Ethics versus Experience


Wisdom Key

We live in a period of unprecedented opportunity. The secrets of enduring advantage are available to anyone who wishes to climb to the very pinnacle of achievement. Each article in this series highlights two critical attributes from our book, 101 Keys to Achievement and Fulfillment. This is the sixteenth installment. Determine your favourite key as you travel this incredible journey. Enjoy the read!!!


It has become a feature these days to see universities take up full page adverts showing pictures of students who fraudulently gained admission with fake certificates and other unapproved means and have therefore been dismissed. You sometimes look at the innocent looking ladies and gentlemen with their names and details published in such a humiliating way and convince yourself that it would be an adequate deterrent to anyone who may be contemplating a similar act.

Instead, every year the number seems to go up and the new attempts seem even more daring. Recently, there was a highly-publicised investigation into a case of students alleged to have bribed a university professor to influence their examination results. In another instance, results of an election for student leadership were annulled because of widespread electoral malpractices and rigging; a phenomenon you would not expect from young aspiring leaders. Today, the athletic achievements of Marion Jones, Tim Montgomery, Dwain Chambers, Lance Armstrong and a host of other achievers in sports are dimmed by the spectacle of cheating through drugs.

Excellence and competitiveness are totally compatible with honesty and integrity. The A student the four minute miler, the high jump record holder – all strong winners – can achieve those results without resorting to cheating. People who cheat are simply weak.” – Jack Welch (CEO, General Electric)

We live in a generation where many believe that the end justifies the means. To them all is well that ends well. Is it any wonder that even children are now part of the cycle of corruption? What would the future of a country be if 15 year-old students taking their Basic Education examinations are reputed to be collecting money from parents to pay for “leaked” examination papers? What moral courage would parents who succumb to such requests have to correct their children when they go wrong? Anything built on that kind of foundation will not last.

Success that is achieved unethically or without a set of values is questionable. Ethics is “a set of moral principles governing or influencing conduct.” Standards on the other hand, are “a degree of quality, level of achievement regarded as desirable and necessary for some purpose.” A person seeking to succeed the right way must make a value judgement on all issues. This would enable them to assess things as good or bad based on their own standards or priorities. Compile your own set of non-negotiable personal standards that will act as a barometer for your life. They could be in the form of short sentences like “I will always lead by example,” “I will uphold integrity, even under pressure,” or “I shall always respect others.”

Build your life and career on an ethical foundation with stones of honesty, character, integrity, faith, love and loyalty. Being ethical is not only the right way; it is also the most practical way to live. The world would be rather chaotic without ethics.


The main benefits of having a set of ethics, standards or values are:

  1. Ethics help to define who you are and who you are not.
  2. Ethics define the boundaries of one’s behaviours in a particular context. There are elaborate codes of ethics for certain professions eg. Lawyers, ministers, bankers etc. There are also general ethical standards for all.
  3. One has a very clear mind on issues when your ethics are defined.
  4. Ethics and values define the ideals we aspire towards as a society.


Determine that no matter how committed you are to accomplishing your vision, there are certain compromises you will never make; and certain lines you will never cross with the help of the Lord!!!



The Law of Process underscores the fact that everyone has potential that can be realised through continuous development. Experience is “the skill or judgement gained by practice.” A person’s experience in any field encompasses all the activities he or she has been involved in as well as the successes, failures, mistakes encountered and lessons learnt in the process. That is what gets captured in your resume for the perusal of potential employers or anyone seeking to deal with you.

The story of Abraham Lincoln and his chequered political career has been repeated over the years. What makes him a truly remarkable example was the strength of a man who endured failure in business, lost a number of elections at different levels, suffered the death of his sweetheart and a subsequent nervous breakdown and yet picked himself up to become the elected president of the United States of America and one of its most successful leaders.

His ability to lead so successfully and the great legacy he left must have had something to do with the torturous route he went through to get to the top. By the time he became president, he was truly experienced and ready. He knew what worked and what didn’t; he had tasted rejection, uncertainty and pain and so was ready for the opportunities. That is the value of experience.

Determine to be a fast learner. Quickly learn what you must from every experience you go through. However, great as it is to learn from personal experiences, it is far more beneficial and less expensive to observe those of others and make progress by them. That way, you do not always have to suffer the pain before you learn the lessons. In the words of Dr. Joseph Collins, “A prudent person profits from personal experience, a wise one from the experience of others.”

It is said that there is nothing new under the sun. You therefore do not need to always reinvent the wheel. Learning from the publications and experiences of someone who has successfully established a church or business venture will give you an insight into their mistakes and the secrets of their successes. Thus, you stand the chance of replicating their successes in a shorter time and at less cost.

Decide today to reduce the length of time it takes you to learn and implement new strategies by incorporating into your thought processes, the experiences of others who are ahead of you.


Key Thought: I commit myself to continual development and to learning from my own experiences as well as from credible and relevant experiences of others in the fields in which I intend to excel.





“101 Keys to Achievement & Fulfillment” by Albert & Comfort Ocran


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View life as a continuous learning experience.” – Denis Waitley.



Albert & Comfort Ocran are Executive Coaches, Authors and Media lEducators. Their extensive list of corporate training clients can be found in the mining, petrochemical, banking, insurance, finance, telecommunications, manufacturing, public sector and not-for-profit agencies. You can reach them at [email protected] or [email protected] or call, SMS or Whatsapp 024 9999 000.

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