Do What Is Right

Ethics and Morals are tough. It is even tougher when it comes to finances. The news media is full of stories right now about how overwrought greed is causing our recession to get ever worse, causing our (including our elected leaders’) efforts and dollars to go to waste, and causing an immeasurable price in human lives diverted, broken, or even destroyed.

It starts with a simple concept: Do What Is Right.

If you saw someone accidentally drop a twenty dollar bill next to your foot, where you could easily pick it up with no one the wiser but yourself, would you give it back to the person who dropped it?

What if it was $100, would you return it?

What if it was a penny, would you return it?

I imagine that many of the people who are raking in these outrageous, and likely outrageously undeserved, bonuses in seven, eight, and nine figure dollar amounts started off with questions like these.

Unfortunately, I also expect they started answering, “No,” to each of the above questions as they progressed through their careers. After all, in the scale of finances, $100 all the way down to a penny is insignificantly miniscule compared to a compensation package of six figures or more.

It is true: That amount of money is insignificant. Unless, of course, that penny means the difference between eating your next meal or not eating it.

It is the small decisions that pave the way to making big decisions. If your small decisions are ethically or morally compromised, then so are your big decisions. If your small decisions are right and good, then your big decisions *MAY* be right and good.

Returning a dropped penny to its rightful owner is a small decision. But if you are already in the habit of doing what is right, you will return that penny… just like you will return the roll of $5,000 that a senior citizen left on the table at the restaurant by mistake. Yes, that roll of money might mean the difference between paying your rent or not. But that does not matter. If you lie, cheat, or steal to get ahead, it WILL catch up to you. The accumulated interest on that debt may drain your financial assets, or it may psychologically bleed and weaken you as a person. That analogy probably won’t affect many people who have already started answering, “No,” to the above questions. Unless, of course, you take into consideration the following:

Psychology determines your finances. If you have the mental and emotional basis to handle finances in a sane manner, you dramatically improve your chances of success. Anything that damages your personality, the essential “you,” also damages your chances for financial success. This damage can occur at any time during your life. The more steps you take to reduce the _opportunities_ for damage to occur, the less likely you are to suffer damage to your personality and to your finances.

Think about those high-stress situations where it is so ridiculously easy to make a serious financial mistake:

  • Buying a new car
  • Catastrophic health issues
  • Buying a house
  • Applying for a loan
  • Funerals
  • Legal procedures involving lawyers and/or judges
  • Interviewing for a job
  • Divorce
  • Marriage

If you have built within yourself the habit of doing what is right, you will tend to succeed in these high-stress, high cost-of-failure situations for one simple reason: Doing What Is Right means you can more easily recognize when someone is trying to screw you over

The added benefits are many:
* You establish a reputation for honesty and integrity that will aid you in all other aspects of your life. When your honesty or integrity come under question, you can use your past history of Doing What Is Right as *evidence* that you are still Doing What Is Right.

* Your significant other will trust you more. Think how many relationships you know of that suffer or were destroyed because of a simple lack of trust.

* You can trust yourself more. If you are in the habit of Doing What Is Right, you can rely on that habit to help carry you through even the toughest economic or personal times.

* You will collect people around you who also Do What Is Right. These people will support and advise you when you may falter, need help, or must lean on someone else while you get your feet back under you.

* You will inspire others to Do What Is Right. People tend to rise to meet the level of expectation you set for them. By the same token, people tend to lower themselves to meet the level of expecation. Your children, brothers, sisters, parents, and even strangers on the street are watching. What are you telling them about yourself when you take action? That you will take advantage of them if the opportunity presents itself? Or that you will abide by standards of fairness, truth, and honesty, even when it hurts you in the short term?

Return even the penny to its rightful owner.

Be a person who deserves success.

Do What Is Right.

Thank you for taking me into your home.

You’re very welcome, Pookah. A soft, velvety kitty purring on my arm is a princely reward.

2 Responses to “Do What Is Right”

  1. […] my human “posted” text to this “blog” using more than the usual confusing language. I will now introduce […]

  2. […] Life of Pookah Finances, Life, Frugality, Ethics, Morals… all revolving around a stray cat. « Do What Is Right […]

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