Saturday, March 13, 2010

Just say ‘no’ – to YOURSELF!

I consider myself fairly hard-headed, so despite my amiable personality, I’m not easily subject to peer pressures or steered toward dangerous waters often. I still however, value the flexibility to shun my own fears and ‘step-out’ to try new things. So more often than not, I have found I can do most anything enjoyably with a little practice and moderation. I have come to realize however, that it is prudent with some ‘special skills’ and activities to basically ‘just say NO’.

For example, I used to work at a company that had a fairly “hard-nosed” accountant. Nothing wrong with keeping tight books, but you know the type – just getting a legitimate petty cash expenditure approved was a major undertaking. We actually became rather good friends as I came to appreciate her careful control of the company coffers. The sad end to this story was that years later I learned that she had embezzled small amounts of cash from random company accounts for years?

Though this incident hit me hard personally since I had failed in my character assessment of a trusted co-worker, but it also taught me a valuable lesson. Some people, even those you love and trust, are not experts at saying ‘NO’, especially to themselves. The accountant had the ABILITY and OPPORTUNITY to cheat, like we all do at times. However, if she had simply practiced a little self-denial internally as much as she had externally, her story might have ended better?

In my case I have always had a great interest in locks and locksmithing. To me there is just a kind of a captivating allure to a locked drawer, phone, or door. So naturally I have read up on the subject and YES I even crafted a set of tools from what I’d learned. Now I practiced for hours on every lock in the house, raking and scratching anything with tumblers until I felt confident in my abilities. Then with my new found power, I simply STOPPED. I did not break into people’s houses or sneak into files or closets with evil intent. I HAVE only used this skill to gain entry when keys are lost or mistakes are made, but in general I am very deliberate in how I manage the choices given to this ‘moral bi-polarism’.

I think people today, especially the young, should consider these dilemmas of personal choice very carefully. With the advent of video camera cell phones, even the most innocent transgressions WILL be documented and may later prove to be a powerful enemy of fact or innuendo. With so many people using social networking sites, sharing pictures, and blogging back and forth, LIMITS are more important than ever and you must stay vigilant.

This does not mean that you should stop living your life normally or worse yet, in fear. There is no need to exclusively go to bed by nine with a warm glass of milk. Conversely however, it is also unreasonable to ‘party’ all night long and drink yourself into a stupor. Moderation is the golden rule for most things in life. For the rest of the stuff, regardless of pressures, be sure to practice saying a resounding ‘NO’! – even if it IS to YOURSELF!

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