A Return to Ethics -- 1968
People talk about ethics, honesty, transparency and respect, but few remember when those characteristics were shared by most. They met new clients, new friends and new students, and began new relationships assuming all involved in the meeting were focused on achieving goals for the common good. Things changed in 2016.
The common good became uncommon. People turned into competitors before they even met. They focused on what they themselves wanted and no longer cared what others wanted. All sides cared about winning at all costs. Winning meant getting what each wanted, which was, of course, impossible. If one won, the others lost, even if they didn't have to. Yes, there was a time when both sides could be satisfied, when both sides could walk away thinking, "We didn't get everything we wanted but we got what meant the most to us.
The new negotiation style is to crush the opponent, doing everything to win so all others lose. The new politics have spread into the new business. This is not an appealing mindset for millennials. This is not an appealing way of doing business to a person who values working toward the greatest good for the greatest number of people. You don't have to be a millennial to identify with the positive mindset and the belief of "the greatest good for the greatest number." No, you are not a socialist. You are in alignment with utilitarianism, a moral system founded by English philosopher Jeremy Bentham (1748-1832). His interests included political philosophy, philosophy of law, ethics and economics. In fact, some philosophers believe our actions are so important that the right or wrong of actions should be considered first when deciding what to do.
But great minds create similar original thoughts. A high school student, Kent M. Keith, wrote a booklet to teach high school leaders how to lead. In 1968, as a 19-year-old Harvard sophomore he turned it into the book, "The Paradoxical Commandments: Finding Personal Meaning in a Crazy World." Without calling himself an activist, he thought about the commandments as a 15-year-old high school student.
You see, people with amazing minds are born to create brilliant thoughts. In this world of students being told to find their passions to lead them to the career meant for them, incredible minds don't need anyone telling them anything. Steve Jobs started on his path of passion after he dropped out of Harvard.
The paths are unique, but the goals are similar: to experiment, experience and lay down original thoughts for the betterment of people. Creative minds think big early on. They see problems no one is fixing, and they alone accept the tasks. Parents can push, motivate, encourage, beg and order their children to produce and perform, but such messages often go nowhere. These special minds do their own thing, and the parents can try to help, try to lead, but are best served to sit back and watch what takes place.
Parents can't force what isn't meant to be. The truth is people are not created equal. Each individual is a unique creation who will develop when ready. Some will never develop as an original. Some will do well as copies, and some will float with the wind and drift with the waves. When left alone to find their potential they may sink or swim. Regardless of the Bible version you have, a line says, "You can't make a silk purse out of a sow's ear." (Matthew 8:28-34) After thousands of years, parents haven't learned the lesson. Their duty is to teach lessons and discipline when needed; they can't turn a child into what they want, unless they want to force the child into a common creation to be regular, which may end up being the best that child can be.
THE 10 PARADOXICAL COMMANDMENTS
No. 1: People are illogical, unreasonable and self-centered. Love them anyway.
No. 2: If you do good, people will accuse you of selfish ulterior motives. Do good anyway.