I just finished reading John Grisham’s The Appeal. He is an entertaining author and the book was a fun read. As you finish the novel, you cannot help but think about all of the people that face hardships and tragedy. Without spoiling any of the story, the book, in my reading, focuses on one main issue, ethics.
Ethics, a set of moral principles governing proper conduct for a group or individual.
In the book, three central characters, a small law firm, a large corporation, and a politician, must confront their inner ethics as well as those set by society. One stands by her ethics and loses much to help the less fortunate. Another purposefully manipulates the set of rules governing his profession for personal gain, and in return harms many. The third closes his eyes to the violations and wrongdoing, pretending that if he really does not know the details, then it really isn’t wrong.
Each of us has professional ethics that we must abide by and uphold. What are our personal ethics? What is the code by which we live? And possibly more importantly, at what price, if any, would we be willing to turn a blind eye to an ethical violation.
I would love to believe that we would all uphold our moral standards regardless of what hardship might follow, however, being an observer of mankind I know better. Popular television shows like The Apprentice, Survivor, and others seemingly encourage deceit, manipulation, an a lowering of our ethics. Those who are able to find ethical loopholes on these shows are rewarded. This bothers me.
Please give some thought to the questions I raised. As many of you know I always encourage the use of a journal. Write in it. Ask yourself if you can be bought? Do you have a price? More importantly write down your creed. What are the moral standards you believe in, support, teach, and live by? Reflect on these often. Add to them. Discover which ones you follow well, and the ones that perhaps need some reinforcing. If you find yourself justifying some poor decisions or rationalizing why you did something that you know you should not have, simply realign yourself. Say aloud if needed, “I shouldn’t have done that. That was wrong.” Better yet, actively fix it. I have always greatly admired those who are able to admit their mistakes and attempt to repair the damage. Now that is character!
As Alexander Hamilton put it, “Those who stand for nothing, will fall for anything.”
(Kelly Croy is an inspirational speaker, author, and performing artist. Visit our website to invite Kelly to perform at your next event.)