Nowadays it seems that at every step and turn some highly revered and respected individual gets exposed to doing something he or she should not be doing.
Politicians, entertainers, athletes, captains of industry, judges and even clergymen are not spared, especially in these days of social media and citizen journalism. When someone of high reputation gets exposed the fall is earth-shattering with far-reaching implications.
Please note that I am not talking about the poor or non-achievers. I refer to those groups of people that have reached the peak of their professions, who have attained the status of being rich, influential and successful.
Respected role models exposed engaging in things that are the antithesis of the image they project thereby leading to eternal shame and disgrace. The reason why stories like this prevail in our society today is because many people fail to develop the character required to get to the top and remain there.
Now character is a widely used word with diverse meanings. I would define it for the purpose of this discourse as the outward expression of your inner values and belief systems. In other words your character is who you are when nobody is watching, what some people term as the real you.
It is a combination of your beliefs and your values, basically things you have come to accept as true as a result of influence agents around you such as the environment, religion, upbringing, peers etc. Even though you have accepted them they are not always true, correct or fair.
Character is constantly changing, either for better or for worse but the essential thing is to check and analyse your character from time to time in order to ensure that you have the right traits to aid you on your road to wealth, fame and fortune. This is because the pressure at the top is intense, everyone is watching for a sign of your weakness and many will gloat when you fall.
Of what use is getting to the pinnacle of your profession/life’s work only to fall flat on your face?
In almost all cases people’s undoing was as a result of their weaknesses. A good strategy is to study and identify your weaknesses. Do this now that you are not yet successful identify and take steps to control and minimise them, if you cannot totally destroy them. A weakness is your weakest link, work on yourself in those areas as these are the places you are prone to falling. Weaknesses stem from character flaws.
Who could have believed several years ago in Nigeria that bank CEOs could be arrested and arraigned for stealing, fraud and mismanagement of resources? No these individuals belonged to an elite group of supermen and women that everybody envied and could do no wrong.
What happened to them? I make bold to declare that when they were in lower positions they did not deal with issues of taking what did not belong to them and falsifying records. This trait was in them all along that when they got to the big stage it became their undoing.
Two examples of individuals who were on the world stage and literally shot themselves in the foot by not working on their character and weaknesses are that of Dominique Strauss-Kahn, former managing director of the IMF (International Monetary Fund) and Elliot Spitzer, the former Governor of New York.
Strauss-Kahn, by virtue of his position was the most powerful banker in Europe and was tipped as a future contender for President of France. Things were looking good for him until allegations of rape and sexual indiscretions from his private life began to be exposed in the media. He had to resign from the IMF in disgrace and ruin, his political career in tatters.
Elliot Spitzer got to the pinnacle of his political career becoming governor of the State of New York in 2007 after having served as attorney general. He had a reputation of being tough on crime and big business that resonated with the voters thus winning him the vote. Barely two years into his tenure he was exposed as having patronised prostitutes and he had to immediately resign his post. His political career was destroyed and he never recovered.
None of these individuals had thought that their careers would end in ruin when they got to the pinnacle. This is why it is extremely important if you desire wealth and success to learn from the mistakes of others who wrecked theirs. Experience is not the best teacher, rather other people’s experience is.
Wisdom dictates that you check your life and identify what could be a stumbling block as you aspire to the top so you can plug it. Look, even if it means seeking external help then by all means do it. Your success is much too important to lose on the altar of weakness/character flaws. By all means ethical strive to sustain what you have worked so hard for. You can’t afford to fail.