AmeriCAN-DO Attitude

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Hold On to Your Moral Compass

Sometimes I can actually say something that I consider decent when I respond to others’ blog posts. I wish I could just come up with these thoughts on my own without having to read others’ writing first, but oh well.

Here is a comment I left at William’s New Year blog post.

[Here is the quote I reference:

“Regardless of what you do in your life, hold onto your moral compass. When you are emotionally least capable of defending yourself is when the biggest challenge will come. If you don’t have an idea of what you will let yourself do and what you will not let yourself do, you may find that you have done something that you would never believe yourself capable of doing.” —Gen Peter Pace, Sept 2007]

I really like that message from General Pace. Great advice. That is why it is very important to have something in which to believe. To have a foundation in life. Because when things get tough in life, we can always fall back on that to sustain ourselves and strengthen ourselves.

I have had a moral compass, since I was very young (well, grammar school seems “very young” to me now…), but I did not always follow it. It was during those times when I did not follow it that I felt the worst… about myself. I also went through a struggle in high school when I felt my moral compass was wrong. But, I refused to trade it in for an ‘immoral compass’, because it was just not whom I was. This was difficult for me and for the longest time, I felt my moral compass was wrong and everyone else’s was correct and I would ask God why he made me so ‘messed up’ and believing the way that I did.

It took a long time to come to realize that my moral compass was just fine and it was others who were ‘messed up’.

Later, when I was in college, people came to respect me when they got to know me, even when they did not agree with my moral compass. That really comforted me. Sure, it was still tough sometimes, but those same people would not have respected me if I proclaimed to believe in something and then acted against those beliefs just to try to be popular or fit in or whatever else. In the end, people respected my character and it helped me to go on to adulthood in the ‘real world’ (after college) having a sturdy foundation on which to live. And it has really helped me earn the respect of my peers at work as well. They know me as a man of character and integrity and someone in whom they can put their trust. And they know I don’t do it to get ahead, but I do it, because that is whom I am.

I have this quote on my cube at work that people have commented many times saying they like it:

Men of genius are admired,
men of wealth are envied,
men of power are feared;
but only men of character are trusted.

I have always known that I am no genius and have never aspired to be so. Neither have I aspired to be a man of wealth or a man of power. I have always remembered the words of my high school guidance counselor who asked me the simple question: “What do you want to be when you grow up?” I would give the answer I thought he was looking for such as accountant, engineer, etc. He would simply look at me and smile and ask the question again. Finally I got tired of this and told him, I don’t know, what? He just smiled and said:

“A good person”

I’ve always remembered that and have always aspired to be so. I’ve failed a lot, but that has always been my one goal in life. Just to be a good person. I figure that if I can do that, everything else will fall into place. I could fail in my job, fail in my health or fail in my sports activities and still recover. But if I fail at being a good person, that hurts the most. I could hurt other people and I know I will hurt myself inside.

At the end of the day, if I can look at myself in the mirror and know that I am a good person, I can rest easy.


December 29, 2007 , 1:06AM - Posted by | Inspiration, Life, Morals

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