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Choices: Negative Consequences or Positive Results of our Ethical Choices

business ethics, corporate ethics, ethics, success

Over ten years ago I learned a profound lesson: You reap what you sow. While many people feel that they can avoid consequences - one thing is for sure – consequences are inevitable. Every choice we make will ultimately yield a result. In my case, unethical choices resulted in a prison sentence. The following is an excerpt from my journal. As I look back I now know that we have more control over our destiny than many think. Our choices can, in fact, yield negative consequences (prison as an example) or positive results (professional speaker and business executive today).

Perhaps the excerpt from my memoir may benefit others as they seek to recover from choices they made – afterall we do control prospective positive results since they are all found in the seeds we sow.

October 8, 1995.

Seems like each day is riddled with some emotion. At times, it seems the sadness comes in waves and is more than I can hold back. I feel much compassion, for some of these folks here. There seems to be two types of inmates here – those who will always be in trouble, and those who will grow from the experience and never be back.

This afternoon I went walking on a gravel track. I remember before arriving here, people calling this, “Club Fed." One thing I can assure them, it is no country club! As I was walking, however, I heard Elton John's, “The last song." Seems like every time I turn around, I am bombarded with emotion. A line in the song says, “I never thought I'd lose, I only thought I'd win." That's the way I felt. Then the thought came to me -- maybe by losing -- I win.

I wrote a letter this morning to the members of my former Sunday school class. It reads as follows:

Greetings from prison,

Today is my first Sunday here, and I thought of you. It's 9:45 a.m. and you are just now getting together.

Prison is not bad -- but then I wouldn't recommend anyone join me. The warden's comments are, “you are here as punishment, not for punishment. This philosophy means that you are being held in prison, away from your family, your community, and not being allowed to leave without authorization.” The people here are, for the most part respectful.

I seem to be dealing with being here O.K., however, the pain I feel in being denied being with my children is tough. A parent's bond with their children is strong. Being away a week is not critical, but thinking of missing Christmas is tough. The time, I must spend away seems like an eternity to me. Hopefully, it will pass fast.

I joined the choir here. I always wanted to sing in a black choir -- so here I am. Reminds me of “Forrest Gump" in the church choir he sang in – swaying, hand clapping and all.

I attended church service this morning. There are some beautiful spirits here - I must say and I look at people differently now. I'm much less judgmental. What I did was wrong and you reap what you sow. I am now reaping. Yet, while people can make mistakes or get caught up in wrong things -- that doesn't take away the fact that they are still God's children. Worthy of forgiveness. I hope I never looked at the poor, the afflicted, the old, or deprived the same way I used to look at them in the past. As you stand here on a visiting day and observe a group of men waving to their families as they leave after a visit and see tears well up in their eyes -- you feel compassion and love.

Be thankful each day for what you have. Freedom is precious. Hug your children and tell them you love them -- they are truly a gift from God. Share with your husband or wife your love. It's funny how the little things in life are important -- having a home, your own clothing, food of your choice -- all these seem to be taken for granted.

I am thankful for you as my friends. Keep me in your prayers, along with my family. I will keep you in mine. I hope someday I'll be able to share this experience through speaking to others. How important it is to appreciate what we have. Most important is our relationship to each other. Money, cars, houses will all pass away -- we may not have the opportunity to show our love again.

Through this letter, I want to let you know, my love for you!

God bless you, Chuck

Looking back, my experiences placed me on the right track. As I journaled my experiences, I find that my efforts today to share with others, a message of hope and inspiration, was well founded and the path is clear. For more articles or journals feel free to contact or go to

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 or for a free ezine on Ethical Choices contact Chuck at


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