“To thine own self be true. Though canst not then be false to any man!”
Our behavior and general conduct reflect the values and principles that we consider to be important. It is therefore important to be clear on what our values are, maintaining transparency when communicating and honoring those values when interacting with others in both our personal and professional lives.
In these modern times, the amassing of material possessions is considered a greater achievement than the building of personal character. There was a time when a person’s name was their greatest asset and prized possession but this has now been overrun by the acquiring of mere things such as cash, fast cars, social status, gadgets and such like. As a result, admirable personal values such as honesty and hard work often prove scarce in society. Instead, many people prefer quick and easy routes to personal success, riches, and title. These shortcuts often entail the deceit of others and are justified on the basis of the end result (end justifies the means), which is their selfish gain.
“If you create an act, you create a habit. If you create a habit, you create a character. If you create a character, you create a destiny.”
Andre Maurois (1885 – 1967)
Effect on Individual Character
“Do not be misled: 'Bad company corrupts good character'”
1 Corinthians 15:33
Great works are usually accomplished when people undertake small but good deeds that most of us typically overlook. On the other hand, many great failures are the result of people committing those wrongs they consider to be so small and insignificant.
“We are the children of our own deed”
Victor Hugo (1802 – 1885)
In the Home
It is important that children are raised in an environment with consistent messages on the fundamental issues, so parents need to have a clear life philosophy and values on which they agree. Such an atmosphere makes for strong families and allows for children to prosper in their growth, becoming confident members who can make a meaningful and worthwhile goal in society.
In Organizations and Institutions
Institutions around the world have faced problems of gross mismanagement, greed, and corruption. This is evidenced in many failures including the global financial crisis of 2008/2009, which led to a recession of the global economy. We respond to these occurrences by introducing and instituting numerous rules and reforms within institutions and across society without any real inward transformation. The result of this is that we continue to be the doers of ill deeds.
“Integrity has no need of rules”
Albert Camus (1913 – 1960)
Politics and Community Leadership
Leaders within business, government and across society need to set a good example and not place personal ambition above national interests.
At the Community Level
Observing the principles and standards of discipline, hard work, and honesty is essential to building nations, achieving peace and development in any society. In order to connect with fellow citizens in a spirit of cooperation, one must embody the right code of ethics. Such ethics allow for the respect and observance of the law and the rights of others, ridding evils such as hooliganism and crime.
Society has much to gain from values that are clearly set and honored. Similarly, the absence of values and/or the presence of negative cause a societal decay. Consider your own values and see how you can improve and better impact your surroundings, including your family, work, and society as a whole.