I believe that constant vigilance and awareness of the pitfalls of pride, ignorance, greed and fear is the key to success. This is because avoiding major pitfalls greatly lessens the chance of making an inevitable small problem into a really big one.
Benjamin Franklin once said “In this world nothing is certain but death and taxes.” Since death is inevitable, I think the basic measure of success is living. But just “living” without seeking a productive life with all pleasures and opportunities this world has to offer, would be regrettable! So with my basic philosophical doctrine which serves as a moral compass, I’ve sought and survived various little adventures here in the USA and in various parts of the world that others might consider somewhat extraordinary.
My belief of constant vigilance and awareness of the pitfalls was codified from various life experiences, and from the basic truism that when one ponders the potential dangers from various points of view, then one is better equipped to avoid those pitfalls in the first place and is less likely to dig the hole deeper when an unexpected event does occur.
On the personal level, recognizing and avoiding the human pitfalls of pride, ignorance, greed and fear does not prevent an individual from achieving some lofty goal. Rather this simple management philosophy serves to improve ones chances of success and serves as a reality check to see if one’s goal is achievable, sustainable or survivable. No matter if that goal is obtaining a degree from the right school, working and saving for a home or fancy car that shows your friends and family of your financial accomplishments, starting a business or literally climbing a mountain peak in some far off land.
A side benefit to this philosophy other than really lessens the chance of making a small mistake into a really big one, is its also a method that dodges unnecessary wrenching emotional turmoil.
In this election year, we as a nation are worried about the economy because of the “subprime” crisis and also are divided on what to do with our military troops in Iraq. Sadly, these self inflicted wounds, could have been avoided if political and business leaders, along with the general public invoked the simple management philosophy of recognizing pride, ignorance, greed and fear do exist and should be addressed head on, when a problem or mistake is small and manageable.
If you enjoyed this essay, please consider making a tax-deductible contribution to This I Believe, Inc.