9/11 Thought: What Rules Do You Follow?
The anniversary of the 9/11 attack by Al Qaeda on America brings to mind a few sad facts about life: people will hate you just because of who you are. They will think they are better than you. And they will try to rule over you.
In my opinion, these people do not live by any rules applicable to life on this planet.
By what rules should the rest of us normal people live? Many wise people throughout the ages have talked about this. I have found many common themes. I have attempted to distill this wisdom into practical use in both my business and my personal life.
My career selling life insurance has been based on two axioms. The first is that your race, religion, gender, ethnic origin, and political persuasion do not matter to me. Certainly, specific factors affect underwriting. For example, women pay lower rates than men; religious missionaries who travel to dangerous third-world locales pay more than those who travel domestically. But when it comes to treating you as a person, these differences do not matter. You deserve treatment as my equal simply because you are a fellow human being.
The second axiom is that the purchase of life insurance is your decision alone to make. In the final analysis, the financial security of your family, your company, and your estate is your business. I am here to make it possible for you to take care of them in one of the most effective ways possible. But it is up to you to buy the product; I don’t sell it to you. I must support your right to say no. You are, after all, running your own life. I cannot run it for you.
I have found these axioms to apply not just in business, but in my life in general. I think this is because respecting the individuality of a person is really a universal ethic. It applies to every person in every place in every time. Both the littlest baby and the oldest elder have a right to their own time and space. We have to let people be themselves, then work with that.
And when people refuse to give us our own time and space, we have a right to get them to back off. We could and should do whatever it takes to get them to realize that this is how the game is played. It is not only our right, but our duty to enforce the rules that apply to everybody. They are good for us, and they are good for them.
What do you think? Do you think that there is a universal ethic for living on this planet? If so, is it different than mine?