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Michael Josephson of Character Counts

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Re: Michael Josephson of Character Counts

Post  Admin on Thu 09 Jun 2016, 9:20 pm

. Sharpen Your Ax

By Michael Josephson of CHARACTER COUNTS (937.4) 

Ben was a new lumberjack who swung his ax with great
power. He could fell a tree in 20 strokes, and in the
first few days he produced twice as much lumber as
anyone else. By week's end, he was working even harder,
but his lead was dwindling.

One friend told him he had to swing harder. Another
said he had to work longer. Neither idea worked.
Finally, an old fellow asked Ben how often he sharpened
his ax. Ben said he had no time; there was too much to
do.

The lesson of this parable contains the remedy to
ineffectiveness in today's workplace.

Dedicated executives may work enormous hours not
realizing how much their failure to sharpen their ax by
taking time off reduces their effectiveness. As one
exceeds the limits of intellectual and physical
stamina, both the quantity and quality of work suffer.
Fatigue affects judgment and mental acuity, and soon
the time and energy needed to fix errors offsets the
extra time devoted to the task.

Organizations fail to sharpen their ax when they give
short shrift to screening job applicants and training
new hires. Burdened with heavy workloads, managers
consumed by a sense of urgency to fill open positions
succumb to the "warm body" fallacy--the false idea that
anyone is better than no one.

You need three things in a good employee: competence,
commitment, and character. Shortcomings in any area
will be costly, consuming time and resources and
damaging morale. Sharpening your ax in this setting
means being more diligent in background checks, more
selective in hiring, more serious in training, and more
demanding during probation.

Without the right tools, hard work isn't enough.

For Commentaries go to:
http://whatwillmatter.com/category/commentary/

This is Michael Josephson reminding you that character
counts. 

(c) 2016 Josephson Institute of Ethics; reprinted with
permission. Michael Josephson, one of the nation's
leading ethicists, is the founder of the Josephson
Institute of Ethics and the premier youth character
education program, CHARACTER COUNTS! For further
information visit www.charactercounts.org
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Re: Michael Josephson of Character Counts

Post  Admin on Tue 31 May 2016, 12:32 pm

Two Kinds of Courage 

  By Michael Josephson of CHARACTER COUNTS (954.4) 

Mignon McLaughlin tells us, "People are made of flesh
and blood and a miracle fiber called courage."

Courage comes in two forms: physical courage and moral
courage. Physical courage is demonstrated by acts of
bravery where personal harm is risked to protect others
or preserve cherished principles. It's the kind of
courage that wins medals and monuments.Moral courage
may seem less grand but it is more important because
it's needed more often.

Moral courage is the engine of integrity. It is our
inner voice that coaxes, prods, and inspires us to meet
our responsibilities and live up to our principles when
doing so may cost us dearly.

It takes moral courage to be honest at the risk of
ridicule, rejection, or retaliation, or when doing so
may jeopardize our income or career. It takes courage
to own up to our mistakes when doing so may get us in
trouble or thwart our ambitions. It even takes courage
to stand tough with our kids when doing so may cost us
their affection.

Like a personal coach, moral courage pushes and prods
us to be our best selves. It urges us to get up when
we'd rather stay in bed, go to work when we'd rather go
fishing, tell the truth when a lie would make our life
so much easier, keep a costly promise and put the
interest of others above our own.

The voice of moral courage is also our critical
companion during troubling times; it provides us with
the strength to cope with and overcome adversity and
persevere when we want to quit or just rest.

At unexpected and unwelcome times, we all will be
forced to deal with the loss of loved ones, personal
illnesses and injuries, betrayed friendships, and
personal failures. These are the trials and
tribulations of a normal life, but, without moral
courage, they can rob us of the will and confidence to
find new roads to happiness and fulfillment

Moral courage is essential not only for a virtuous
life, but a happy one. Without courage, our fears and
failures confine us like a barbed wire fence.

The voice of moral courage is always there, but
sometimes it is drowned out by the drumbeat of our
fears and doubts. We need to learn to listen for the
voice. The more we call on it and listen to it and
trust it, the stronger it becomes. 

For Commentaries go to:
http://whatwillmatter.com/category/commentary/

This is Michael Josephson reminding you that character
counts. 

(c) 2016 Josephson Institute of Ethics; reprinted with
permission. Michael Josephson, one of the nation's
leading ethicists, is the founder of the Josephson
Institute of Ethics and the premier youth character
education program, CHARACTER COUNTS! For further
information visit www.charactercounts.org

If It's Broke, Try to Fix It
  by Michael Josephson of Character Counts (344:2)

Former president Jimmy Carter was 70 years old when he
wrote this poem about his father:

  This is a pain I mostly hide,
  But ties of blood, or seed endure,
  And even now I feel inside
  The hunger for his outstretched hand,
  A man's embrace to take me in,
  The need for just a word of praise.

Isn't it extraordinary that even after a life of
monumental achievements, Mr. Carter still feels pain
when he thinks of his father, who either could not feel
or would not express love and approval. Unfortunately,
there are lots of people in Mr. Carter's shoes, left
with bitter feelings and enduring wounds inflicted by
their parents.

Yet not all bad parents are bad people. Caring parents
can unintentionally injure children through excessive
harshness or permissiveness or through well-intended
criticism and advice that comes out as relentless
disapproval or oppressive negativity. Kids not only
need to know they're loved, they need to feel worthy of
our love. They need to be valued not simply because
they're ours, but because of who they are.

* It's never too late to try to fix whatever is broken:
* Consider expressing caring, pride and approval more
  lavishly and often.
* Be less critical, more helpful, less controlling.
* Set aside your need to be right. Be less
  self-righteous and more respectful 
  toward the people you love.
* Be sincerely accountable and genuinely apologize,
  even if whatever you do may not be enough.

It's not always possible to fix things that are broken,
but it's worth a try.

This is Michael Josephson reminding you that character
counts.

(c) 2005 Josephson Institute of Ethics; reprinted with
permission. Michael Josephson, one of the nation's
leading ethicists, is the founder of the Josephson
Institute of Ethics and the premier youth character
education program, CHARACTER COUNTS! For further
information visit www.charactercounts.org
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Re: Michael Josephson of Character Counts

Post  Admin on Sun 15 May 2016, 2:25 pm

Why Martin Luther King Is a Hero

  By Michael Josephson of CHARACTER COUNTS (863.2) 

The dictionary defines a hero as "a person noted for
feats of courage or nobility of purpose, especially one
who has risked or sacrificed his or her life." A
"personal hero" is someone you or I hold in especially
high esteem. For me, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., is
both a national and personal hero.

I have no illusions that he was a flawless man. I
simply have the conviction that his virtues far
outweighed his faults and that this nation is a better
place because of him.

When I read his speeches and weigh them in the context
of his times, and consider his ability and courage to
pursue his aggressive, but nonviolent, humanitarian
principles, despite enormous pressures from those who
thought he was going too far, as well as those who
thought he wasn't going far enough, I conclude that he
was an extraordinarily inspirational leader with
uncommon vision and strength.

Dr. King didn't simply talk about his dreams; he went
to the battle lines time and time again to fight for
them. Before he was finally murdered at the age of 39,
his home had been bombed and he knew he put his life at
risk continuously to advocate social justice, human
dignity, and an end to racism and bigotry.

We have not yet fully reached Dr. King's Promised Land,
where all people will be judged by the content of their
character, but we are certainly closer to it because of
him. 

For Commentaries go to:
http://whatwillmatter.com/category/commentary/ 

This is Michael Josephson reminding you that character
counts. 

(c) 2016 Josephson Institute of Ethics; reprinted with
permission. Michael Josephson, one of the nation's
leading ethicists, is the founder of the Josephson
Institute of Ethics and the premier youth character
education program, CHARACTER COUNTS! For further
information visit www.charactercounts.org.

Granddaddy's Gift

By Michael Josephson in Character Counts (433.1)

Years ago a Southern woman was in one of my workshops.
When asked to tell a story that impacted her character,
she described an incident when she was only five. She
was at her grandfather's house all dressed up in a
white dress with a crinoline and new gloves, proud as
she could be. 

Her granddaddy told her she could go into the kitchen
and get herself a special cookie. Next to the cookies
was a stack of quarters. Sure that no one was looking,
she took a quarter. 

When she returned with her cookie, her granddaddy asked
her to show him her gloves. She held out only her left
hand and he said, "Show me the other hand." When she
reluctantly did so and revealed the quarter, she
immediately saw disappointment in her grandpa's eyes.
He paused a moment and then he "hugged me up" and said,
"Darlin', you can have anything in the world that I
have, but it breaks my heart that you would ever steal
it." Some 50 years later, this story of how her
granddaddy gave her the gift of conscience still
brought tears to her eyes.

Few things have as large an impact on shaping the
values of a child as the sting of lovingly administered
shame. It helps define right from wrong and gives a
powerful emotional dimension to issues of ethics and
character. 

Kids, and adults for that matter, learn from their
mistakes. Parents, teachers and coworkers can hold
others accountable and remind them of their moral
obligations without humiliating or condemning them.

What we can't do is just let it go, unless we want to
send the message that it's OK. What we allow we
encourage and we should never encourage anything other
than moral excellence. 

This is Michael Josephson reminding you that character
counts.

(c) 2016 Josephson Institute of Ethics; reprinted with
permission. Michael Josephson, one of the nation's
leading ethicists, is the founder of the Josephson
Institute of Ethics and the premier youth character
education program, CHARACTER COUNTS! For further
information visit www.charactercounts.org

Advice About Teens 

  By Michael Josephson of CHARACTER COUNTS (941.2) 

Here are three suggestions for the parents of young
teens, all learned through my own mistakes:

First, remember, with emerging demands for
independence, worries about peer acceptance, pressures
of school and extra-curricular activities and a
continuous search for self-identity, adolescents are on
a physical and emotional roller coaster. Like every
generation before them (including yours), young teens
are often arrogant and over-confident about their
knowledge and your ignorance, and deeply insecure about
most other things. They will make mistakes, behave
badly and be thoroughly self-absorbed. Though they want
you to be less involved in their lives, they actually
need you more. And despite continuous battles, if
you're open, you will experience glorious moments both
of you will cherish all your lives.

Second, be firm but choose your battles carefully.
Don't back down when you are dealing with an important
principle but don't make every issue a hill you're
willing to die on. Be willing to lose occasionally and
even give in graciously.

Third, don't belittle or underestimate the importance
of their feelings. It may seem like they are
over-reacting, but teens feel emotions like
embarrassment, loneliness, insecurity, frustration and
love truly and intensely. It's horribly disrespectful
to minimize or discount these feelings with useless
advice like, "you'll get over it," or "everyone feels
that way." Nor is it helpful to dismiss or invalidate
an emotion by saying, "You shouldn't feel that way."

Teens can be hard to love, but be patient. Soon they
will be the parents of your grandchildren. 

For Commentaries go to:
http://whatwillmatter.com/category/commentary 

This is Michael Josephson reminding you that character
counts. 

(c) 2016 Josephson Institute of Ethics; reprinted with
permission. Michael Josephson, one of the nation's
leading ethicists, is the founder of the Josephson
Institute of Ethics and the premier youth character
education program, CHARACTER COUNTS! For further
information visit www.charactercounts.org
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Re: Michael Josephson of Character Counts

Post  Admin on Sat 30 Apr 2016, 6:05 pm

Appreciating Appreciation

  By Michael Josephson of CHARACTER COUNTS (927.5) 

There's a song called "Thank God for Dirty Dishes" that
makes the point that if you're lucky to have enough
food to make dirty dishes, you should be grateful.

So instead of grousing about your property taxes, be
thankful you own property. When you have to wait in
line at the bank or are stuck in traffic, just be
grateful you have money in the bank and a car to drive.

It makes sense, but that doesn't make it easy.

I have to admit that appreciation has not been a
natural attribute for me. In my more ambitious days
when I believed that excess was not enough, gratitude
seemed like a form of surrender and a very poor life
strategy. After all, if you're satisfied with the way
things are, you'll never make them better.

What a pity I had to reach my 50s before I began to
appreciate appreciation. I finally began to see that it
was irresponsible and irreverent not to realize how
many things I should feel grateful for. I also came to
realize how good it feels to acknowledge how good I
have it.

Real gratitude is much more than politeness, like
saying thank you when someone passes the salt or
conveys good wishes; it's a deeper psychological state
of genuine thankfulness.

Whether we believe whatever good fortune we have is the
product of our own labor and talents, random luck, or a
gift from God, the fact remains that each of us could
spend a full day identifying all the things that merit
gratitude.

According to an old proverb, "If you never learn the
language of gratitude, you'll never be on speaking
terms with happiness."

I'm still a beginner, but it's true; the more I
appreciate, the happier I am. That's a lesson I want my
children to learn.

This is Michael Josephson reminding you that character
counts. 

For Commentaries go to:
http://whatwillmatter.com/category/commentary/ 

© 2016 Josephson Institute of Ethics; reprinted with
permission. Michael Josephson, one of the nation's
leading ethicists, is the founder of the Josephson
Institute of Ethics and the premier youth character
education program, CHARACTER COUNTS! For further
information visit www.charactercounts.org
avatar
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Re: Michael Josephson of Character Counts

Post  Admin on Thu 21 Apr 2016, 5:31 pm

Good Decisions Start with a Stop

  By Michael Josephson of CHARACTER COUNTS (948.5) 

More often than we like, most of us face choices that
can have serious and lasting impact on our lives. Do we
go along with the crowd? Do we tell someone off, quit a
job, or end a relationship? Unfortunately, these
decisions are not preceded by a drum roll warning us
that the stakes are high. Even worse, we often don't
have a lot of time to figure out what to do.

It's no surprise that most bad decisions--the ones that
mess up our lives--are made impulsively or without
sufficient reflection.

Ancient proverbs tell us to "count to ten when you're
angry" or "think ahead." But anger and lack of
preplanning are only two factors that can impede
excellent decision making. Fatigue, fear, frustration,
stress, impatience, and emotions also create obstacles
to wise choices.

Just as we learned to look both ways before we cross
the street, we can learn to analyze every important
decision-making situation to allow us to arrive at
conclusions that are both effective and ethical.

Each decision, therefore, should start with a stop--a
forced moment of reflection to help us clarify our
goal, evaluate the completeness and credibility of our
information, and devise an alternate strategy, if
necessary, to achieve the best possible result.
Stopping also allows us to muster our moral willpower
to overcome temptations and emotions that could lead to
a rash, foolish, or ill-considered decision.

While it's great to have a day or two to sleep on a
problem, or even a few hours, many situations don't
afford us that luxury. But a pause of even a few
seconds can often be enough.

For Commentaries go to:
http://whatwillmatter.com/category/commentary/ 

This is Michael Josephson reminding you that character
counts. 

© 2016 Josephson Institute of Ethics; reprinted with
permission. Michael Josephson, one of the nation's
leading ethicists, is the founder of the Josephson
Institute of Ethics and the premier youth character
education program, CHARACTER COUNTS! For further
information visit www.charactercounts.org
avatar
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Re: Michael Josephson of Character Counts

Post  Admin on Wed 06 Apr 2016, 2:00 pm

The Best Dad

  By Michael Josephson of CHARACTER COUNTS (941.4) 

Years ago I heard a story of a dad named Paul who gave
his young son a small chalkboard to practice writing
on. One evening his son called out from the bedroom,
"Dad, how do you spell best?"

Paul answered him. Moments later, the boy hollered,
"How do you spell kid?"

Finally he asked, "How do you spell ever?"

When the boy showed him what he'd written on the
chalkboard, Paul expected to see "I'm the best kid
ever." Instead, the boy beamed as Paul read the
message: "You're the best dad a kid can ever have."

Paul recalled that it was one of the best days of his
life. In fact, he had to buy his son another chalkboard
because he wanted to save this message forever and hang
it on his wall. It's still there.

Feeling appreciated is enormously important to adults
as well as children. So much so that we often don't
think enough about what we'd most like to be
appreciated for.

Being appreciated at work is a big deal. Who doesn't
want approval and respect from one's boss and
coworkers? Beyond the economic value of raises,
promotions, and commendations, praise can be gratifying
and motivating. That's why good employers look for
opportunities to acknowledge and thank employees for
their contributions.

Yet as meaningful as work recognition is, if you could
choose between winning your child's "Best Mom/Dad a Kid
Can Ever Have" award and being named "Best Employee,"
which would you choose?

The point is not to belittle the pursuit of approval in
your business life but to remind you how much more
meaningful it is to know you're important to and
appreciated by the people who love and need you the
most. Your most important job in life is to be worthy
of that appreciation.

Being the "best ever" mom or dad, husband or wife, or
friend--it doesn't get any better than that. 

For Commentaries go to:
http://whatwillmatter.com/category/commentary/ 

This is Michael Josephson reminding you that character
counts. 

(c) 2016 Josephson Institute of Ethics; reprinted with
permission. Michael Josephson, one of the nation's
leading ethicists, is the founder of the Josephson
Institute of Ethics and the premier youth character
education program, CHARACTER COUNTS! For further
information visit www.charactercounts.org
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Re: Michael Josephson of Character Counts

Post  Admin on Sat 19 Mar 2016, 10:39 pm

. The Best Is Yet to Come but Only if You Believe It 

  By Michael Josephson of CHARACTER COUNTS (941.5) 

If you are having a bad day ... or week ... or month
... have a serious talk with yourself and decide what
it will take to move on. 

Preoccupation with your problems, no matter how
serious, compounds them and imprisons you in a dark
dungeon. There is no lock on the dungeon you just have
to muster the will and optimism to walk out and make a
reality of the phrase: "The best is yet to come." 

Being positive and optimistic doesn't make your
problems go away but it opens up your life to
experiences beyond your problems. Tell yourself "the
best is yet to come" every day. While at first it will
seem like a hollow mantra, if you begin to think of it
as a life strategy it will become so. And if you can't
quite reach the "best", you most certainly will get to
better. And that's a very good thing.

For Commentaries go to:
http://whatwillmatter.com/category/commentary/

This is Michael Josephson reminding you that character
counts. 

(c) 2016 Josephson Institute of Ethics; reprinted with
permission. Michael Josephson, one of the nation's
leading ethicists, is the founder of the Josephson
Institute of Ethics and the premier youth character
education program, CHARACTER COUNTS! For further
information visit www.charactercounts.org
avatar
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Re: Michael Josephson of Character Counts

Post  Admin on Fri 18 Mar 2016, 11:26 pm

Four Exceptional Insights I Wish I Understood 
    Long Ago

By Michael Josephson of CHARACTER COUNTS (942.4) 

1). The art of acceptance is the art of making someone
who has just done you a small favor wish that he might
have done you a greater one. Russell Lynes. 

2). People won't remember everything you say or do but
they always remember how you made them feel.- Maya
Angelou

3). Feeling grateful and not expressing it is like
buying a present, wrapping it and not giving it.

4). Kindness will do more to improve your life than
cleverness.

For Commentaries go to:
http://whatwillmatter.com/category/commentary/

This is Michael Josephson reminding you that character
counts. 

© 2016 Josephson Institute of Ethics; reprinted with
permission. Michael Josephson, one of the nation's
leading ethicists, is the founder of the Josephson
Institute of Ethics and the premier youth character
education program, CHARACTER COUNTS! For further
information visit www.charactercounts.org
avatar
Admin
Admin

Posts : 46973
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Re: Michael Josephson of Character Counts

Post  Admin on Sun 28 Feb 2016, 10:56 pm

Making Lives

  by Michael Josephson of CHARACTER COUNTS (933.1) 

A few years ago I came across a video by a very dynamic
speaker, a former middle school teacher named Taylor
Mali. He is now what's called a performance
poet--someone who delivers poetry as singers deliver
songs. The poem that caught my attention was "What Do I
Make?" an articulate and aggressive response to a
critic who was putting down teachers. Mr. Mali's
insights inspired me, and with Mr. Mali's permission I
built on the platform of his ideas and concept in my
own version I call "Making Lives":

Making Lives

The topic of education came up and a successful
business executive said, "The problem with our
education system starts with teachers. What can we
expect from people who think teaching is the best way
to make a living? Those who can, do. Those who can't,
teach." A guest protested, "I've been a teacher for 20
years, and that's simplistic and unfair." "Really?" the
executive said. "Then be honest, what do you make?" "I
suppose you're thinking of money," the teacher replied.
"I earn enough, but let me tell you what I make.

"I make children read, think, write, wonder, and talk
about important things--such as the world and their
role in it.

"I make them appreciate the value of education so they
will become interested and interesting lifelong
learners able to find out whatever they want to know.

"I make them try things they think they can't do, work
harder than they want to and accomplish more than they
thought possible and, whenever they do their best, I
make them feel proud, capable and worthy.

"I encourage them to be skeptical without being
cynical, and to be optimistic without being naïve.

"I make them understand that the quality of their life
will be determined by their choices, and I make them
take responsibility for their actions.

"I make them appreciate the importance of integrity and
honor in a world that too often shows little regard for
either.

"I make them respect themselves and treat others with
respect.

"I make them feel proud and grateful to live in America
where people are entitled to be treated fairly and with
respect and judged by their accomplishments and
character, not by their color, creed, or the size of
their bank account.

"Most of all, I make a difference.

"I don't just make a living, I make lives."

To see Mr. Mali's original version and other poems and
works, visit http://www.taylormali.com. 

For Commentaries go to:
http://whatwillmatter.com/category/commentary/

This is Michael Josephson reminding you that character
counts. 

© 2016 Josephson Institute of Ethics; reprinted with
permission. Michael Josephson, one of the nation's
leading ethicists, is the founder of the Josephson
Institute of Ethics and the premier youth character
education program, CHARACTER COUNTS! For further
information visit www.charactercounts.org
avatar
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Re: Michael Josephson of Character Counts

Post  Admin on Fri 26 Feb 2016, 9:28 pm

A Person of Character

  By Michael Josephson of CHARACTER COUNTS (937.5)

Let's face it, it's not easy to become a person of
character. It takes a good heart, but it also requires
wisdom to know right from wrong and the discipline to
do right even when it's costly, inconvenient or
difficult.

Becoming a person of character is a lifelong quest to
be better.

A person of character values honesty and integrity and
pays whatever price is needed to be worthy of trust,
earning the pride of family and friends and
self-respect.

A person of character plays fair even when others don't
and values no achievement unless it was attained with
honor.

A person of character has strong convictions, yet
avoids self-righteousness.

A person of character believes in the inherent dignity
of all people and treats everyone with respect, even
those whose ideas and ideologies evoke strong
disagreement.

A person of character deals with criticism
constructively and is self-confident enough to take
good advice, admit and learn from mistakes, feel and
express genuine remorse and apologize graciously.

A person of character knows what's important,
sacrifices the now for later, is in control of
attitudes and actions, overcomes negative impulses and
makes the best of every situation.

A person of character willingly faces fears and tackles
unpleasant tasks.

A person of character is consistently and
self-consciously kind and empathetic, giving generously
without concern for reward.

A person of character feels and expresses gratitude
freely and frequently.

A person of character is not defeated by failure or
dissuaded by disappointment.

A person of character seeks true happiness in living a
life of purpose and meaning, placing a higher value on
significance than success.

  This is Michael Josephson reminding you that 
  character counts

  © 2016 Josephson Institute of Ethics; reprinted with 
  permission. Michael Josephson, one of the nation's 
  leading ethicists, is the founder of the Josephson 
  Institute of Ethics and the premier youth 
  character education program, CHARACTER COUNTS! 
  For further information visit 
  www.charactercounts.org.

The Greyhound Principle

  By Michael Josephson of CHARACTER COUNTS (939.5) 

Racing dogs are trained to chase a mechanical rabbit
that always goes a little faster than the fleetest dog.
This causes them to run faster than they otherwise
would.

Companies that annually set overly ambitious
performance objectives for their employees employ this
greyhound principle. To a point, it works. Most people
achieve more when expectations are set high.

The strategy turns negative, however, when firms
chasing Wall Street's rabbit continually set
"no-excuses" double-digit growth goals without regard
to market realities (including multiple competitors
driving toward the same goals) or systemic
understaffing (part of the "do more with less"
philosophy). Consequently, many corporate leaders are
caught up in a ceaseless upward spiral of stress.

Yes, the financial rewards for such success are ample,
but the driving motivation is usually not greed and
certainly not job satisfaction--it's fear. This can
often morph into desperation, a dangerous mindset that
can spawn imprudent short-term decisions and outright
cheating.

It's unwise and unethical to ignore the business and
moral implications of aggressive growth strategies that
put executives under unprecedented, unrelenting, and
unreasonable pressure.

On one level, it's a matter of values. Work-life
balance should be more than a rhetorical ideal. A good
company cares about its people. The path to career
success shouldn't be littered with the ruins of failed
marriages and neglected children.

On another level, it's long-term self-interest. Without
an abundant and replenishing pool of talented and
committed leaders, no company will succeed for long.
The organizations that will pull away in the next
decades are those that can attract and retain the best
talent because they're places where those people want
to work--and that will take a lot more than money.

This is Michael Josephson reminding you that character
counts.

For Commentaries go to:
http://whatwillmatter.com/category/commentary/ 

© 2016 Josephson Institute of Ethics; reprinted with
permission. Michael Josephson, one of the nation's
leading ethicists, is the founder of the Josephson
Institute of Ethics and the premier youth character
education program, CHARACTER COUNTS! For further
information visit www.charactercounts.org
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Re: Michael Josephson of Character Counts

Post  Admin on Mon 08 Feb 2016, 11:25 pm

By Michael Josehpson of Character Counts 431.1

After a workshop, Paul (that's not his real name) said
that he still has 10-year-old scars from the time he
quit a good job rather than lie. When his boss asked
him to issue a press release containing patently false
statements, he refused, putting his employee badge on
the table. 

His boss calmly handed the badge back to him, saying,
"Think this over. Why throw away a good job and a
promising career?" 

Paul walked out so frustrated and frightened he had to
find a private place to cry. What's worse, he said that
his act of moral courage was a meaningless waste.
Someone else issued the press release and his boss's
career flourished. "It took me years to find a job as
good as that one and my family suffered," he added. "So
what good did my integrity do for anyone?" 

Paul was looking for validation of his principled
stance in the wrong places. We exercise integrity not
to get what we want, but to be what we want. Integrity
is not essentially about winning; it's about staying
whole and being worthy of self-respect and the esteem
of loved ones. It's about being honorable, not as a
success strategy, but a life choice. Though Paul
suffered for a time because of his moral courage, he
would have suffered far worse had he betrayed his own
values. 

While he didn't appreciate it, Paul preserved for
himself and his family something far more valuable than
his job--his honor. And it's no accident that he now
has a better job with no pressures to cheat or lie. 

  For Commentaries go to: 
  http://whatwillmatter.com/category/commentary/ 
  This is Michael Josephson reminding you that
  character counts. 

© 2006 Josephson Institute of Ethics; reprinted with
permission. Michael Josephson, one of the nation's
leading ethicists, is the founder of the Josephson
Institute of Ethics and the premier youth character
education program, CHARACTER COUNTS! For further
information visit www.charactercounts.org.

Shopping Carts and Rationalizations

  By Michael Josephson of Character Counts (432.5)

When we think about character we tend to think about
really big things, like taking heavy risks or
performing bold acts of integrity or grand acts of
generosity or self-sacrifice. These sorts of noble
choices do indicate character, but for the most part
our character is revealed in much smaller events, like
apologizing when we're wrong, giving to causes we
believe in, being honest when it's simply
embarrassing--and returning our shopping carts.

One of my favorite stories is about a father who asked
his son to return a cart they had just used. The son
protested, "C'mon, Dad! There are carts all over. No
one returns them. That's why they hire people to
collect them."

After a short argument, Mom chimed in, "For heaven's
sake, it's no big deal. Let's go."

Dad was about to surrender when he saw an elderly
couple walking together to return their cart. After a
moment he said, "Son, there are two kinds of people in
this world: those who put their carts away and those
who don't. We are the kind that returns their shopping
cart. Now go return the cart."

Obviously, this story is about more than grocery carts.
It's about doing the right thing in a world that
promotes rationalizations and excuses, and demeans or
trivializes simple acts of virtue. I suppose another
way of putting it is: There are two kinds of people:
Those who have the character to do what they ought to
do and those who find reasons not to.

People of character do the right thing even if no one
else does, not because they think it will change the
world, but because they refuse to be changed by the
world. 

For Commentaries go to:
http://whatwillmatter.com/category/commentary/ 

This is Michael Josephson reminding you that character
counts. 

© 2006 Josephson Institute of Ethics; reprinted with
permission. Michael Josephson, one of the nation's
leading ethicists, is the founder of the Josephson
Institute of Ethics and the premier youth character
education program, CHARACTER COUNTS! For further
information visit www.charactercounts.org.
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Re: Michael Josephson of Character Counts

Post  Admin on Thu 21 Jan 2016, 8:28 pm

Moving Beyond Success to Significance 

  by Michael Josephson of CHARACTER COUNTS (428.1) 

Most people I know strive for success. For some it's
achieving high position, for others it's wealth, and
for still others it's achieving some long-held goal. As
the final definition of success is personal, success
may be no more than "getting what you want." 

Success can be sweet or disappointing; durable or
short-lived. But either way, it's not an adequate
destination. Management guru Peter Drucker writes about
the need of many highly successful people to move
beyond their success to "significance." 

Success is about achievements; significance is about
impact. Significance is having a meaningful positive
and durable impact on the lives of others. 

According to legend, Alfred Nobel discovered the
difference when he read his own obituary mistakenly
printed by a newspaper that thought he had died. It was
a flattering profile of the brilliant chemist who made
a fortune as the inventor of dynamite, but it depressed
Mr. Nobel, who felt certain that these achievements
would not be long remembered. Determined to leave a
more significant legacy, he established the Nobel
Prizes for human achievements. 

Mr. Nobel realized that there's a kind of immortality
in significance. Sure, a life devoted to accomplishing
personal goals can be worthy and satisfying, but it can
be enormously enriched when we consciously use our
talents and time to improve the lives of others. 

In "Living a Life That Matters," Harold Kushner writes,
"Our souls are not hungry for fame, comfort, wealth or
power. Our souls are hungry for meaning, for the sense
that we have figured out how to live so that our lives
matter, so that the world will be at least a little bit
different for our having passed through it."

For Commentaries go to:
http://whatwillmatter.com/category/commentary/ 

This is Michael Josephson reminding you that character
counts. 

© 2016 Josephson Institute of Ethics; reprinted with
permission. Michael Josephson, one of the nation's
leading ethicists, is the founder of the Josephson
Institute of Ethics and the premier youth character
education program, CHARACTER COUNTS! For further
information visit www.charactercounts.org.
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Re: Michael Josephson of Character Counts

Post  Admin on Tue 05 Jan 2016, 2:52 pm

Noah's Term Paper 

  By Michael Josephson of CHARACTER COUNTS (934.3) 

Noah really needed an 'A' on a term paper. His friend
Jason tells him that lots of kids "recycle" papers they
don't write and offers to give him a paper his older
brother got an 'A' on three years ago. When Noah asked
his for advice, his father hoped his son wouldn't cheat
but he didn't want to be judgmental so he said, "Son,
it's your life, I can't tell you what you should do.
It's a personal decision."

I think that's shabby parenting. Noah's dad declined to
provide moral guidance and lost an opportunity to
strengthen Noah's values, and his own credibility as a
reference point. Kids need parents to bolster their
moral will power to resist temptations. His reluctance
to actively intervene and influence is an abdication of
responsibility.

What's more, his noncommittal response is not an
expression of moral neutrality but a statement that
conveys the moral judgment that honesty and integrity
are optional.

True, this is a personal decision. Noah has the power;
he can choose to be honest or dishonest, ethical or
unethical - it's his call. But the real question is one
of propriety: he didn't ask his dad "What can I do?"
but "What should I do?" This is a question about ethics
and it can't be dodged or evaded.

If we want our children to build good values and a
strong character based on virtue we have to be willing
to teach and advocate those virtues. Sometimes that
means saying, "That's wrong!"

For Commentaries go to:
http://whatwillmatter.com/category/commentary/ 

This is Michael Josephson reminding you that character
counts. 

© 2016 Josephson Institute of Ethics; reprinted with
permission. Michael Josephson, one of the nation's
leading ethicists, is the founder of the Josephson
Institute of Ethics and the premier youth character
education program, CHARACTER COUNTS! For further
information visit www.charactercounts.org.
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Re: Michael Josephson of Character Counts

Post  Admin on Mon 28 Dec 2015, 10:53 am

Family Values

  By Michael Josephson of CHARACTER COUNTS (982.2) 

Our values--the core beliefs that drive
behavior--determine our character, our ethics and our
potential. 

Thus, the most important thing we can do for our
children is to stimulate them to develop positive
values that will help them become wise, happy and good.
This is no simple matter. 

The first step is to achieve greater clarity about what
we really believe and what we really want our children
to believe. 

Often there is an inconsistency between what we say we
value (our stated values) and what we actually value as
revealed by our choices (our operative values). 

We also need to recognize the complexity of our value
structures. Our life goals are determined by our
desires and wants. Another category of values concerns
our beliefs as to what works. These often dictate what
we do to get what we want. Still a final type of values
comprises our ethical views as to what is right. In a
person of character, these values supersede others.

As my children are getting older, I've been thinking
about constructing with my wife a Statement of Family
Values expressing our beliefs about the nature and
relative importance of a dozen basic matters. If you
want to try it, concisely state the beliefs you hope to
instill in your children regarding:

* Character and ethics
* Faith and spirituality
* Marriage and family relationships
* Friendship
* Education
* Self-reliance
* Attitude
* Service
* Success
* Money and material possessions
* Drinking and drugs
* Premarital sex

We teach our children values with everything we say and
do. The trouble is we're not always aware of what value
we're teaching. Taking the time to formulate a
Statement of Family Values can provide an unambiguous
source of values your children will never forget. You
can get this list at our website at
www.charactercounts.org 
This is Michael Josephson reminding you that character
counts.

For Commentaries go to:
http://whatwillmatter.com/category/commentary/ 

This is Michael Josephson reminding you that character
counts. 

© 2015 Josephson Institute of Ethics; reprinted with
permission. Michael Josephson, one of the nation's
leading ethicists, is the founder of the Josephson
Institute of Ethics and the premier youth character
education program, CHARACTER COUNTS! For further
information visit www.charactercounts.org.
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Re: Michael Josephson of Character Counts

Post  Admin on Thu 24 Dec 2015, 9:57 pm

Reverence for the Law

  By Michael Josephson of CHARACTER COUNTS (435.2) 

A few years ago I met a newly appointed president of a
prestigious liberal arts college. Earlier in the day I
had chided an audience of educators about using radar
detectors so they could get away with speeding, and the
president took me to task, saying I was trivializing
ethics. 

As a former law school dean, she said many laws are not
intended to be strictly followed. So she not only had a
radar detector, but she also saw nothing wrong with
treating a red light as if it were simply a stop sign
when she drives at night and there's very little
traffic. After pausing for a moment, if it appears
safe, she drives through, treating the red light as if
it were merely a suggestion.

When I offered that this conduct is not only illegal
but dangerous, she said, "Not if I use good judgment."
I thought of all the people who've been shot with guns
thought to be unloaded and the fatal accidents caused
by people who were sure they could drive safely after a
few drinks.

If we see a green light, we can drive directly through
an intersection without slowing down because we count
on others to stop at the red lights. When people take
it on themselves to pick and choose which laws they
will obey and when they will obey them, life becomes
more chaotic and risky.

Sure, there are situations where strict compliance with
a law seems unnecessary, even foolish. But on the
whole, society is more stable, safe and orderly when we
all play by the rules, even when they're annoying and
inconvenient. 

For Commentaries go to:
http://whatwillmatter.com/category/commentary/ 

This is Michael Josephson reminding you that character
counts. 

© 2006 Josephson Institute of Ethics; reprinted with
permission. Michael Josephson, one of the nation's
leading ethicists, is the founder of the Josephson
Institute of Ethics and the premier youth character
education program, CHARACTER COUNTS! For further
information visit www.charactercounts.org.
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Re: Michael Josephson of Character Counts

Post  Admin on Tue 08 Dec 2015, 1:42 pm

Authentic Apologies

  by Michael Josephson of Character Counts (458.1)

"I'm sorry."

These are powerful words. Authentic apologies can work
like a healing ointment on old wounds, dissolve bitter
grudges and repair damaged relationships. They
encourage both parties to let go of toxic emotions like
anger and guilt and provide a fresh foundation of
mutual respect.

But authentic apologies involve much more than words
expressing sorrow; they require accountability, remorse
and repentance.

An accountable apology involves a sincere
acknowledgment that the apologizer did something wrong.
"I'm sorry your feelings were hurt" is a fake apology
because it accepts no personal responsibility. A better
apology is "I'm sorry I hurt your feelings." An even
better one reveals an understanding of the wrongdoing
from the point of view of the person injured and asks
for forgiveness: "I'm sorry I called you a bad mother.
I was speaking out of anger, and I ask you to forgive
me." Given the natural human tendency to interpret our
own words and actions in a manner most favorable to us,
it takes great self-awareness to be accountable.

An authentic apology also conveys remorse. It's easier
to forgive people who have hurt us if we believe they
have suffered some pain themselves in the form of
regret, sorrow or shame. Self-inflicted guilt is a form
of penance or reparation that clears the road to
forgiveness.

Accountability and remorse must be joined by
repentance--recognizing something we did was wrong
coupled with a credible commitment not to do it again.
Without such a commitment, an apology is hollow. Thus,
repetitive apologies for the same conduct are
meaningless and often offensive. "I'm sorry" is not a
Get Out of Jail Free card that lets people off the hook
who repeatedly break promises, get drunk or say cruel
things.

It takes character to both give and accept an authentic
apology.

This is Michael Josephson reminding you that character
counts.

© 2005 Josephson Institute of Ethics; reprinted with
permission. Michael Josephson, one of the nation's
leading ethicists, is the founder of the Josephson
Institute of Ethics and the premier youth character
education program, CHARACTER COUNTS! For further
information visit www.charactercounts.org.
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Re: Michael Josephson of Character Counts

Post  Admin on Sun 29 Nov 2015, 2:17 pm

It's Very Different Now

  by Michael Josephson of Character Counts (462.2) 

Nearly 20 years ago I left the groves of academe as a
law professor to spend full-time writing and speaking
about ethics to anyone who would listen. When I set up
the Joseph & Edna Josephson Institute of Ethics in
honor of my parents, many viewed the idea of explicitly
connecting moral principles to management
responsibilities as a novelty. 

It wasn't that the organizations claimed that ethics
was irrelevant; rather, they took it for granted that
anyone who rose to the highest leadership positions in
their organization couldn't have done so unless they
were highly ethical. So, when an organization asked me
to speak to top management, it was viewed more as an
affirmation of their moral commitment than as a
meaningful challenge to the way they were doing
business. 

Yes, I poked and prodded executives about the
inconsistency between rhetoric and reality and it made
some people uncomfortable, but I was viewed more as
entertainment than education.

It's very different now. 

Huge fines, forced resignations and hundreds of guilty
pleas and convictions (accompanied by long prison
sentences) are evidence that plenty of scoundrels have
worked their way to the top of the success ladder in
business and government. And for every villain, dozens
of good people succumb to external pressure or
self-delusion. In fact, good people doing or allowing
bad things account for a large portion of these recent
scandals.

In the past year, more than 1,000 government employees
were convicted of corrupt activities, and the FBI is
investigating thousands more. The growing vulnerability
of corporations to costly accusations of wrongdoing has
made it clear that any company ignoring the ethical
quality of its people and culture does so at great
peril.

The problem is, many people's ethical compass has been
distorted by decades of amoral thinking that focuses on
what's legal rather than what's right. Whenever ethics
is viewed simply as a business strategy, underlying
moral principles like honesty and integrity become
mangled by gamesmanship strategies and
conscience-numbing rationalizations. It's time to
recognize we don't need more compliance; we need more
character.

This is Michael Josephson reminding you that character
counts.

© 2005 Josephson Institute of Ethics; reprinted with
permission. Michael Josephson, one of the nation's
leading ethicists, is the founder of the Josephson
Institute of Ethics and the premier youth character
education program, CHARACTER COUNTS! For further
information visit www.charactercounts.org.
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Re: Michael Josephson of Character Counts

Post  Admin on Mon 23 Nov 2015, 1:58 pm

"Mommy, Do You Think She Speaks Love?" 

  By Michael Josephson of CHARACTER COUNTS (418.4) 

Lots of parents are filled with pride when they talk
about how bright, beautiful and/or talented their
children are. I'm certainly no different. I look for
every chance to show pictures of my kids and regale my
captive listeners with anecdotes of their charm and
cleverness. 

Years ago, a proud mom named Gail Silvers wrote to tell
me about another quality in her adopted six-year-old
son Kyle---his loving heart. Apparently, Kyle has a
sort of poetry of love and kindness in his blood. When
he was five, he told his mom, "When I kiss you, it
means that my heart is going into my lips to tell you
how much I love you." 

She told me of the time when she and Kyle were on their
way home after a five-hour stint with Meals on Wheels
and they stopped to render aid to a woman whose car had
broken down and was parked on the side of the road. In
her car were three children, including a two-year-old
baby. 

Kyle was curious and when his mom told him the family
needed some help, he replied, "There's a baby in the
car who's scared because their car is broken. I have to
talk to her." When Gail told him the little girl didn't
speak English, he said, "Mommy, do you think she speaks
love?" 

Kyle went to the baby, talked quietly, hugged her and
kissed her cheek. Then he decided to entertain the
two-year-old with a 10-minute slapstick routine that
even took Gail by surprise. As the baby and everyone
else laughed, it was clear that Kyle's instincts were
right. The baby knew how to speak love, a universal
language we all ought to speak more often. 

This is Michael Josephson reminding you that character
counts. 

For Commentaries go to:
http://whatwillmatter.com/category/commentary/ 

This is Michael Josephson reminding you that character
counts. 

© 2005 Josephson Institute of Ethics; reprinted with
permission. Michael Josephson, one of the nation's
leading ethicists, is the founder of the Josephson
Institute of Ethics and the premier youth character
education program, CHARACTER COUNTS! For further
information visit www.charactercounts.org.

What Do You Want to See More of and Less of? 

  By Michael Josephson of CHARACTER COUNTS (926.5) 

What Do You Want to See More of and Less of?
Inspirational author and speaker Stephen Covey once
said, "Start with the end in mind."

So whenever a company wants to launch an ethics
initiative, we at Josephson Institute use a simple
exercise: "Look at your organization today--its
managers, line employees, and customers--and list
behaviors and attitudes you'd like to see more of and
less of."

We use the same exercise when a school is starting a
character-development program. Once the desired
outcomes are identified, it's not difficult to devise a
strategic plan to achieve them.

This approach can also work with self-improvement. But
instead of asking yourself what you want to see more of
and less of in your own behavior, ask the people at
home and at work to tell you what they want.
Interestingly, whether we're talking about a company, a
school, or an individual, the lists are likely to be
similar: more respect and kindness, less criticism and
complaining. More honesty, less evasion. More
accountability, less excuse-making.

Here's another: If your family and coworkers were told
they could choose only five words to describe you, what
would you like them to be? What do you think they would
say? To paraphrase Jack Nicholson's character in A Few
Good Men, "Could you handle the truth?"

It takes character to engage in open-minded
self-reflection and to acknowledge and address your
flaws, but it takes even stronger character to commit
to getting better. It's like the old proverb: "If you
want to know how to live your life, think about what
you want people to say about you after you die--and
live backwards."

For Commentaries go to:
http://whatwillmatter.com/category/commentary/ 

This is Michael Josephson reminding you that character
counts. 

© 2015 Josephson Institute of Ethics; reprinted with
permission. Michael Josephson, one of the nation's
leading ethicists, is the founder of the Josephson
Institute of Ethics and the premier youth character
education program, CHARACTER COUNTS! For further
information visit www.charactercounts.org.
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Re: Michael Josephson of Character Counts

Post  Admin on Tue 10 Nov 2015, 5:31 pm

Good Relationships Make a Good Life` 

  By Michael Josephson of CHARACTER COUNTS (917.4) 

If we interviewed 100 happy people, I think the most
prominent common denominator would be good
relationships. Despite the widespread promotion of
materialism and vanity in our culture, wealth and
beauty are not enough to produce happiness. In fact,
they're not even necessary. What's more, bad
relationships -- at work, at home, or among friends --
are a surefire source of anguish and heartache.

For most of us, the connections that most strongly
influence our level of happiness are family bonds. And
the most powerful of all are at the inner core of
family, especially parent-child relationships.

No matter what your age, your kinship with your parents
will always have a unique capacity to generate comfort
or pain. Many children have ambivalent feelings about
their folks. Yet most crave their approval, respect,
and love. Parents have a similar need.

If you're a parent, resolve to make more consistent and
conscientious efforts to make your children feel
appreciated. If you want to make their lives and yours
happier, be careful not to demean or diminish their
achievements, and avoid expressions of disappointment.
Tell your child you're proud to have him or her as a
son or daughter.

And if you still can, give your parents pleasure by
showing them you love them, not only for what they did
for you as a child but for who they are now. Talk to
them frequently and talk of meaningful things. Ask
their advice, and don't roll your eyes in disdain if
you disagree with it. One of the best ways to express
your love is through respect. 

For Commentaries go to:
http://whatwillmatter.com/category/commentary/ 

This is Michael Josephson reminding you that character
counts. 

© 2015 Josephson Institute of Ethics; reprinted with
permission. Michael Josephson, one of the nation's
leading ethicists, is the founder of the Josephson
Institute of Ethics and the premier youth character
education program, CHARACTER COUNTS! For further
information visit www.charactercounts.org.

Happiness Is a Choice 

  By Michael Josephson of CHARACTER COUNTS (917.5) 

In a Peanuts cartoon, Lucy asks Charlie Brown, "Why do
you think we were put on earth?"

Charlie answers, "To make others happy."

Lucy replies, "I don't think I'm making anyone happy,"
and then adds, "but nobody's making me very happy
either. Somebody's not doing his job!"

People like Lucy are so sure happiness is a matter of
getting something that they ask not what they can do
for others but what others can and should do for them.
They usually feel shortchanged or cheated. They become
so preoccupied with what they don't have that they
can't enjoy what they do have.

What's more, they don't realize one of the best ways to
be happy is to experience the joy and self-worth of
making others happy.

In his book Happiness Is a Serious Problem, Dennis
Prager argues that it's human nature to want and feel
we need more. The problem is, the quest for more is
endless because we can always add more to whatever we
have. As a result, the Lucys of the world often live in
an "if only" world that keeps them one step away from
happiness: "If only I get this raise, make this sale,
pay off my debts, or win this game, I'll be happy."

Abraham Lincoln understood that happiness is
essentially a way of looking at one's life. "A person
is generally about as happy as he's willing to be," he
said.

Thus, we're more likely to experience happiness if we
realize it's not just getting what we want. It's
learning to want what we get.

For Commentaries go to:
http://whatwillmatter.com/category/commentary/ 

This is Michael Josephson reminding you that character
counts. 

© 2015 Josephson Institute of Ethics; reprinted with
permission. Michael Josephson, one of the nation's
leading ethicists, is the founder of the Josephson
Institute of Ethics and the premier youth character
education program, CHARACTER COUNTS! For further
information visit www.charactercounts.org.
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Re: Michael Josephson of Character Counts

Post  Admin on Wed 21 Oct 2015, 6:11 pm

The Pressure to Cheat

  By Michael Josephson of CHARACTER COUNTS (920.4) 

What's causing the growing hole in our moral ozone? Why
are cheating and lying so common in schools, on the
sports field, and in business and politics? Apparently
it's a thing called pressure.

Kids are under pressure to get into college, athletes
and coaches are under pressure to win, and, according
to a survey by the American Management Association, the
pressure to meet business objectives and deadlines is
the leading cause of unethical corporate behavior. The
desires to further one's career and protect one's
livelihood are the second and third reasons people lie
or cheat.

In other words, we take ethical shortcuts to get what
we want. DUH!

Why are we so willing to shift responsibility for every
form of human weakness from ourselves to the system? We
don't blame the liar; we blame the law. We don't blame
the cheater; we blame the test.

The implication is: Don't expect me to be ethical when
personal interests are at stake.

Please!

What we call pressures today used to be called
temptations. Everyone knew that the test of character
was our ability to resist them. Calling enticements
pressures doesn't change anything.

We must believe in and expect integrity and moral
courage and not surrender when our principles are
challenged. We need to expect good people to do what's
right, even when it's difficult or costly.

Yes, lots of people act dishonorably in the face of
pressure. But pressure is an explanation, not a
justification. Pressures, temptations--call them what
you will--are part of life. Sure, it would be helpful
if we had less pressure, but it's far more important
that we have more character.

For Commentaries go to:
http://whatwillmatter.com/category/commentary/ 

This is Michael Josephson reminding you that character
counts. 

© 2015 Josephson Institute of Ethics; reprinted with
permission. Michael Josephson, one of the nation's
leading ethicists, is the founder of the Josephson
Institute of Ethics and the premier youth character
education program, CHARACTER COUNTS! For further
information visit www.charactercounts.org.
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Re: Michael Josephson of Character Counts

Post  Admin on Sun 11 Oct 2015, 4:34 pm

The Self-Portrait Called Character

  By Michael Josephson of CHARACTER COUNTS (919.5) 

While I was on a radio call-in show talking about
cheating, a listener I'll call Stan mocked my concern.
He cheated to get into college, he said. He cheated in
college to get a job. And now he occasionally cheats on
his job to get ahead. In fact, he concluded, cheating
is such an important life skill that parents ought to
teach their kids how to cheat.

Evidence is mounting that lots of people share Stan's
amoral pragmatism. Because they define success and
happiness in terms of getting what they want when they
want it, ethics seems irrational. After all, in a world
where cheaters so often prosper, why should anyone give
up the benefits of dishonesty?

Well, for one thing, the Stans of the world have no
idea the price they're paying for the little they're
getting. A life without principles is demeaning and
self-defeating. The Stans of the world are cheated as
often as they cheat others. What's more, they cheat
themselves. As they scrape and struggle to fill their
lives, they give up their chance to lead fulfilling
lives.

The happiest people I know are those who find purpose
and meaning pursuing a grander vision of a good life
measured in terms of worthiness, not net worth. Virtue
is not a tactic; it's a life philosophy.

We paint the self-portrait that we call our character
by our values and actions. We can choose to paint that
portrait in the pale watercolors of shallow successes
and short-lived pleasures or in the deep, rich oils of
honor, spirituality, peace of mind, and self-respect.

The enduring impact of our choices is not what we get,
but what we become.

For Commentaries go to:
http://whatwillmatter.com/category/commentary/

This is Michael Josephson reminding you that character
counts. 

© 2015 Josephson Institute of Ethics; reprinted with
permission. Michael Josephson, one of the nation's
leading ethicists, is the founder of the Josephson
Institute of Ethics and the premier youth character
education program, CHARACTER COUNTS! For further
information visit www.charactercounts.org.


I Believe in You

  By Michael Josephson of Character Counts (416.5)

Jaren had a history of asthma and he wasn't a good
athlete, but he badly wanted to earn a letter in
distance running. He worked hard trying to build
endurance and speed so he could make his high school
team and earn a letterman's jacket. Though some members
of his family urged him to try something else, his mom
consistently supported his dream. "If you want it
enough," she said, "you should go for it. I believe in
you. Besides, just trying will make you stronger in
every way." 

As a tenth grader he qualified for the team, but he
didn't get into enough competitions to earn his letter.
The next year he wanted to try again, but his mom
contracted cancer. She urged him to keep after his goal
and Jaren ran hard in the off-season, wanting to
justify her confidence. Each day he'd tell her his
times and she'd say, "You're getting better. I believe
in you." His running improved and he made the team and
though he wasn't the top runner, he was a sure thing to
earn his letter. 

Sadly, Jaren's mom died a month before the awards
banquet. When it was time for the presentations, the
coach gave Jaren an envelope with a note in his
mother's handwriting: "I knew you would do it. I'm so
proud of you." Then the coach handed Jaren a beautiful
leather letterman's jacket. "Your mom bought this last
year and asked me to hold it for you," he said. Inside
was embroidered: "I believe in you. Now, it's time for
you to believe in you."

For Commentaries go to:
http://whatwillmatter.com/category/commentary/.

This is Michael Josephson reminding you that character
counts. 

© 2015 Josephson Institute of Ethics; reprinted with
permission. Michael Josephson, one of the nation's
leading ethicists, is the founder of the Josephson
Institute of Ethics and the premier youth character
education program, CHARACTER COUNTS! For further
information visit www.charactercounts.org.
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Re: Michael Josephson of Character Counts

Post  Admin on Tue 22 Sep 2015, 11:51 pm

How Much Do You Want It to Be? 

  By Michael Josephson of CHARACTER COUNTS (918.4) 

The founder of a company needed to choose his
successor. He studied resumes and talked to references,
but he decided to ask only one question during the
final interview: "How much is 2 + 2?"

Ann, the first candidate, worried that there was a
trick but she answered straightforwardly. "There's only
one correct answer: it's four."

Terry, who had an engineering background, was more
creative. "Depending on whether you're dealing with
positive or negative numbers," he said, "the answer
could be plus four, zero or minus four."

Chuck, the last candidate, looked the questioner in the
eye and whispered, "How much do you want it to be?"

While Ann and Terry took different approaches, they
were both looking for an honest answer. Chuck, on the
other hand, wanted the questioner to know that he was
willing to say or do whatever it takes to succeed. Some
employers may find this combination of creativity and
moral flexibility highly attractive. I'd show him the
door.

You see, Chuck is a manipulator and rationalizer, and
they don't make good employees. They search for excuses
rather than solutions, and they are more concerned with
looking good than doing it right.

People like Chuck, who are adept at inventing
justifications that sound good but aren't true, are
simply clever liars and, eventually, they will be found
out. Remember, an employee that will lie for you will
lie to you.

Without conscience there is no credibility, without
credibility there is no trust, and without trust there
is no future.

For Commentaries go to:
http://whatwillmatter.com/category/commentary/ 

This is Michael Josephson reminding you that character
counts. 

© 2015 Josephson Institute of Ethics; reprinted with
permission. Michael Josephson, one of the nation's
leading ethicists, is the founder of the Josephson
Institute of Ethics and the premier youth character
education program, CHARACTER COUNTS! For further
information visit www.charactercounts.org.
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Re: Michael Josephson of Character Counts

Post  Admin on Sun 13 Sep 2015, 9:19 pm

Sticks and Stones 

  By Michael Josephson of CHARACTER COUNTS 

"Sticks and stones may break my bones, but names will
never hurt me."

Really? Insults, teasing, gossip, and verbal abuse can
inflict deeper and more enduring pain than guns and
knives.

Ask anyone who as a kid was fat, skinny, short, tall,
flat-chested, big-busted, acne-faced, uncoordinated,
slow-witted, or exceptionally smart. In schoolrooms and
playgrounds across the country, weight, height, looks,
and intelligence are the subject of more taunting and
ridicule than race or religion.

And it doesn't get better. Unkind words, tasteless
jokes, criticism, and ridicule don't lose their sting
when we become adults.

There's nothing new about this. But if we trivialize
how damaging words can be, especially to youngsters,
the ethical significance of verbal assaults can be
lost. When we say words can't hurt anyone, we negate
the feelings of those who are genuinely hurt.

Instead of minimizing the importance of words, we
should encourage parents and teachers to demand a
higher level of respect and greater sensitivity
precisely because words can be so powerful.

Yes, we should try to fortify our children's sense of
self-worth so they can bear insults and sarcasm better.
And we should urge them not to take what others say too
seriously. But it's just as important to teach them
that words have the power of grenades and must be used
carefully.

For Commentaries go to:
http://whatwillmatter.com/category/commentary/ 

This is Michael Josephson reminding you that character
counts. 

© 2015 Josephson Institute of Ethics; reprinted with
permission. Michael Josephson, one of the nation's
leading ethicists, is the founder of the Josephson
Institute of Ethics and the premier youth character
education program, CHARACTER COUNTS! For further
information visit www.charactercounts.org.
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Re: Michael Josephson of Character Counts

Post  Admin on Sat 15 Aug 2015, 10:01 pm


I'm Only a One-Star

By Michael Josephson of CHARACTER COUNTS (919.4)

Years ago I was talking to a group of Army generals
about the way politicians often treat the defense
budget as an all-purpose public works fund to help
bring money into their districts. One general admitted,
"Yes, if the chairman of the Appropriations Committee
comes from a place that makes trucks, we're probably
going to buy those trucks. That's the way it is, the
way it always was, and the way it always will be."

I suggested that it was a form of bribery to buy the
trucks just to please the politician. The general
barked, "It's not bribery. It's extortion!"

"Don't sound so powerless," I replied. "You're a
GENERAL!"

Without skipping a beat, he answered, "Yeah, but I'm
only a one-star."

"I'm only a one-star." I hear this sort of abdication
of moral responsibility a lot---from business
executives who surrender to "pressures" to engage in
dubious business practices, journalists who see their
great calling being overcome by a growing profit
obsession and others who just feel they can't buck the
system.

I understand it's easier and often seems smarter to go
along to get along, yet when systems become corrupt,
irrational, or wasteful, it's our duty to do what we
can do to make things better.

As Edward Everett Hale said, "It's true I am only one,
but I am one. And the fact that I can't do everything
will not prevent me from doing what I can do."

When there's a gap between reality and ethical ideals,
people of character don't surrender their ideals. They
fight for them. They work to change the way things
"are" to the way they "ought to be." And much more
often than we realize, defective systems collapse at
the first sight of principled resistance.

For Commentaries go to:
http://whatwillmatter.com/category/commentary/.

This is Michael Josephson reminding you that character
counts.

© 2015 Josephson Institute of Ethics; reprinted with
permission. Michael Josephson, one of the nation's
leading ethicists, is the founder of the Josephson
Institute of Ethics and the premier youth character
education program, CHARACTER COUNTS! For further
information visit www.charactercounts.org.
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Re: Michael Josephson of Character Counts

Post  Admin on Sun 09 Aug 2015, 8:13 pm

. The Treasure of Old Friends

  By Michael Josephson of CHARACTER COUNTS (915.5) 

In my lifetime, I've had the good fortune of having a
handful of good friends.

Each of my four teenage daughters have many hundreds.
At least that's what they call every Facebook
connection they collect like trophies. The list of
those kinds of friends includes people they barely
know, some they don't know at all, and even some people
they don't like.

They also have lots of real friends - people they
actually know and spend time with. They profess to
"love" and "miss" quite a few and, though it defies the
meaning of the word "best" they each have a rotating
group of best friends often referred to a BFFs (best
friends forever) or BFFL (best friends for life).

It's pretty obvious to an old codger like me (using the
word codger proves how old I am), that their use of the
labels "friend" and "best friend" represents a diluted
and naïve concept of the intensity and longevity of
friendship.

In relationships, "forever" is, outside of rare
exceptions, a romantic illusion borne out of real but
transitory emotions. From the perch provided by decades
of experience, it's pretty obvious that none or only a
few of today's BFFs will be in their lives for very
long.

This is not to say that these relationships aren't
important or that they don't provide all kinds of
needed comforts such as companionship, validation,
support, fun, and caring counsel. But just as lasting
and meaningful love is hard to find and sustain, true
friendships are rare and, therefore, precious.

Generally, the intensity and longevity of almost all
friendships are tied to context, place and time.

Except for friendships with relatives (if you're
fortunate to have any who really are your friends),
friendships rarely make the transition from one major
stage of our lives to another.

And though we may feel affection for old friends who
once played a central role in our lives, unless we have
been in regular contact, many of the qualities that
made the relationship so special (shared joys and grief
in real time, common experiences, intimate knowledge of
our thoughts and feelings) just aren't there anymore.

The insight of age is that even our best friendships
usually morph into memories.

Fortunately, the emotions that define these memories
are easily re-awakened and enjoyed with even infrequent
contact.

Communicating with "old friends" can enrich our lives
by bringing our pasts into the present, reminding us of
who we were and how we became what we are.

The irony is that Facebook, which seems to promote a
watered down version of friendship for my kids, also
makes it possible for me to re-connect with a small
army of far-flung folks who once played a major role in
my life--and I'm glad for that.

For Commentaries go to:
http://whatwillmatter.com/category/commentary/ 

This is Michael Josephson reminding you that character
counts. 

© 2015 Josephson Institute of Ethics; reprinted with
permission. Michael Josephson, one of the nation's
leading ethicists, is the founder of the Josephson
Institute of Ethics and the premier youth character
education program, CHARACTER COUNTS! For further
information visit www.charactercounts.org.
Impossible Odds
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