13
Sep
09

Life is a Journey, Character is a Destination

Former US president Bill Clinton was once quoted saying, “Character is a journey, not a destination”, to which Newsweek writer Joe Klein responded, “No, life is a journey; character is a destination reached by the actions of a life.”

Clinton was criticized that his word was no good. But let us forget about Clinton for a while and focus instead on the importance of a man’s word. Imagine a man whose word is always taken with a grain of salt, with whom people wouldn’t make a deal unless it is covered by legal documentation and financial security. It would be very difficult for that man to do business.

In my industry, trading activity amounting to millions takes place everyday, and oftentimes the only contract is the verbal agreement through phone and there isn’t even a text message for confirmation and record purposes. Since the market is eternally fluctuating, traders also lose millions in a single deal and it is often very tempting to default from a losing contract because the other party doesn’t have anything to legally enforce it. Fortunately, our industry is very tight, and once a player loses his reputation with another trader, he will really have a problem doing business with everyone else.

One of my closest friends remarked that this very nature of the industry in which I belong significantly shaped my attitude to the point that it trickled down to the way I handle my personal relationships and social dealings. I think she’s right, and while a lot of people might consider my businesslike attitude as a good thing, my friend told me that it takes out the  spontaneity, the humanity, the fun. She further said that a man should not treat a romantic relationship like a business contract, because for the woman there will always be that fine print at the bottom of the page that the man failed to read.

I think she has a point. But thankfully, not all women are like that. And I really believe that a woman of integrity, no matter how fickle minded she may be at times, will always show her true unchanging character.

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Attempts at uncovering the underlying simplicity beneath apparently complex concepts as well as the core complexity within seemingly straightforward issues

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