All Great Failures Are…
Dad’s mentor, Fred Smith (http://budurl.com/vmjt), said that “all great failures are moral failures.” When I first heard the explanation to this statement by Fred it made perfect sense. We all know the stories of very successful athletes, business people, politicians, and religious leaders who take a great moral fall. Drugs, lying, stealing from their companies and cheating on their spouses result in losing their reputation as well as their wealth, and often destroy their key relationships, impacting the lives of everyone around them. Pride, greed, and the desire for instant gratification cause people to make morally bad decisions, and these decisions destroy them and oftentimes many others.
Now that we are going through an economic meltdown as a country and as a world, I started to consider Fred’s statement on a much larger basis. Is this great economic failure really a moral failure? The more I hear and read, the more convinced I am that it is. Choosing debt to support a lifestyle driven by instant gratification is a moral failure. Well-intentioned do-gooders who create policies that allow people to purchase things they cannot afford are ultimately moral failures. Spending money we don’t have is ultimately a moral failure. A society that says “go ahead and get it now, everybody is doing it,” is a society that justifies their own moral shortcomings by getting everyone to participate.
This economic meltdown that we are all experiencing is not a technical glitch, it is the direct result of many morally bad decisions piling up until, by their own weight, they can only come crashing down.
So here is the real challenge we face as a nation. The way out of this mess is not a series of technically creative political and financial policies. The way out is realizing we have to make good, sound moral decisions around money. Debt is bad. People are not entitled to things they cannot pay for. Hard work is the solution. Living on less than you make builds character, lessens risk, and provides a foundation of rock, not sand, for your future.
This all seems so simple, even too simple, but the truth is really always pretty simple, we just don’t like to admit it. Ultimately, to recognize that this economic collapse is really because of breaking moral laws means that we, and our leaders, must recognize that there is a moral law-giver. The bully pulpit in our country right now is controlled by the media and the politicians. They fancy themselves as the moral law-givers, and they certainly don’t recognize a truly moral law-giver unless they agree with him!
Never forget: Just because you are of the opinion that something is not true doesn’t mean that you won’t be governed by it if it is true. When people and countries make enough morally bad decisions, failure is a certainty. Here is the good news. The opposite is also true!