The other night when working at the Home Show in town I decided I deserved to get the best parking spot.  I may have also thought I was a little smarter than others.  All of the parking spots were full but people started parking on the front ends of the rows.  Basically the best parking spot in the house.  Me being one who always tries to beat the system backed in one of those parking spots and walked right in without taking a second thought.

The next day it dawned on me.  I started asking myself is that right?  My first response was “everyone else is doing it.”  But then I recalled a conversation with a friend earlier in the week in how he runs his summer shingling business and pays taxes and insurance on all of his people.  He gets hit with a huge bill because he does it right whereas others hire people for cash and don’t have to pay near as much.  It would be so easy in his situation to just say lets just do it how everyone else is doing it.  But as someone who has integrity and character you can’t do what everyone else does.

So going back to the parking thing.  I should not have parked there because there was not a parking spot.  Other people were doing it also but that still does not make it right.

This holding myself to a higher standard than others has slowly evolved.  When I was interning with my Dad in college we had a meeting with a lawyer when writing a contract.  The lawyer said they we could use the word “or” instead of “and” and they would never catch it.  In my mind I thought that was a great idea.  My dad told the lawyer “that is not how we do business.  We are going to be honest and up front.”  That meeting still sticks out in my mind.

Are you doing things because everyone else is doing them or are you doing things because you are a person of strong moral character?

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