Sta Hungry Stay Foolish

Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish.

A blog by Leon Oudejans

Moral compass: integrity vs opportunity

I am not perfect. I have never even aimed for being perfect. It’s just too much effort and frankly also boring. If perfect represents a probability of 0% error then all of us are far from perfect. During my auditing years (1981-1994), I have already realised that you can’t learn anything from companies that run perfectly. You can however learn a lot from companies that do not perform well. Somehow the ingredients of success are far less clear than the ingredients of failure.

This blog was initially triggered by a picture on the FB page of Expanded Consciousness. Its intriguing quote is unfortunately misattributed to the British novelist C.S. Lewis (1898-1963). This blog also fits well with the ones of 18 and 19 August.

The quote to the left is a paraphrase from the book Shattering the Glass Slipper by the “Humorous Motivational Speaker” Charles Marshall which states: “Integrity is doing the right thing when you don’t have to—when no one else is looking or will ever know—when there will be no congratulations or recognition for having done so.” (link 1link 2)

I suppose that integrity and opportunism are the opposite sides of the scales that provide balance in our life; also see my 3 August 2016 blog on symmetry and balance. I have chosen for integrity but that doesn’t make me perfect. Far from it even as I continue to make mistakes in my life. With the knowledge of hindsight, some of my mistakes were intentional but most were unintentional. Indeed most of my mistakes taught me a lot (picture).

I’m proud of my moral compass in life. In principle and in general, I adhere to the saying of Charles Marshall. At times, opportunity still knocks on my door and I get tempted to give myself some slack. Well, I do not. I don’t want to feel guilt, regret, remorse or shame afterwards.

The above doesn’t mean I’m no longer tempted. Temptation and opportunity are always around us. Temptation and opportunity require us to make a choice, every single day. Each choice invokes a short or lengthy discussion with myself, and sometimes even a fight. Arguments are exchanged and the best argument wins.

Opportunity started with the serpent offering an apple to Eve. Eve then tempted Adam to eat the apple despite clear instructions not to eat fruits from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. Guilt, regret, remorse and shame followed ever since. (Wiki)

It’s kind of funny that an ancient bible text still points to the essence: we often know that it’s not wise to seize certain opportunities but do it anyway as we expect that no one is watching and hope that we will not get caught.

Opportunity (1977) by Joan Armatrading
artist, lyrics, video, Wiki-1, Wiki-2

Came to my door
When I was down
On my luck

Note: all markings (bold, italic, underlining) by LO unless stated otherwise/


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