While walking around the Philippine Military Academy (P.M.A.) in Baguio City, I saw a plaque containing some very familiar words that I first read during high school C.A.T. (Citizen Army Training).
“We, the cadets, do not lie, cheat, steal, nor tolerate among us those who do so.” — Cadet Honor Code
That’s something we can and SHOULD all live by and it’s simply unfortunate that certain people don’t. Some people got elected into office by giving false promises and lying to millions of people. Some people obtained a lot of money selling cheap products and cheating customers. Some people also received ill-gotten wealth through crime and corruption.
While there certainly are people who became “rich and successful” through illegitimate means, you must NEVER make the mistake of thinking that it’s the only way to become successful. That wrong belief will either keep you in poverty, or it will encourage you to commit crime in order to “get ahead.” You won’t want the results of either of those. Always remember that integrity is an absolute necessity to become truly successful.
The Most Valuable Ingredient of Success (that People Ignore)
You can have nearly anything you want in life… but only if you’re willing to work and EARN it. Unfortunately, so many people are tempted to ignore that rule. Napoleon Hill and Orison Swett Marden both warned against the tendency to “get something for nothing” as it’s the cause of a lot of difficulties and hardships, especially regarding money.
Speaking of money problems, there’s a famous saying, “money is the root of all evil.”
The COMPLETE verse says that “the LOVE OF MONEY is the root of all evil.” (1 Timothy 6:10 KJV). What does that mean?
The burglar who broke into someone’s home to steal money and jewelry loved money more than their respect of the law and other people’s property and hard work. The murderer who killed people just to steal their wallets loved money more than their respect for people’s lives. The politician who promised peace and eternal happiness in their campaign (i.e. “lied”) yet simply stole from government funds through corrupt rule loved money more than the well-being of millions of people. That’s how the love of money (or power) causes evil.
Money is simply a tool we all use to do or obtain stuff, and it’s what we do with it or what we do to earn it that counts. It’s not money that’s evil. It’s the PEOPLE who committed crimes to get it who are. There’s nothing wrong with having a lot of money as long as you earned and use it righteously.
Do not attempt to get money through illegitimate means. Like making fake promises (“I’ll pay you back, promise!”), cheating customers, backstabbing coworkers to get the next promotion, or padding resumes with fake achievements, lying, cheating, and stealing can work to give you what you want… but only for a while. The truth will always come out, the lies will fall like a house of cards, retribution will be immense… and you’ll have nobody to blame for it but yourself. Avoid it at all costs.
“That which can be destroyed by the truth should be” — P.C. Hodgell
The RIGHT Way to Wealth?
There’s one lesson from Russell H. Conwell’s Acres of Diamonds speech about “evil rich/successful people” that I’ll never forget:
“‘Oh,’ but says some young man here to-night, ‘I have been told all my life that if a person has money he is very dishonest and dishonorable and mean and contemptible.’
My friend, that is the reason why you have none, because you have that idea of people. The foundation of your faith is altogether false. Let me say here clearly, and say it briefly, though subject to discussion which I have not time for here, ninety-eight out of one hundred of the rich men of America are honest. That is why they are rich. That is why they carry on great enterprises and find plenty of people to work with them. It is because they are honest men.
Says another young man, ‘I hear sometimes of men that get millions of dollars dishonestly.’ Yes, of course you do, and so do I. But they are so rare a thing in fact that the newspapers talk about them all the time as a matter of news until you get the idea that all the other rich men got rich dishonestly.”
While you read news about corrupt business people and politicians, you usually WON’T hear news about all the honest and hardworking successful people out there. The surgeon who earns millions a month for saving lives? The wealthy owner of the hospital that heals and treats hundreds of patients a day? The owner of the electronics plant that created your computer? The owner of the chain of stores that SOLD you your computer? The owners of the companies that packed and sold the food you eat? The people who earned wealth honestly by creating and selling you the things you want and use? They earned wealth honestly by creating value, and yet you hear nothing about them even though they FAR outnumber the bad ones.
The lesson here is simple:
You NEED honesty, integrity, and good moral character to earn lasting success. Businesses that cheat their customers lose them and go bankrupt, liars lose the support of friends and family, and criminals go to jail. On the other hand, businesses that provide honest and excellent services and products get more customers, honest people find great friends and family who can help them become more successful, and great people get rewarded with excellent relationships and opportunities.
Do good to earn money. Create something or do something that people want, and find a way to get paid for it. If you think about it carefully, that’s how you earn money from your job or business by the way, and there’s nothing wrong with it. The possibilities to the things you can do are endless. You just need to find what works for you and learn how to do it.
Earn wealth and success righteously. It’s the more difficult road, yet it’s the only road WORTH taking.