Why Grace, Humility, And Thankfulness Matter In Our Lives

It is easy for any human including this writer to be judgmental and critical of others.  We tend to ignore facts, become opinionated, and focus on the negative. I wish there was a definitive answer regarding this aspect of human conduct and someone could provide a meaningful analysis as to why this is? Please permit me to take a rough shot at an answer.

Humans are experts at deflecting criticism, prone to being irresponsible, demonstrate a lack of accountability, and blame others for circumstances in our lives. Yes, we are flawed. If you are a numbers person reading this, the financial ledger is clearly tilting in a precarious position. Fortunately, there is the other side of the balance sheet that can neutralize these flaws and bring out our best traits, values, and principles we believe in.

Former American and famed politician, Margaret Chase Smith, provided some thoughtful insight into the matter when she said, “Every human being is entitled to courtesy and consideration.  Constructive criticism is not only to be expected but sought.” She was clearly building a significant foundation for her moral and ethical code. We can emulate Margaret Chase Smith as well by exhibiting grace, humility, and being thankful in our lives. While hard to be consistent, there are few traits more important.

What does matter to me from an ethical/moral point is whether faith is part of your moral compass or not. It is in the faith area that grace, humility, and thankfulness are essential to our physical and mental well-being.

The following points are worth some reflection in terms of how we conduct our personal and business lives. Please think about your own buckets of grace, humility, and thankfulness.  Are you actively aware and practicing them each day of your life?

1. Humans pick winners and losers in all phases of daily living. How can we learn to win if we cannot learn to lose? The greatest championship golfer in history, American Jack Nicklaus, always congratulated any opponent who beat him simply saying, “I was outplayed and he deserved to win.” His grace was consistently astounding. He was grateful and thankful for his wins; never boasting about his successes.

2. In the workplace, as team leaders or team members, do we together credit each other for success or in defeat finger point and assess blame onto others? I am going to submit that any important achievements we have accomplished in some way are attributed to the assistance and or guidance we have received from others. Our ethical and moral codes must reflect this concept.

3. In our personal lives are we thanking our spouses, family members, and friends for supporting us? If we are thankful, our sincerity becomes more personalized and converts into gratitude. When gratitude is alive and well, ethical conduct is generally close by.

4. Are we actively “paying it forward” in some ways? All of us at some point in our lives have been the beneficiaries of a parent, friend, teacher, pastor, or coach that took his/her time to help us. How difficult can it be to carve out some time to teach, develop, and enrich others in some aspect or phase of their lives?

The list of people who have helped me is a long one; no words can express my gratitude and thankfulness to them. They shaped me into a less flawed human being and I am humbled to my bones.

5. Lastly, how does faith stack up and what role does it play in our lives? In asking the question, I am making an assumption that most of us believe in some superior being. Whether you identify that being as “God” or not isn’t of personal importance to me. That is your choice and I respect it completely.

What does matter to me from an ethical/moral point is whether faith is part of your moral compass or not. It is in the faith area that grace, humility, and thankfulness are essential to our physical and mental well-being.

My late father said to me, “Son, think before you speak and speak before you act.” Those words resonate and have stayed with me through thick and thin. They are wise words to remember.

In order to lead productive, meaningful, ethical lives we must include grace, humility, and thankfulness into our moral compasses. I urge all of you to work with me on this every day. Always do your best. No one can ask anymore or less of us.

All the best/blessings, Mark


Mark Faris
Mark Faris
MARK was born in New York City and currently lives in Minneapolis. He attended the University of Wisconsin-Madison where he graduated with a B.A. in sociology and speech communications. His entire career spanning 36 years has been in executive sales, marketing, business development, and organizational strategy. He has started and owned three businesses, including a $23 million computer networking company, started up two new sales divisions for publicly telecommunication/data companies including Sprint/Nextel, and was a Board Member for a $225 million U.K. technology manufacturer and distributor. He currently is President of MPV Ethics, LLC., an ethics training and consulting company working with organizations to build better ethical cultures. Mark also has the unique distinction of being convicted for two felonies: mail/wire fraud and money laundering and spent eleven months in a federal prison and halfway house returning to his family in June 2010. He has given over 150 presentations to high school students, universities, B-schools, law schools, and professional audiences regarding the importance of personal and business ethics in our lives. At the core of his renewed philosophy is identification of purpose, building a strong moral compass that helps us effectively deal with dilemmas of all types and sizes. His passion to teach, enrich, and develop others be successful , accountable, and improving the lives of others.

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