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Leadership Thought #393 – Don’t Succumb To Temptation

The more success you have the more temptations will come your way.  It’s easy to start to think of yourself as different or special when you outperform your peers.  You may begin to rationalize that the same basic ethical rules don’t apply to you, but they do.  Just look at the history of world leaders and their actions.   Character is certainly forged in the fires of adversity.  However, you also learn a lot about someone’s character when everything seems to go their way.  The saying goes “if you want to know who a person truly is then give them money and power.”

Life is full of temptation especially in a society which constantly bombards you with advertisements glorifying self-satisfaction.  We are regularly reminded of our shortcomings and what we don’t have.  Happiness is presented to us through a lens of hyper materialism, self indulgence and unending sexual vitality.  Winning is everything and our own happiness is prioritized over everything else regardless of the consequences.  Feeling good has become more important than doing good.

We all need something that grounds us and also guides us to make the right decisions.  If there are no rules and expectations of moral behavior then anything goes.   When our family or peers look the other way and ignore or worse condone bad behavior then we are adrift in a sea that leads to nowhere good for them or us.  We are ultimately defined by our thoughts and actions especially when no one is watching.  In the end, what is most important will be the impact (positive or negative) we had on those around us and the true generosity of our spirit and decency of our behavior.

You will encounter people who seemingly have more fun than you, have more money, are married to more physically attractive spouses, live in nicer houses, have more power and prestige in their work, etc.  Don’t get caught up with wanting what they have and keeping score on the wrong things.  More is not always better.  You don’t know how they got there or maintain what they have.  The other side of the fence is never as green as you think it is and may have more weeds.   When you are tempted to do things which you know to be wrong because you desire something different or want to feel a certain way, step back and reflect on the potential consequences of your actions.   You can never successfully rationalize immoral, unethical, selfish or mean-spirited behavior no matter how hard you try.   The further you get away from doing what’s right the closer you get to living a life of remorse and regret.


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