisfaction in life! May God be with you so that you will be able to correctly tap the mother-load of help throughout your life!!!

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[posted 25 December 2014; latest addition or adjustment, 19 January 2017]