LESSONS FOR US ALL IN SENATOR MCCAIN’S APPROACH TO LIFE
THE following passage was recently by Forbes magazine after the death of Senator John McCain, and this article pays tribute to a man who, while a political figure, shone above all else due to his character to leave a legacy of a truly noble human being.
Reflections of an inner dimension highlighting qualities that transcend traditionally recognised skills of great leaders that usually receive accolades and praise.
Senator McCain’s passing last month was marked by many eloquent eulogies in print and in ceremonies, chief among them were speeches by Presidents Barack Obama and George W. Bush.
Most of the countless spoken and written words were praises of the late senator’s many virtues – commitment, patriotism, honour, candour, heroism, sacrifice, courage – all related to his character strengths.
The article also heralded one of his rare character flaws and how he dealt with it: the ability to admit a mistake and to take steps to correct it.
When I read this it brought to mind the heroes of the past who are often referenced as we look to history for guidance in how to apply the lessons learned to avoid a repeat of mistakes as we enter the early phase of the 21st century.
Equally, there are many moments in our own lives when we are pressured to make decisions only later to realise that in the haste of making the decision it has cost us our sense of judgment and possibly led to an error with ongoing consequences.
But if we take a leaf out of the late Senator’s exemplary approach to recognise a mistake and fix it – it will illustrate great maturity, candour and courage.
Often it is the pursuit of success that triggers a hasty decision, only later to realise that it was the wrong decision, based on a motive that was fuelled by our ego or selfinterest.
There is a massive character deficit in today’s society – especially evident in the business world, with major corporates making the headlines for unacceptable management that is detrimental to their valued customers.
Most recently the Royal Commission into the banking and insurance industry has brought to the surface practices that are not for the greater good of the society.
Tinkering around the edges, or trying to retrofit qualities of character won’t close the gap.
We need to redesign the majority of our businesses from the ground up. The abuse of corporate power is abundantly clear to most of us, with the worst examples that have been exposed have pursued profit at any cost.
We need profitable companies, but profit must not come at the expense of – “human happiness” and “securing the peace and wellbeing” of all people.
On the firm foundation of these aspirations, fostering qualities of character, in all of our institutions, from preschool right up to the boardroom must be a priority.
Whether in a family setting or employees in the office, the foundations of integrity emanate from an environment where truthfulness is encouraged and rewarded.