Recently in my business, I was asked to compromise my values to save a client some money. Of course, I couldn’t do that.
As much as I wanted to help her out,
and make her happy,
and as much as I dislike the third party involved, I would not compromise my principles for her friendship. I had made that decision long before she asked. My team all knew the answer, if they were asked, they would know what I would say as well.
After this experience, I was reminded of a book I first read in fourth grade.
You may have heard of the book The Hobbit, written 70 years ago by J.R.R. Tolkien. I remember being swept away by the imagination of the author, and it made such an impact that I went back to read it again.
The story I want to share is a short scene from the end:
Bilbo, the main character, and his friends reclaim a large treasure that had been stolen from them. But Bilbo finds himself in a difficult position with his friends and their king, Thorin. The king is searching for a very valuable gem, and Bilbo finds it. The king is also planning on going to go to war with his neighbors, because he is so enamored with the rest of the treasure and wants to protect it.
Bilbo risks his life, runs away from his friends and gives the neighbors the gem to prevent a war.
Thorin is angry, threatens him, and disavows his friendship with Bilbo, to whom he owed his life many times over.
Bilbo demonstrated courage and was true to his principles, even though he knew he would lose a friend.
When facing a difficult moral decision, I try to be like Bilbo,
by doing what is right: Even if it is not the most convenient.
When have your principles been tried? Have you ever been forced to choose between a friend and your values?