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Choices: Lessons from Prison - Consequences from Ethical Choices: A Daily Memoir

business ethics, ethics, corporate ethics

With over ten years behind me since I walked into Federal Prison, I can clearly see the effects of the choices we make. We can wander in the illusion of life and think that we have eluded the consequences of our choices, but those consequences are inescapable. Whether in our personal life or in business, the choices we make on a daily basis will always have a consequence.

Don’t mistake, however, the word – consequence. Consequence doesn’t carry with it an emotional outcome of good or bad. Consequence is just the outcome. Whether it is good or bad depends on the choice made and how the recipient feels about the consequence. Let me give you an example from a perspective that looks back over some time.

The day I walked through those prison doors was clearly one of the worst days of my life. I can’t begin to describe how low, unworthy, and valueless I felt as I took on my new identity. I went from being what some folks would describe as “somebody” to being what most would call a “nobody.” I was effectively the lowest of low in our society. Yet, looking back over my life since then, I found that this was one of the most valuable experiences of my life. Not only did I learn many valuable lessons that have been life changing, I’ve also found that sharing these lessons have been beneficial to others.

One of the greatest gifts we can give to others is to help them along their journey. Afterall we are souls having a human experience.

The following is my journal from the first day after my admission into Federal Prison. Perhaps the insight will help others. Read it and see where it takes you.

October 3, 1995.

I've been here less than 24 hours and understand that I will have time for reflection. I also now appreciate a good mattress! Sleeping on a 4-inch thick plastic mattress stretched across metal bars is not very comfortable. Should I expect more? This is prison.

As a new inmate there is nothing to do. I need to concern myself with something, but what -- I have no idea. For now, I'm writing to my children. My first letter from prison, and I feel sad. I know will be amazing how much they will grow during my absence. It's clear to me, that no amount of money can replace the loss that I feel right now.

It's been less than 24 hours and I have never had so much time to do what I want and the lack of freedom to do it. What I want is what I can't have.

It's 9:10 p.m. My cellmate, Buck, and I have just had an interesting conversation. It took some time for Buck to ask me what I was in for. Still being concerned about self-preservation, I told him I was a thief. He asked me what I stole? I said, “money.” He asked, “how much?” And a sternly as I could muster a response, I responded, “Is it really important how much?" We both seemed to understand that we were here, for reasons beyond what appeared on the surface. The amount was irrelevant. What was significant was what we did with the time we were given.

As we experience life daily, know that we are all more than what we seem and that each experience that we encounter in life has a purpose and meaning. We may not know at the moment what the meaning is or what value it brings. Make no mistake, meaning is there, we just have to look deep to find it.

As you read these articles, which include Lessons from Prison, you may find that you want to know more. Two specific results, which came from this experience, are the establishment of the Choices Foundation, a non-profit organization and a book that will be published in the late spring of 2007 – Success Beyond Illusion. The Choices Foundation funds educational scholarships for underprivileged youth and speaking to youth in High Schools, Churches and Universities about the effects of the Choices we make. If you would like to schedule a presentation for your organization, contact Chuck Gallagher at www chuckgallagher.com.

Whether the choice you make deals with your spouse, your family, business associates or people seemingly unknown to you, you do have an impact and your choices do have a consequence. In today’s society we seem bombarded with the effects of ethical choices and are reminded that bad choices = negative consequences. For information on how this message can be shared with your group go to www.chuckgallagher.com .


Published: 2007-01-01
Author: Chuck Gallagher

About the author or the publisher
On a crisp October day in 1995, Chuck Gallagher took 23 physical steps… opened a door… and began a new experience that was life-changing. This series of articles explores that experience and the success that followed… while involving the reader in ways that could be life-altering for them. Gallagher captures the heart of the audience in an honest way that deals with human emotion. For information on Chuck’s keynotes and workshops go to www.chuckgallagher.com or for a free ezine on Ethical Choices contact Chuck at chuck@chuckgallagher.com.
www.chuckgallagher.com

Source: www.chuckgallagher.com



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