The greatest need we have today, in every area, is for men and women to practice the values of integrity, discipline, responsibility, courage, and long time perspective, both as individuals and in their families. These are the key qualities of leadership.
Our society needs leaders at all levels who practice the principles that lead to long-term success. Especially, we need people in positions of authority and political power to support and encourage others, whose lives and work they influence, to develop character and resist the tendency to act expediently in ways that are harmful to themselves and others.
Everyone needs to take "The Values Pledge," to live by it, and then encourage others to live by it. It is only the solid bulwark of character, based on values, virtues, long-term thinking, and the accurate assessment of secondary consequences that can curb and mitigate the destructive influences and behavior of the Expediency Factor (the E-Factor)
Live In Truth
The philosopher Immanuel Kant postulated what he called "The Universal Maxim." He suggested that "you should live your life as though your every act were to become universal law for all people." The very best judge of truth for you is to ask, "Is it true for me?" If everyone was to be encouraged to live their life as though your every act were to become universal principle for all others, most government policies and programs would be abolished overnight. The fact is, that the only way that many "something for nothing" ideas in government and society can be put forward is with the hope that most people will not take advantage of them.
Think about it. What if everyone were to go on welfare? What if everyone were to apply for every government program that was available to them? What if everyone dedicated themselves to doing the very least amount of work that they could get away with? What if everyone began spending all their time trying to get free money from anywhere that it might be available?
Four Questions to Stay on Track
There are four questions that you can ask and answer every day to keep yourself on track in each part of your life. First, ask yourself; "What kind of a world would this be if everyone in it was just like me?"
When you ask and answer this question honestly, you will admit that if everyone in the world was just like you, this would probably not be the best of all possible worlds. Look inside yourself and think about some of the things that you could change or do differently to become a better "citizen of the world."
The second question you can ask is, "What kind of a country would America be, if everyone in it was just like me?"
This is perhaps the most important question that we can ask and answer for ourselves. If everyone in America did the same thing that you did, every single day, would America be better, happier, healthier, and a more prosperous democracy? If not, what are some of the changes that you could make in your behaviors that would make America a better place?
The third question you can ask is, "What kind of a company would my company be if everyone in it was just like me?"
If you are honest with yourself, you will see different things that you could do to become a more valuable and important contributor to your company. Perhaps you should start a little earlier, work a little harder or stay a little later. Perhaps you could volunteer for more assignments, or upgrade your knowledge and skills as they relate to your job. How could you become the very best person you could possibly become at your work?
The final question, and perhaps the more important, is, "What kind of family would my family be if everyone in it was just like me?"
If everyone in your family behaved the way you do, and treated everyone else the way you treat them, would your family be a warmer, happier, and more loving group of people? What could you do, starting today, to be a better family member?
Take the High Road
The true mark of the superior person is that he sets high standards for himself, and refuses to compromise those standards for any reason. He sees himself as a role model for others. He behaves at all times as if everyone was watching, even when no one is watching.
The truly superior person does not give into forces of expediency. He does not seek something for nothing. He refuses to take anything to which he is not entitled. He insists upon earning everything he gets. He practices the Golden Rule and treats everyone the way he would like to be treated himself. He sets high standards for himself and continually strives to meet those standards. If everyone in America were to take the pledge below, this would be a better country in every way.