T.S. Eliot said, “Half of the harm that is done in this world is due to people who want to feel important. They do not mean to do harm … they are absorbed in the endless struggle to think well of themselves.”
How do we feel important? Often, it’s by trying to obtain an image of success created by a culture that prizes getting ahead in terms of money and career. Think how much more integrity there would be if we understood how futile it is to pursue the empty vessel of prosperity.
In The Death of Ethics in America, Cal Thomas quotes a letter written to The Washington Post in the mid-1980s: “I’ve lived both lives, Yuppie and non-Yuppie,” the person wrote. “In the first, I was married to a professional woman, and on our dual incomes we Club Med-ed, sports car-raced, alpine-skied, and Kennedy-Centered our 14-year marriage into oblivion. I’m now 42, remarried to a woman who gave up her professional career to provide full-time care for our 1- and 5-year-old daughters, and living in Gaithersburg, Maryland — on one salary.
“Trips to Australia and Europe, Saturday night dining at Nathan’s, and Wolf Trap concerts are distant memories. Vacations are now taken in our nine-year-old used pop-up camper, and dining out means ‘Hooray! Daddy’s bringing home a pizza.’ We’ve just started into the second round of one hundred readings of Pat the Bunny for our 1-year-old. Satisfaction level in my first life measured about 2 on the 10 scale. Measured now, satisfaction is about 9.5.”
This is Michael Josephson reminding you that character counts.