Thursday 21 March 2013

Our Liberty and the power to choose.

One of our greatest gifts is our freedom to choose. When confronted with a choice, how then do we determine whether we are making the right decision? Instead of the stark contrast of victimisation or the blame game that is so common in our current world.

Moreover what is no good is the illogical or more impulsive approach of making or indeed any decision that you might be unaware that is right at the time and, dealing with or indeed unaware of, the consequences later. This is not dissimilar to living a world of instant gratification or an adolescent mentality world of, ‘I want something now’ without thinking of the consequences or putting one’s ego above sacrifice. ‘If I don’t take this chance now I’ll never get it regardless the circumstances.’ Perhaps a seriously individualistic approach of ‘I am free so I can do what I want and it is my right’ or this constant reoccurring ‘what is in it for me (or us)’ business mentality before any decision is made if any.
This approach has the imminent danger of killing our own freedom to choose in the future in that sub-consciously you pile on more burdens upon yourself than necessary. Our greatest gift then becomes an inconvenience with the sacrifice too great to bear. Taking responsibility will mean swimming against the current. Our needs become wants. We become vulnerable, stumble along, lose our inner strength, crave for those ‘comforts’ and eventually cave in by burying our heads in the sand. We are finally enslaved into the system and sadly potentially enslaving others into the fold or we simply become drawn in as spectators. Worst of all total negativity and fear can befall us. As Jean-Jacques Rousseau quite aptly remarked; ‘Man is born free and everywhere he is in chains.’ I suppose that is how the cookie crumbles; it will never change such is the nature of the beast.
This doom and gloom way of being can all be averted. I have learnt over the years that our decisions and choices we make in life can, not only self-determine us and our future as unique and formidable human beings but also it may create the possibility of reinventing oneself. This must be determined by our inner value system or our faith that comes out of our upbringing, our education, the environment we live in and most importantly unconditional love that we receive and are able to give. From thereon our possibilities in family life, in our natural talents and our career become limitless. Our inner burdens are lifted which then sets us free. Our guard from the misdemeanours of others is totally sealed and from there on our power to choose becomes almost effortless. Instead of a life of ‘trial and errors,’ it becomes a life of selfless trial and a peace of mind virtually void of errors. That is freedom. That is the challenge we are faced with. Is that not why we are here?

Wednesday 20 March 2013

Who can we trust?

A story that caught my interest of late was the story of Chris Huhne the UK ex-cabinet minister and his ex-wife Vicky Pryce both of whom suffered a spectacular fall from power and grace. It is a story of lies, deception and revenge.

One of his colleagues remarked whilst at the time of the affair of Chris Huhn had come to light. ‘What goes on in people’s private lives is a subject that fascinates the tabloid press but it is irrelevant to the job that they are trying to do’ Many people would share this opinion certainly here in Belgium or in France. These words must haunt that colleague now and clearly with regard to Chris’ ex-wife her revenge got the better of her.

This story seems to offer a real wake-up call which is all about our value system and moral code of conduct. The Judge acted impeccably in setting the right standards. People who hold positions of responsibility such as a politician, a doctor, a banker or even a Judge and amongst many others; our private life has everything to do with our public life in how we behave. Chris Huhne has proved to have very little integrity. He had not only violated a sacred trust with his wife but he had also lied in private and infront of the public. He held a leading position of authority, and of trust as a public official but in his private life he was leading a life of lies, deception, duplicity and manipulation. How can you trust individuals such as this to do the job at hand?  How can we believe people such as this to offer an opinion in important matters in our society? How can we depend on person’s such as these to act in the interest of the public?
There are many examples of this kind of duplicity which goes on in private and public that has gone on throughout the ages. Bill Clinton and the Monica Lewinsky affair; he happened to be very lucky to get away with it. His ‘sincere’ apology and asking for forgiveness was what likely saved him. Tiger Woods although he was less in a position of trust but more in a position as a role model for millions. Surely history has taught us that over the long haul who we are is far more important than who we appear to be; this would explain why there is often media interest in the conduct of persons who carry responsibility.

Enough with the politicians or even celebrities where clearly a lot more work needs to be done and let’s come back to the financial institutions where the word trust has over the years been battered to smithereens and where Time MCG focuses its core interest.

Barclays Bank newly defines integrity as follows: ‘Act in private as I do in public’ ‘show the courage to do and say the right thing’ ‘challenge things I believe to be wrong and be open to challenge from others.’ ‘Be accountable for failure as well as success and not allocate blame.’ This is a very articulate way in defining what integrity means. I define integrity as follows: To be true to yourself, honest, whole, and sound or consistency of character. You are integrated around principles and natural laws that ultimately govern the consequences of our behaviour. This would not only define character and but also maturity. As horrible it may sound to a 63 year old man but Chris Huhn's downfall is simply a lack of maturity.
What happens if you fail upon your own inner value system; in that there is a failure of personal character or in conduct for example, to yourself or toward another person in your professional life or at home? Well the first thing to do; is to own up, as oppose to cover up. You tell the truth and not lie regardless of the circumstances even if it may involve saving your career or even your family. As often the case the higher up the ladder you climb professionally the more frightening it may be; but it should not make one bit of difference as it still boils down to the same thing. Finally after owning up, generally you say sorry and you ask to be forgiven. Our human nature on one hand can fall to the bottom, but there is always a way back up again. Human nature on the other can be very forgiving.
The Eye can see everything except himself