Thursday, 15 March 2018

Moral Compass

I recently finished the book 'Mightier than the Sword' by Jeffrey Archer. This book is the 5th in series of the Clifton Chronicles. Jeffrey Archer is one of my ALL time favorite authors, a master storyteller who consistently spins magic. This book once again, was a masterpiece and true to Archer's style of writing- complex, fast-paced, utterly thrilling- from a foiled IRA bombing to underhand boardroom takeovers to Russian prisons to betrayals to complicated love, both unattainable and unrequited.

Two dialogues in this book stood out for me and left an indelible impression on me. One was when Sebastian Clifton asks Samantha's father for his blessing to marry his daughter.
'Does that mean I've your blessing'? asks Sebastian Clifton.
'It most certainly does. But never forget that Samantha sets standards, like your mother, that the rest of us mortals find hard to live with, unless, like your father, they're guided by the same moral compass' said Mr. Sullivan.
Another time, when Sebastian goes undercover into investigating a shady deal by one of the directors, he meets an old man who has a wealth of insider information on this deal but was reluctant to divulge this. When he learnt that Sebastian was Harry Clifton's son, he said 'That's good enough for me'.
Later on, when Sebastian recounts what happened to his mentor, Cedric, Cedric asks Sebastian 'What's the one thing you learnt today'?
Sebastian replies 'The importance of Reputation'.
It reminded me of my father's words. This is something he tells us regularly even to this day. Reputation can get things done for you, doors opened for you by people who don't HAVE to do it for you, but WANT to do it for you.
A good reputation takes many encounters and sometimes years to build, but it takes mere seconds to be destroyed. Reputation stands on the 3 pillars of trust, credibility and likeability. Once someone has lost their trust in you, it's very difficult, almost impossible to get it back. Of course, all of us as human beings, make mistakes from time to time but the tolerance for mistakes can depend hugely on the 'Moral Compass' of the other person.
As I'm flying through life and becoming older (and wiser hopefully), I'm realizing a life truth. I think that when two people are in a 'relationship'- this could be anything from personal, business, work, familial- the moral compass and core values of both the parties has to be aligned precisely to the same latitude.
If one person's compass differs from the other, then eventually it's going to put a strain on the relationship and it's not sustainable to keep it up and the two people start drifting away.
If you look deeper into most of your happiest and most fulfilling relationships, it's those with people that are exactly aligned to your core values.
So surround yourself with people that are aligned exactly to your own moral compass and invest hugely in those relationships. It is also wise to invest hugely into relationships with people whose moral compass is higher than yours, as this will strive to make you a better person.
But do not waste any more time investing on relationships that have a lower moral compass than yours, as ultimately you will be let down.
If you find yourself someone, anyone, from the entire gamut of relationships, who is making you a better person, where you actually care what they think of you, then hold them tight and do not let them go and do not give up on that relationship. You will be a better and happier person just being around them!

Image Courtesy: Times Free Press