Men and Outcomes vs. Actions
I recently heard a speaker whose point is definitely worth sharing. He said that when it comes to actions and outcomes, you can choose one, but you have to accept the other.
It took a little thought before the full implications really sunk in. You can decide to drive over the speed limit, (an action) but you then accept the possibility that the outcome may be a ticket.
Conversely, you can decide that you will get to the airport on time, (an outcome) and accept that this means speeding. You could also decide that you will not speed (limiting your actions) and simply accept that the outcome may be a later flight.
I know someone who is always making decisions that result in problems. He seems to think that he just finds himself in these situations, but all of his problems trace back to his own decisions.
He was married to a wonderful (but not perfect) woman and now finds himself single after being caught in his second affair. The first one was forgiven, but the second was not. It made me start thinking about the chain of events that had broken up a family.
He explained his infidelity to me. It seems that his wife was not perfect, and the other woman offered the missing ingredients to make his life complete. He didn't feel that he had it all without the attention and excitement that the other woman offered... Yes, it sounded like bull to me, too.
At first I wasn't sure why his situation bothered me so much, but then it matched the point about actions and outcomes. He betrayed someone because having it all was his objective, his priority outcome.
Before it happened to him, he would have told you that an affair was wrong, but he understood how it could happen
His values said that what he did (the action) was wrong, but his values got in the way of his objective (the preferred outcome) and something had to be put in second place. How would it have differed if values (limited actions) had superseded objectives?
Well, for one, he would not have had the affairs. When he realized that he did not have it all in his marriage, and examined his alternatives, he would have been faced with improving his marriage, getting out of the marriage, or accepting less than it all. His value system would have eliminated other options.
In one case, he says, "This is what I believe, so what options does that leave me." In the other case he says, "This is what I want; what values do I have to ignore or explain away in order to get what I want."
Perhaps in our effort to be tolerant and understanding, we have come to accept the unacceptable: people who justify violating their own moral code by telling us that the value system (and the resulting reduction of acceptable actions) stood in the way of their objectives.
Isn't that what a value system is supposed to do?