Pride and resentment: the unseen cancer

A grateful heart is a beginning of greatness. It is an expression of humility. It is a foundation for the development of such virtues as prayer, faith, courage, contentment, happiness, love, and well-being. James E. Faust

Although I may not outwardly appear so as much as I should, I am deeply grateful for my loving wife, who has stood beside me for thirty years, through the good, the bad and the really ugly.

I am grateful for our three children, who grew up to make us very proud. Their success was not in becoming financially stable, all three of them struggle, but in their character, the moral compass each developed on their own and their empathy for others. They each developed character traits that would even make a curmudgeon like Mark Twain proud.

I am grateful for the many wonderful people I had the pleasure of meeting. While there are many I would turn my back on, there are many, including a few here, that I would be happy to call friend.

But I am not grateful to certain things that in reflection, I ought to be. I should be grateful to the two individuals who brought me into this world. For too long I’ve held resentment for how my siblings and I were treated by them, for bringing ten children into a loveless and abusive environment.

I supposed the resentment has been like a cancer spreading. It’s there, but unseen, yet doing damage nonetheless. By the time the damage is seen it’s usually too late. They are both gone now, the last one just a few weeks ago. I need to let go of the resentment, and be grateful for the fact they did bring me, and the others, into this world and did make an effort, no matter how small.

But I’m not as humble as I should be. I used to think I was much smarter than many others. When I made the decision at Citigroup to blow the whistle, I leaned on my pride. Let them retaliate, I’m much smarter than they are and will do just well, I reasoned.

I little bit of humility would have gone a long way. It turned out they really are much smarter than I am and proved it. I still stand behind my decision, but I would have taken better measures to make sure I didn’t lose everything if not for my swollen sense of self.

It is amazing how humble one gets when seeing a zero balance in your bank balance and nothing in sight to change it. That is what I saw a few hours ago, and it’s beyond humbling, it opens your eyes to reality: I am nowhere near as smart or as capable as almost everyone else I’ve met.

Some resentment is still there. I still blame others at Citigroup for making it impossible for me to find a job and for putting me into this position.

Understanding comes slow, but it is coming: They did not do this to me, I did this to myself. They are who they’ve always been and I’m the one who made the choice to speak out. I could have walked away, but that would have caused regrets later on and is not the behavior I wanted my children to follow. So I need to take responsibility for what happened.

My wife sent me this quote because she still sees signs of pride and resentment. She is the doctor who saw my cancer. This quote is her prescription for curing me, and it is working.

Some of you already know, but Omar Kiam is my pen name. I did it because I published two business books under my real name and wanted to keep this side of me separate from that side. I had thought the books (The art of process improvement and The command center handbook) would carry us through the difficult times, but that didn’t happen.

As a step in the right direction, I will reach out for help, accepting the fact that I’m really not as smart or as capable as I thought I was.

What “Patience is a Virtue” means

“Patience is a Virtue”

When some people want something, they want it now. They demand to have it now. They don’t have time to wait. They will take what they can get now, rather than waiting a little for something better.

We’re all equally guilty of wanting something immediately, or sooner rather than later, at one point or another. We can’t afford to wait. Time is money. Waiting means we won’t have what we want today. We may miss out on something we can experience now. We don’t want to wait for tomorrow.

Even when we decide to wait, we become jittery. We don’t know what to do with ourselves. After a while, our patience wears thin, and we begin looking for instant gratification. When we get it sooner than expected, we heave a sigh of relieve. Aaaaaahhhhh, we got it.

But did we really get what we were waiting for, or did we lower our standards to get it sooner? We accept a smaller piece of what we were waiting for in exchange for instant gratification. Why not, tomorrow may never come. Why not take a little less today? Why not get some gratification today rather than a lot more gratification tomorrow and possibly the rest of our lives? Because today is here and tomorrow may never come.

This is an instinct we’re born with: the instinct to satisfy our needs whenever we’re able to. This is an instinct we picked up from the dawn of time: take what you can now, since you may not get the chance tomorrow.

Patience goes counter to our instincts. Patience is something which must be learned and practiced. It isn’t something which comes naturally to us. Those who master patience become more successful than those who can’t. They know that waiting for long term gratification is much better than accepting temporary instant gratification. They know that going slow and doing something right is much better than rushing and doing half a job, or worse, doing it wrong and having to repeat it, which will take longer than if they had waited. These are the people who don’t have the time or money to do something right, but manage to find much more of both when something breaks and must be fixed now. These people are you and me.

This is why patience, being able to wait, is a desirable quality. It is difficult to have the moral integrity to forego instant gratification in exchange for something better at a later date. This is why it is a virtue.

Those who have that virtue have truly understood that it is better to wait for tomorrow to take the full reward, rather than taking a small sample today.

How many of you have virtue that can withstand the highest bidder?

“Few men have virtue to withstand the highest bidder.” George Washington

It is unfortunate that there are very few people who can’t be bought. It is simply a matter of human nature. There are things people consider more valuable than their virtue. The bidding price might be very high, but there is a price that people believe will outweigh the loss of virtue.

People manage to find a way to justify doing something against their principles in exchange for position, money, power, sex or any other thing they consider of value. They need to feed their family. It is an emergency and they are in dire need of money. They are doing it to keep the family in the lifestyle they’ve grown accustomed to. They are not selling their virtue but doing what’s needed. And so on.

The person who can withstand temptation, who would not forsake virtue for the highest bidder, is most likely a poor person. The family of that person lives a simple un-extravagant lifestyle.

The people who would forsake the highest bidder to keep their virtue intact, might be poor, but are very content. They are comfortable with themselves. They can look in the mirror without feeling the need to justify their actions.

They are in the minority though. In a day where basic necessities require more than what a poor person has, no one can afford to be virtuous.

In this day and age, unfortunate as it is, everyone finds it very easy to justify selling their virtue to the highest bidder.

Those of us who are not for sale to any bidder, and we are out there, are a minority. We may not have fancy cars and houses, but we have peace of mind, and that is something you can’t put a price on.

The path to success and happiness

“Whatever else may be shaken, there are some facts established beyond warring: virtue is better than vice, truth is better than falsehood, kindness than brutality.” Quintin Hogg

The way to prosperity is through many paths. The way to happiness is through many paths. The way to riches and rewards is through uncountable paths. There are some who would have you believe otherwise. They would have you believe that there is only one path to all of these.

For many, the way to prosperity and happiness is through riches and rewards. The way to riches and rewards is through vice, falsehood and brutality. For them, any other way is for the week and ignorant.

There are a few who will never bend, who will always know that success and happiness comes from being virtuous, kind and truthful. For them, there will never be enough riches or rewards that would alter these constants. They may be tempted, and some may even fall under the temptation, but they will all know what is right from wrong. Those who fall will be forever haunted by their conscience.

Those who acquire riches and rewards through vice, falsehood and brutality will never become content or truly happy. No amount of riches and rewards will ever be enough for them. Their misery is that they will always want more.

History has always shown that virtue is better than vice, truth is better than falsehood, and kindness is better than brutality. Men, women and nations who test these premises have always succumbed to their own vices, falsehoods and brutalities.

And yet, more keep thinking the path to prosperity and happiness is through riches and rewards. The way to riches and rewards is through vice, falsehood and brutality.

The true path to riches and rewards is through virtue, truth and kindness. The path to success and happiness is being content with whatever riches and rewards virtue, truth and kindness bestow upon you.