Lie, Cheat & Steal. Or, Just Make One Decision
- Wednesday, July 14, 2010
"You only have to make ONE decision." That is the advice my friend's 17-year-old son Austen, gave his little sister Olivia, as she was about to enter high school. "You make one decision to be the kind of person you choose to be. Then, when you are presented with situations or temptations, you've already decided what to do. You will quickly let others know that you aren't going to drink, do drugs, fool around, etc. because none of these activities reflect who you want to be. Make one decision and all the others fall into place."
There is tremendous wisdom and power in these words. And a lesson for us all: one decision—that's all any of us really needs to make. Who do we choose to be? Are we confident enough in ourselves and in our values to make that one decision?
"It's not hard to make decisions when you know what your values are." ~Roy Disney
When we consciously decide who we want to be and what we want our lives to reflect, then all other choices become much easier to make. Tempted to cheat on a test, a spouse or a business deal? Is that who you've decided to be?
What about gossip, or speaking ill of others? Are you impatient? Guilty of road rage? Drinking too much? Angry? Promiscuous? Resentful? Stubborn? Disrespectful? Experimenting with drugs? Deceitful? How do any of these behaviors correspond with your ONE decision to be the kind of person you choose?
If we take the time to define what we want our lives to reflect, then we have a foundation, a basis of comparison and a way to evaluate our thoughts, words and actions. And when we begin to step away from the values that we ourselves stipulated, then we also have a touchstone—our own "home base" in which to return.
It is equally important to remember: the choices that lead us away from our values are insidious and contagious. One poor choice can effortlessly lead to another and then these careless, willful and inappropriate choices can quickly become progressively worse.
When we begin to make choices that are not in line with our ONE decision, it becomes easier and easier to move away from our chosen values. If we gossip about someone, we will generally deny it. We start to lie. We don't want to acknowledge our behavior because we know in our hearts that it is wrong.
If we drink too much, skip school or work, try drugs or have sex outside of marriage, don't we lie about that too? Lying becomes the next logical step in protecting ourselves from admitting something that we know we shouldn't have done in the first place.
Our first lie is often to ourselves. How many times have you heard an inner voice saying, "It's only this one time"? Or perhaps, "No one will get hurt." We even justify our actions with, "I deserve this." Try to remind yourself that this inner voice is in itself, a lie, and will sabotage your ONE decision if you choose to give in to it.
When we lie about something, it sets us up to take the next step—to cheat.
Every cheating spouse started with a seemingly simple lie. And once they started lying to themselves, to their spouse and to others, they set the stage for the act of cheating itself. Cheating in business, cheating a friend or spouse, cheating on a test—they all begin with some form of a lie.
And cheating is actually a form of stealing. When we cheat, we steal something from someone else. We take something that isn't rightfully ours. And when we get away with it, it is much easier to do it again. Then we have to continue to lie in order to hide what we have done. The stakes get higher, the risks increase and the viscous cycle escalates.
Often, the fear of being caught then leads to more serious consequences. How many people have been injured and even killed by a desperate thief? How many murders and suicides have been committed to cover up the crimes of robbery, scams and embezzlement? Have many have lost their families or their very lives because of an adulterous relationship?
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