Nov 15, 2008
We are warned more and more about the threat of identify theft. However, the greater identify theft is our cultural DNA; it’s not someone taking your wallet and using your credit cards—that’s very superficial.
It’s about the profound identity threat that comes from people being raised in a comparison-based culture, so they focus more on secondary greatness, to become rich and famous, rather than primary greatness, which deals with character and contribution. This switch to secondary greatness is alluring and occurs throughout cultures of the world—secondary greatness has replaced primary greatness, and, as a result, trust has deteriorated, confidence has gone down, and we’re living with its consequences, as evidenced by the global financial crisis.
So it’s a healthy thing to be humbled by this or any other crisis, to realize that we have to take an inside-out approach in learning to be humble, to focus on integrity and character and on making a contribution, to serve other people, and serve worthwhile causes. How is the crisis affecting you? Are you focusing your efforts on strengthening your primary greatness—your character and ability for contribution? Set a goal to make a difference for someone else at work, at home, in your neighborhood, or community. The more you focus on serving others, the more authentic you will feel; your character strength will grow, you will be build trust, and you will build your worth based on principles versus on the need to gratify our cultural values, which often center on instant gratification and becoming an enviable figure in public. This will help to prevent your identify theft and help you resist your negative cultural DNA.