I guess I was kind of naïve or altruistic or something - it never occurred to me to do anything in order to increase my own benefits
I don't think I was quite clear. The whole goal of more benefits was to have more to use to help others with! That's why I wanted to become HQ YWD leader - I would be in a position to influence and create great opportunities for so many more YWD than as a lower level leader. And I did! I took them camping, roller skating, hiking, out to parks, had sleepovers, all the things that I'd wanted to see offered for the youth but that had never been offered to the youth by any of the previous leaders. I tried to get a homework buddy system in place, but the older YWD weren't really inspired to make that kind of effort. My replacement was more successful in getting that program implemented, but it was still my own idea :}
For example, let's imagine you have a spare $100. You can give $20 to each of 5 homeless people, and they can get a decent meal or whatever. Now imagine if you have $100,000,000! With THAT kind of money, you could build apartment houses for the homeless and staff them with medical and psychiatric doctors and aid workers to provide the kind of assisted living those people need to be safe and taken care of.
A pioneer leader told me that, if I wanted to help others become happy, I had to first become happy myself. You can only give what you already have. That was my guiding principle, and I still don't regard it as selfish.
I really think that if members devoted as much time working on their lives than they do chanting and waiting for some benevolent law to bring them what they want or need, they'd have much happier (and healthier) lives. So much time repressing anger and honest feelings eats away at you; in eastern medicine, there's a belief that holding such negative energy in creates real physical problems and disease.
Agreed. If people had been encouraged to develop their lives instead of just sitting on their fat asses mumbling nonsense, imagine how much they could have accomplished! How many members chanted hours upon hours instead of signing up for a class at the local community college, believing that the chanting would get them ahead in their careers faster?? How many members pooh-poohed and turned down unglamourous, entry-level jobs, instead chanting for something more flattering, that paid more, even though they weren't really qualified? If they'd put as many hours into getting training and work experience and training as they did chanting, they would end up far ahead of where they are.
I just ran across an article about bad bosses, and item #2 or #3 was the "anonymous complaints" one. You know, "There have been anonymous complaints about your work." Well, me being in the SGI really caused me to stab myself in the back here. All that rubbish about self responsibility and "it's MY karma" and whatnot led me to address the charge confidently - "Perhaps it was ______; we had some issues with the _____ project" and suchlike. You know, me taking full responsibility like a good little bot. What I SHOULD have said was, "I don't play these silly games. Either tell me who's complaining so that we can address any issues together, or let's go have a little chat with your boss."
The reality, which I didn't figure out until later, was that SHE felt threatened by me. SHE wanted to cut me down but was too much of a weasel to take responsibility for it, so she blamed her own complaints on "anonymous" others, to give her own criticisms a sheen of authority. I didn't realize it until she jumped ship and got a different job.