The open road

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The past day I took a long distance drive of about 6 hours.

Most of the drive was an open road highway, until you get to and major towns.

On the open road, people drive at their own speed, on cruise, relaxed and just enjoy the ride.

For me the open road helps me to think, about where I have been and where I’m going. It is about the beautiful views, the tranquility, the fresh air, the music.

Drivers don’t excessively speed up on the open road. In fact, it seemed as though they slow down and enjoy the ride, the sight seeing etc. Except for one or two speed freaks.

It is when you get to or pass a major town where there are more cars on road and then suddenly drivers want to speed up and pass others as if they are in competition.

When you get to the robots [we call traffic lights robots in South Africa], people speed off when it turn green, as if we are at the Grand Prix.

People are comfortable with the competitive nature of passing [I may not be fast, but I’m faster than you], and are petrified of the open road and the act of choosing own speed.

We do the same thing with social media.

You are okay, relaxed, calm and comfortable in on your lane, away from social media.

It is when you log in, you start to be competitive, you want to be seen doing something amazing, wearing something amazing, being somewhere amazing with amazing people.

Of course, we do the same thing with our careers or our businesses.

We build our careers and businesses one step at a time in our own lane, when we get to be with others at work or business seminars we leave our lane and want go faster than everyone.

Unfortunately, most people need competition to tell us how fast to go.

 

Difference between spray and cologne

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A spray lands on your body and shouts immediately.

A cologne lands on your body and takes it time, quietly and subtly.

A spray makes the grand entrance, it says I’m here notice me, I’m all over the place.

A cologne says I’m subtle, I don’t scream for attention, talks quietly, if you want to know me, get closer, take your time and you will notice me and I will grow in you.

Often how we interact in relationships, online, at work, or with customers, is either we are a spray or a cologne to them.

You either shout and scream or talk gently with quiet confidence.

I is for Integrity: Do what’s right anyway

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“Good men don’t become legends,” he said quietly.

“Good men don’t need to become legends.” She opened her eyes, looking up at him.

“They just do what’s right anyway.”

― Brandon Sanderson, The Well of Ascension

This reminds me of nice girls don’t get the corner office or good guys don’t win cliches, my response is:

Corner office or not, winning or not, popular or not, recognition or not, just do what’s right.

Not what is popular, or easy, or ruthless, or vindictive, just do what is right.

And God will do the rest.

I is for Integrity: Cheating

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Some people cheat their way through life.

They cheat on tests in school.

Cheat on girlfriends/boyfriends and then graduate to cheating on wives/husbands.

They cheat on their taxes.

Taxi drivers cheat on the road, by cutting in front of us.

Politicians use the public purse for their personal purposes.

People use their connections to cut the queue so that they can get ahead of everyone.

You cheat on your diet.

People cheat in relationships because… of whatever reason they use to justify their actions.

And then we say, it happens, as long as I don’t find out or get caught.

Unbeknown to many people, unseen in the background, as you cheat and seem like you are getting ahead, fate quietly diminishes your success.

Publicly you will be a success, but privately your soul will distance itself from you.

When your soul distances itself from you, you become empty.

Cheating only cheapens you, not the person, you are cheating on. They are a gem.

When we destroy something around us we destroy ourselves. If we cheat another, we cheat ourselves. 

You are cheating on yourself, because in the long term, you will lose something precious and you will left with something worthless.

Cheating is throwing away a diamond and picking up a rock.

I is for Integrity: Just this once, no one will find out

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So you steal from your employer, because you say you want to start your business and then you expect your business to be a success.

Once you start your business like that, you started on a slippery foundation.

Integrity is not something that you switch on and off, depending on your circumstances.

The path is pretty clear: You choose between right and wrong.

The temptation is to always say, I will do wrong, just this once, besides no one will find out.

The problem with this “just this once, I will never get caught” approach is that yes, you are right, you might not get caught.

But no, you are wrong, “just this once” does not always end up being “just this once.”

Once you do it, “just this once,” you will in most likelihood do it again, and maybe you won’t get caught the second time.

If you have done once, nothing will stop you from doing it again, so you do it again, and again, the next thing you know, it is a habit, and at some point you will get caught because the truth always comes out.

A voice in our head says, “Look, I know that as a general rule, most people should not do this. But in this particular extenuating circumstance, just this once, it’s okay.”

You pay a bribe to the traffic cop, “just this once.”

You cook the books so that auditors don’t find out, “just this once.”

You take an idea from partner and pretend as if it’s yours, “just this once.”

You cheat, “just this once.”

You manipulate people to meet your selfish needs, “just this once.”

And the voice in our head seems to be right; the price of doing something wrong “just this once” usually appears very low.

It sucks you in, and you don’t see where that path is ultimately headed or the full cost that the choice entails.

Many of us have convinced ourselves that we are able to break our own personal rules “just this once.”

In our minds, we can justify these small choices.

None of those things, when they first happen, feels like a life-changing decision.

The marginal costs are almost always low.

But each of those decisions can roll up into a much bigger picture, turning you into the kind of person you never wanted to be.

Paying bribes ends up being your way to get out of every traffic misdemeanor.

You end up cooking books not only for auditors not to find out, but for your boss, the Board, shareholders not to find out too.

The temporary thrill of cheating, cutting corners, manipulating people becomes second nature to you because your conscience is used to being ignored.

When you overrule or ignore your conscience once, nothing stops you from do it again.

“Just this once,” doesn’t always end being “just this once.”

What starts as a small thing, usually has the potential to turn into something big.

What you get by compromise, you maintain by compromise.

A conscience is a moral compass, it should always point north.

Decide what you stand for. And then stand for it all the time.