“Sometimes, in order to follow our moral compass and/or our hearts, we have to make unpopular decisions or stand up for what we believe in.”
Think about a time when you made an unpopular decision or stood up for what you believed in. Have you ever been asked to give this scenario during your job interview or been a part of one that even asked the interviewee this question? I know I have been on both sides of this and to be honest it was a challenging question to answer. Not so much because I didn’t have an example to give but rather my fear of what sharing about a time where I, being such the rule follower, decided to color outside the lines so to speak and forge my own pathway in making a decision that in my heart felt like it was the best decision for either myself or others.
There will be times that we will all make unpopular decisions but it is important to keep in mind is that as long as we are able to justify to others and ourselves “the why” behind the decision we made it will provide the much needed clarity desired. Decisions overall, popular or unpopular are made with not only our heads but also with our hearts or otherwise known as our moral compass.
Let’s look at a few examples of some tough and unpopular decisions that led to good results by letting their moral compass be their guide. When Abraham Lincoln first became president he was immediately faced with the Secession Crisis where South Carolina demanded that Union troops be removed from Fort Sumter. He had a choice of withdrawing those troops like he was requested or leave them there and decide not to attack and resupply the forces there? He chose the latter which caused the South the fire the first shots of the Civil War. This made the Union look like the victim of the attacks and not as an aggressor which rallied popular support to fight back. This is just one example of how Lincoln led with his heart, not just his mind.
Another example occurred during World War I, a war that US President Woodrow Wilson tried to avoid. He had recently used that as his campaign slogan of keeping the United States out of war. However when they stumbled upon the Zimmerman telegram between the Germans and Mexico about Germany offering to help Mexico recapture the Southwestern United States, Wilson decided in the best interest of maintaining to go back on his word and had the United States join the fight in helping to maintaining to world of democracy. It resulted in victory for the United States and the rest of the Allied Powers.
One final example was seen in the infamous Cuban Missile Crisis when President John F. Kennedy was faced with deciding whether or not to enter into a nuclear war with the Soviet Union when missiles were discovered to be found Cuba which was in close range of the United States. Despite congressional pressure to attack, Kennedy decided to have the United States set up a blockade around Cuba and through private negotiations averted a possible third world war.
Although these are examples of high stake decisions that were at first unpopular they resulted in favorable results. Will our unpopular decisions always be high stakes or turn out the way we had hoped? No, not always. As long as we consider all the facts that are before us by weighing the good with the bad and lead with our moral compass and/or heart we can know the decision being made was made with the best intentions in mind. That is all we can expect of ourselves.
What does this quote mean to you and how can you apply today’s message towards defining/refining your own moral compass?