You’ve heard the saying, “Everyone has their price.” This refers to the tendency of people to compromise or abandon their ethics for the right price. The person who is willing to travel this route doesn’t really have ethics.
True ethics are not for sale. An individual who is willing to alter his or her beliefs for great enough remuneration never had principles at all. Someone who has firm convictions will not be influenced by any price.
Yet people from all cross sections of society do have a price as well as numerous justifications to absolve them of guilt. It doesn’t matter whether a person has a high price or a low one, the end result is the same, they can be bought or will sell out.
When you have a price, you will find yourself in numerous predicaments. You become obligated to those who have paid you. As soon as you alter your behavior in return for something of value, the person who paid you will always have something to hold over you. So, in addition to whatever you did, you will also be compromising your freedom.
When you do something you normally would not have, you will always be looking over your shoulder in fear of being caught. Even if you aren’t involved in anything illegal, doing something unethical will have negative consequences.
Having a price also entails compromising your reputation. Once lost, your reputation is virtually impossible to restore. As one who is available to the highest bidder, you will be known as someone who can’t be relied on or trusted.
You also give up your dignity. Regardless of how one attempts to justify selling out, they can’t hold their head up high or feel good about their actions.
The best way to live is to not have a price at which you are willing to act unethically or illegally. People who don’t have a price never have to wonder what to do when faced with an ethical dilemma. They will choose to do the right thing. The amount of money being offered is never an issue.
Refusing to have a price attracts good things to you. Those who sell out descend into a downward spiral. When you have unshakable integrity, you repel negative people and circumstances.
Although having a price is never good, when those in positions of public trust can be bought, the ramifications are widespread. Not only will their malevolent actions impact many people, the actions of just a few sully the reputation of entire groups.
If you have a price, you will negate all you are looking to accomplish. There are no shortcuts to reaching your goals. The path of least resistance is a sure route to calamity.
Make sure you don’t have a price. It’s never too late to take a firm ethical stand. The fact that others can be bought isn’t a justification for you to compromise your life. This column focuses on enabling you to break through your limitations. Having a price is a limitation that will supercede all others.
NOW AVAILABLE: “Dare to Live Without Limits,” the book. Visit www.BryanGolden.com or your bookstore. Bryan is a management consultant, motivational speaker, author, and adjunct professor. E-mail Bryan at email@example.com or write him c/o this paper.
© Bryan Golden