Thursday, November 17, 2005

Living your Values

I have been thinking about values of late. I have come to have known many interesting and diverse people, who have different backgrounds and different values.

Money or Modesty
When I was in college, I was friends with someone who sold equipment to companies to earn money for college. I am not sure exactly what he sold – but he asked if I wanted to accompany him to a strip club one day. I think he just wanted to impress me that "he was dealing with a strip club." Anyway, I had never been to one, so I said, sure, let's go.

I was a little sheltered, so this was the most degenerate thing I had done to date. Remember, in college, and I degenerated afterwards. Well, the club had not opened yet (I thought they were open all of the time), so it was like any other shut-down bar, except there was a stage or runway or whatever.

My friend was meeting with the manager who had been talking with two women (girls?). Both looked young to me, younger than me – who could not be in the establishment when open since I was under the drinking age. I could not believe they were 21.

Well, when the manager went to do something else, my friend and I had an opportunity to talk with these two. They needed money for college – and thought stripping was an easy way to do this. Sally-Mae, move over, gentleman's club to the rescue. And my friend, I had thought, was just a normal guy, and I assumed that he thought stripping was okay. Well, while we mingled (not sure if it was the right word, but as it implies, we were engaging in small talk), my friend started to ask the girls if they really wanted to strip for money.

He was asking them about their values – he did not use these words, but in fact, he was asking "Do you value money more than your modesty?" Or maybe other things. The respect of others. I know if I was a stripper, any one I dated would think they would "get some", if you know what I mean. Okay, I am blunt, so everyone should know what I mean.

There are trade-offs.

Money or Relationships
I read of someone who had a goal of making one million dollars in one year. He was a salesman, and it was an ambitious goal for him. He concentrated on his one goal, and he achieved it. But his wife divorced him, one of his children turned to drugs and he damaged relationships with other family-members. He valued money – something that his goal of making $1 Million in a year brought, respect from other salespeople, or whatever.

Now I am not sure the salesman or the strippers did what was central to their values. I don't know their value system – and sometimes we do things that are not logical. How many men (or women) cheat on a spouse and threaten the thing they hold most dear?

I know I may get some criticism for using money and something else for the two examples. But I try and keep my entries short. Once could easily think of deciding between compassion and displaying intelligence. How many times have we heard a person say something that was true but cruel? And the only reason they made the statement was so that others would get a glimpse of their brilliance.

I know, not a lot of Tits or Ass in the post – even if it did have a strip club. Not my usual self. Perhaps I will get dirtier tomorrow.


Long Iron said...

Your on a roll this week.

Again, our values are our own belief system in what is right and what is just. A little Confucionism; " The mind of the superior man is conversant with righteousness; the mind of the mean man is conversant with gain."
When we do things that compromise our core values; does it not make it that much more difficult to look ourselves in the eye when we are in front of the mirror? Or are our eyes downcast knowing that we have not lived up to our own moral expectations. Which one guide us; fear or self-interest?

Another great post Leesa.

Sassy said...

Leesa, your posts are always wonderfully thought provoking. The tits & ass is just a fabulous bonus. :)

~Deb said...

Leesa, this was an awesome post. It really shows you that money can't buy everything, and family and friends are so much more important...

Great message! Really loved this one!

Prata said...

Question! I'm really just curious because I'm lacking the necessary faculties to process it. Can you truly care about something you willingly destroy? Blaming a lapse in judgment seems to miss the point that judgment is not relevant issue (in my eyes) when deciding to willingly destroy something you care for.

As an example put forth by yourself, cheating on one's spouse. Something dear to you means you take precautions to not harm it. You make a point to care for it, does being careless rationalize the cheating? You can't accidentally cheat, you willingly do it correct? What does that say about how you care about the relationship? Just a question because I'm not sure I necessarily know!

As far as choosing between money and relationships? I suppose that really depends on your view. For some, money is the key to continue an already thriving relationship. For others money is the key to saving a breaking relationship. It's a highly subjective thing I suppose. For some it may be that the relationship, no matter what else happens in the course of a lifetime is more important. Others want a balance of both.

Personally, if I become so obsessed with this one thing that it causes the demise of something else, that is a definite imbalance and means I as a person am lacking some necessary component to deal with certain aspects of my life with any amount of reason.

I suppose.

ken said...

great post..again...

Bert Ford said...

I’ve heard of those before. My family tryed to give me some, but they didn’t take.
If somebody wants to take their clothes off & somebody wants to watch & stick money in their G-string, More power to ‘em. I feel the same way about whores & other capitalistic commerce. Anything that moves the economy forward is okay by me. I’m an artist, but I seldom have the time to do what I want. (chickens not withstanding) I spend my days using what little talent I have to create other peoples ideas. Not the optimum situation, but I need to eat. Don’t get me wrong I love my job. I just sometimes feel like a stripper that REALLY likes gettin’ nekkid.
I don’t personaly frequent like strip clubs. If my friends wanna go, I’ll go. It’s just that if someone is gonna take their clothes off for me I want ‘em to mean it. And, I don’t find the thrill of sticking a buck in a g-string worth a dollar.

The Seeker said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
The Seeker said...

The reality is that we all have different drives. What is right for one is not always right for another. Cultural mores develop over time, but take europe for example people there are extremely non-body conscious. Many commercials feature nudity. Topless beaches abound. Sure you might feel initial titillation from seeing this, but it goes away quickly.

I'd say the friend in your example was a prude. Being uncomfortable with the naked human form. I think further that he invited you along so he would not feel sullied or otherwise dirty by his entrance to such an establishment

kathi said...

That's true, and I've known a few who have traded someones feelings for their own recognition.
I always enjoy you, you don't need to always be lengthy to capture someones attention. Your mind does that all by itself.

Leesa said...

long iron: "Which one guide us; fear or self-interest?" Actually, I think fear controls us if we let it.

sassygirl: tits and ass today.

deb and ken: thanks

prata: You asked: "Can you truly care about something you willingly destroy?" You are assuming we are rational people all of the time. We care about more than one thing at a time. Let's look at something as simple as caring about employees. Manager shows up late for a meeting - and through her actions, shows that she does not value the employees as much as her wonderful chicken salad. Is this truly what she values chicken over people, probably not.

seeker: You said "people there are extremely non-body conscious. Many commercials feature nudity." I would say that Europeans are not non-body conscious, but that nudity is not taboo. Do they sell more shampoo with a little tit? Probably. That's why the commercial is made. But I understand your point. I just wanted to type "tit."

kathi: thanks, you are always so sweet.

nosthegametoo said...

Excellent Post!!!

I find that a lot of people are under the assumption that you can "have it all." There's a cost to everything. All I can do is make sure I'm willing to pay the cost of what I want.

My core values are priceless; I don't want to pay for an accomplishment with the values and judgments that make me who I am.

All we can take with us, is what we leave behind (obviously not MY quote, but I believe it).

Prata said...

Concerning chicken salad. Hrmm...well. Nourishment vs. meeting. Or, I could point out that cheating vs. meeting isn't exactly a relevant or fair comparison. It's not on the same playing field as destroying a relationship vs. being late for a meeting. What exactly is at stake here? Certainly the loyalty of your employees which are for all intents and purposes expendable (they are after all simply labor no matter how much you care for them they are still just labor) is not so important as the trust in a marriage for instance.

Leesa said...

nothegame: Love your blog, by the way. Very interesting.

prata: employees are more than just labor. Most people who cheat don't really believe they will get caught, by the way. Monica could have ruined Bill Clinton's legacy - something he cared deeply for. I bet he never dreamed he would be caught by an average intern. He was head of a freekin' country.

Prata said...

I have to disagree with you on the employee thing. They are just labor. All employees can be replaced. That is why they are employees. Are they people? Well yes of course, and you should treat them as humans; however, they are still just employees. Last I checked company's rid themselves of employees on a regular basis and hire new ones if rules are not followed or production is not what it shouldn't be. Is this not true?

And the expectation of getting caught is a moot point. You're still doing something purposely damaging if you _were_ to get caught. A child doesn't expect to put his eye out playing with a pellet gun for instance, but if/when he does was it any less damaging? Does it somehow mitigate the instance? Driving drunk is another okay example I guess. If you purposely drive drunk despite knowing the consequences; if you kill someone does that make it okay because you didn't think you'd do anything like that? Law says no, you get locked up and your license revoked for that. I'm sure MADD would also disagree with the mitigation factor. Just because you dont' expect to get caught does not make what you're doing any less harmful. (I think we're beyond the "right or wrong" thing here)

Clinton reminds me of the King you were talkin' about. Ordinary man...King of a country. ^_^