A young policeman was explaining how difficult it is to be an honest officer in an organisation in which corruption is rife. He asked you to imagine you’re working with others as part of a team but when the majority of them are on the take and you are not, then you are likely to be seen as a threat and can be harmed.
This, he said, is how some very honest officers become corrupt. It is not that they do not wish to be honest. It is that they cannot afford to be honest when all around them there is dishonesty. If they stand alone like ‘Serpico’, they stand to end up facing the same fate as he did. If you try to stay honest, you will be shunned, alienated or victimised, or even worse.
The young policeman then asked how to stay honest when all around there is dishonesty. It is a question, which many have had to face but few have been able to answer.
The world is the way it is. And not the way it should be. And therefore how can one survive with one’s values intact in a world in which these values are under threat.
The answer to that question is not simple. The honest individual, the person who is trying to be true to things he or she believes in, should not get frustrated with the decay that he or she sees all around.
The way to live is to live one’s life by the values, which one holds dear. We have to live our life the way we want the world to be and not the way the world is. That is how you make a difference in life.
The first rule is not to give in to pressure. Those who are exceptions are exceptions because they are different and do not have to conform to the behaviour or values of others. You do not have to follow the crowd. You do not have to give in to pressure. You do not have to conform to values that are alien to your own. You can change society by living the life you want to live, and not the life that others are pressuring you to live.
The second way to make a difference is to do what is right. Live the way you want the world to be by doing what is right. You do not need to do wrong. You do not need to steal. Stay on the straight and narrow path and do what is right and the world, for you, will be the way you want it to be.
Third, remember that your job is not to try to change people. Your success or failure in life should not be judged by how many persons you have changed, but how true you are to your own values. As such, do not set out to influence people. Let your example be the influence, which others can draw from.
Fourth, try to be the best that you can be. Live your perfect life by seeking perfection and by aiming to be the best you can be without having to please others. You are going to make a difference without realising it.
The world is how it is. It will not change for you. You have to change the world by being you. Even if it means being alone, being without friends, you should not be worried, because you will be in good company. Some of the greatest names in human history have been persons who were seen as loners and even outcasts, but they possessed one quality which all those who to live the way they want to live should have.
That quality is perseverance. No matter how tough the going gets, do not quit. Once you have staying power, you will find that the world has changed far more than you have changed.
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