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Los Angeles, CA, United States


Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Character Counts

Sometimes, it's easy to bend the rules.  I recently had a situation where I did that.  I wasn't doing anything wrong or harmful but I was knowingly doing something without full approval.  Without going into too much detail, I do some volunteer work.  Volunteering is an opportunity to give back to the community and allows me to hopefully make someone's day better as well as my own.  Anyway, I did what I had to do.  No harm no foul and the people I was working with were better for it.  But I couldn't help shake that feeling at guilt. 

Why? Because more than ever, the idea that character counts has more meaning in my life than ever before.  I know I can justify what I did as doing it for the greater good and the end justifies the means.  It's not like I broke the law or hurt anything or anyone.  I just didn't follow the rules to the letter of the law.  Consequently, the same opportunity came up yesterday to volunteer and this time I balked.  I didn't want to get in trouble and more importantly, I didn't want to set a bad example.  As a volunteer, I'm often put in a position of authority (just my luck).  And as they say, with great power comes great responsibility.  That's why I felt guilty.  So what do I do?  I go into my solution-oriented mode.  I start making phone calls in an attempt to get approval for my actions.  Unfortunately, I kept missing the person in charge.  Don't you just hate that?  I left a message and it was delivered but the person was between meetings and couldn't respond.  Consequently, I pleaded my case and explained that I'm needed to the person on the phone.  Fortunately, she was able to give conditional approval with certain limitations which will not hinder what I'm trying to accomplish.  Whew...I felt a whole lot better.

If this was 10 years ago, I think guilt would never crossed my mind.  I have always been goal oriented and my mindset was that the end justifies the means.  Damn the torpedoes!  Full steam ahead!! was my motto.  But now, it's a different ball game.  It's more stop, think about what I'm doing, then decide the next step.  Life has gotten shorter so decisions have to be made with care.  I need to be considerate of others while looking at the whole picture then making the best decision based on what's right at that moment.  Not what's right in the long run.  Sometimes decisions can have some negative ramifications and can bite one in the ass.  I think had I not gotten tacit approval, I would have simply stayed home.  Pushing the envelope was always easier the toeing the line.  It was my nature.  Amazingly as I get older, I find myself adhering to the rules more often because it's the right thing to do.  It's the sentiment that I must stand on my rock. So as revel in my middle age,   I guess it's my take on that t-shirt with a twist-Old Guy's Rules. 

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