Like Kids In A Candy Store: Be Careful!

Remember as a kid, standing in front of the candy or ice cream counter looking at all the flavors to choose from? You wander across the counter drooling and imagining the possibilities.

Today as adults, we wander across our values, looking at buckets of integrity, trust, family, or faith, and we seem to say “Oh, I’m good, I have plenty of that.” And we reach for the bucket of more money, better looks, being smarter, or a bigger job title instead.

When we are asked about our values – we lean into honesty, trust, relationships, and authenticity. And like kids searching for which candy or ice cream treat they want most, we spend our time, money, and effort in pursuit of extrinsic items – money, a boat, a country club, or an all-expense-paid trip – as our priority. And as beauty, brains, and bucks shape our focus, we achieve some measure of these, we often read about some people sacrificing their core values to achieve extrinsic rewards. It seems to get what we want, sometimes we sacrifice the things we most desperately need.  

“We buy things we don’t need, with money we don’t have, to impress people we don’t know.” ~ Rick Warren

We actually say things like, “Oh, I bent the rules a little” or “Hey, I had to, just like everybody else or I’ll fall behind” or ”It was either that or nothing” or “Honey, just let me finish this, and we’ll play later.”

We are great at getting what we want – we learned over the first 18 years of our life to get what we wanted by shaping the external environment through tantrums, sulking, fibbing, or holding back information. We got better and better at achieving what we wanted, to the point we sometimes wobble on what we say we stand for.

“Leaders do not fail others, they fail themselves.” ~ Bill George

Everybody seems to want more ice cream, not more spinach. And then sometimes, as we read about someone with 2 houses, 2 boats, a big bank balance, and no wrinkles, and they are running on empty to those things they say are most important.

We earn ice cream, and candy as kids as a reward for chores and grades. In today’s swipe right or swipe left instant gratification society, are we really earning today’s adult candy?

Wants achieved and earned from our values and character inspires others. Wants earned from bending the truth, weaken us, and we may enjoy our rewards, less. We are adults now, not kids. Be careful what we want more of, it can be the preverbal slippery slope.

“Integrity is doing the right thing regardless of reward or consequence.” ~ John Maxwell


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