9/1/08

Living a Life that Matters

I recently read a book by one of my favorite authors, Harold Kushner. The title of this blog is also the title of the book. Rabbi Kushner is a favorite author of mine and besides another book, his books have changed my life more than any other author. In this book, Living a Life that Matters, the focus is on the choice between conscience and success. After reading this, wouldn’t the choice of conscience, our internal sense that determines what is right between right and wrong win out over success every time? Ashamedly I can answer that question as no. Success is that evil temptress that is always trying to lure us away. Oh she wants you to think that the big house, the raise, the promotion, the expensive car, and that new iphone are all things that will identify you as successful, or better yet so that your friends give you a false sense of respect, security, and admiration. What about in you career? Do numbers tell the whole story? Or does success want you to bite off more than you chew just so that you look bigger than what you are? Success leaves you wanting more. She’s addictive because once you’ve taken a step down that path, you’ll always come back for more. Once you’ve accepted that additional responsibility at your job, or continue to schmooze your bosses, or walk on co-workers, it’s hard to choose conscience. Sure your actions might seem harmless…just go ahead and justify your way through it. But you’re just trying to be nice…right? If there is one thing that I have learned in life, is that no action is made without any purpose, or hope for an equal reaction…cause and purpose, purpose and cause.
But where does it all start? It starts with that one bad decision to choose success over conscience. If we just take the time to patiently way out opportunity and look at it from a state of conscience or success, we’ll determine whether our lives will be happy and fulfilled or shallow and lonely. Only you can determine when your choice reflects one of conscience or success…just don’t give in to the dark side.

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