I’m working on the song “Modern Slavery,” about a dystopian world, and it’s got me thinking about the slippery slope of compromise.
Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere – Martin Luther King Jr.
I’ve had many a late-night, philosophical discussion on whether things can be black and white or if everything has a gray area. I believe there are both. For instance, if you stand in front of an oncoming train, you’re going to be dead if you don’t move—black and white. If you think Bob Dylan is the greatest songwriter that ever lived and I say it’s Tom Waits, perhaps there’s some gray there (of course, I’m right though).
Values are basic, fundamental beliefs that make you who you are (not stealing, treating people with kindness, working hard, etc.). Your values fit into the black and white category, your preferences into the gray. It doesn’t mean your values can’t change—they can and will as you grow and learn. But whatever your values are, you should never compromise on them. It’s not about being right, it’s about being truthful (to others as well as to yourself). If you believe something, then put your actions where your heart is. If you don’t, you’re a liar.
Compromising on values is like poking a hole a ship; it may be a small hole, but it’s going to sink the boat. If you don’t hold strong to your values, you’re admitting to yourself they don’t have to be followed (and if that’s true, maybe you should take another good look at them). If you don’t hold yourself to your own values, you’ll never be able to expect any better of anyone else. And we end up in a sea of sinking ships.
So when it comes to values, never compromise. Hold yourself to yourself. Does this make you stubborn? Yep. Stubborn and floating on it.
What values will you never compromise on? Share your thoughts in the comments below (or e-mail me directly if you’d rather share in private).