We All Need A Moral Compass (EP.137)

True North

Introduction

Some people call it your True North. No matter; the questions are

  1. Do you have one?
  2. If you have one, what is it?
  3. Why is that your True North/Moral Compass?
  4. Do you follow it?

That’s the subject of today’s 10-minute podcast.

Continuing

Having a moral compass is a recurring theme for those of us at Revolution 2.0™. I refer to its importance frequently in my semi-weekly blog/podcast, so it is entirely appropriate for us to return to the subject from time-to time. The last time was over a year ago.

If you don’t have a solid moral compass that you follow, then nothing else matters. Nothing. You will simply be a cork on the oceans of life, following the changing paths of the tides, currents and waves. I know; I have been there. And I still have to fight to stay with and strengthen my adherence to my moral compass.

Pause for definitions. For purposes of this discussion, Moral compass and True North are interchangeable. I like the term moral compass because it means more to me, it anchors me better. I will use both here in the event that your preference is different from mine. A mechanical compass works because when used at all correctly, it points to a fixed point outside of itself, allowing the user to stay on track. The location of the magnetic north, which is what the compass points to, is not in the exact location as true north. To get to true north using a compass, you would need to apply declination to the compass heading. But precision like that is entirely unnecessary and beside the point. We are working to find our way in life, not shoot missiles 5K miles with the intention of hitting a precise location.

What are some examples of an effective moral compass? And how do you know? Two things: 1. Your north has to be something born and fueled outside of you–with externally inspired values, goals and checkpoints. The danger is that our own internally generated principles may lull us into a false sense of commitment. There must be an outside entity to learn from, and to act as a touchstone–a place to check in to see how we are handling ourselves. This does not mean that you don’t need to internalize the external teachings and examples; all is certainly lost if you don’t. But it is equally certain that it cannot be just you. 2. That outside entity must be powerful enough to keep you on track even when it is hard. If your north’s power and influence in your life is weak, so will be your adherence to it.

What are some examples where both criteria are met? God comes immediately to mind. Whatever your definition, God meets both criteria–external and powerful. Depending upon your path to God, the external writings, religious leaders, ceremonies, legacies, etc. will be different, but each path has its external–and powerful–teachings, values and inspirations.

Teachers, whether more well-known masters like Confucius and Buddha, or somewhat lesser lights like Rumi and Lao Tsu, qualify as external and, if taken seriously, powerful. As do more modern leaders like Rick Warren or Tony Robbins. Philosophers such as Aristotle can also be a solid foundation for a true north. Look no further than his Nicomachean Ethics for support for this claim.

Are there some examples of wrong places to seek help to form and maintain your true north? Well, Snapple bottle caps are one example (no laughing here–I have seen worse). And Satan worship would be out. Better the Snapple cap.

Even harder than developing a true north is staying true to it. You will be besieged by teachings and cliches like, “You have to get along to go along.” and “If you ain’t cheatin’, you ain’t trying.” Perhaps the most diabolically tempting is, “Just this once. You will have plenty of time to correct things later.” The “just this once” part is bad enough; there really are slippery slopes out there. And “later” is always now. Always.

  1. How do I make sure that I will never fall off the path? A. You can’t. That would be like a child shedding their bicycle training wheels for the first time asking, “How do I make sure that I won’t fall while riding my bike?” The answer is to be careful, and get right back on when you fall. Have you ever seen a child learning to walk? Don’t they fall over and over, just to get up again and again? That’s how they learn. And that’s what we need to do. When we drift away from our true north, course adjust, recommit, and go back at it.

What is your moral compass, and what does it mean to you? Please respond in the comments; I am interested. As are others.

Segueing from the specifics of today’s topic to overall principles, the core, driving principles at Revolution 2.0, are:

  1. Personal Responsibility; take it, teach it and,
  2. Be Your Brother’s Keeper. The answer to the biblical question, “Am I my brother’s keeper?” is a ringing, unequivocal “Yes.” There is no other answer.

And do it all in love; without love, these are empty gestures, destined to go nowhere and mean nothing.

If we apply those two core principles, personal responsibility and brother’s keepers, simultaneously, never only one or the other, we will always be on the right path. Depending upon what we face, one principle or the other may appropriately be given more emphasis, but they are always acted upon together.

The Founders, Revolution 1.0, were declared traitors by the British Crown, and their lives were forfeit if caught. We risk very little by stepping up and participating in Revolution 2.0™. In fact, we risk our futures if we don’t. I am inviting you, recruiting you, to join Revolution 2.0™ today. Join with me in using what we know how to do–what we know we must do–to everyone’s advantage. Let’s practice thinking well of others as we seek common goals, research the facts that apply to those goals, and use non agenda-based reasoning to achieve those goals together. Practice personal responsibility and be your brother’s keeper.

Let’s continue to build on the revolutionary vision that we inherited. Read the blog, listen to the podcast, subscribe, recruit, act. Here’s what I mean by “acting.”

  • Read the blogs and/or listen to the podcasts.
  • Comment in the blogs. Let others know what you are thinking.
  • Subscribe and recommend that others subscribe as well.
  • Attach links from blogs into your social media feeds. Share your thoughts about the link.
  • From time-to-time, attach links to blogs in emails that mention related subjects. Or just send the links to family and friends.

Revolution 1.0 in 1776 was built by people talking to other people, agreeing and disagreeing, but always finding ways to stay united and go forward. Revolution 2.0 will be built the same way.

Join me. Join the others. Think about what we are talking about and share these thoughts and principles with others. Subscribe, encourage others to subscribe. Act. Let’s grow this together.

And visit the store. Fun stuff, including hats, mugs and t-shirts. Recommend other items that you’d like to see.

Links and References

Nicomachean Ethics

Path to Good Living and Sound Politics (EP. 129)

Contact

As we get ready to wrap up, please do respond in the blog with comments or questions about this podcast or anything that comes to mind, or connect with me on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn. And you can subscribe to the podcast on your favorite device through Apple Podcasts, Google, or Stitcher.

Now it is time for our usual parting thought. It is not enough to be informed. It is not enough to be a well informed voter. We need to act. And if we, you and I, don’t do something, then the others who are doing something, will continue to run the show.

Know your stuff, then act on it. Knowing your stuff without acting is empty; acting without knowing is dangerous.

Will Luden, writing to you from my home office at 7,200’ in Colorado Springs.

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Will Luden

I am your host, Will Luden, former long-time high-tech CEO and Board Chair. I had no idea when I started this podcast that it would become the highest calling of my professional career. Lincoln famously hoped that a government, “…of the people, by the people and for the people…”, would not perish from this earth. My hope, the reason for Revolution 2.0 ”A Booster Shot”, is that a government based on common goals, achieved by applying non agenda-based reasoning to core facts, will allow us to continue to build on our mutual inheritance of a legacy of dedication to seemingly impossible ideals, a legacy that also includes a history of achieving them.
Will Luden
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