Winners Never Cheat

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Jon M. Huntsman is founder and chairman of Huntsman Corporation. His foundation supports the Huntsman Cancer Institute. His book Winners Never Cheat: Even in Difficult Times is structured around old-school aphorisms (“Play by the Rules”; “Check Your Moral Compass”) from which Huntsman draws an informal moral code.

Winners Never Cheat is Huntsman’s explanation of the principles at the heart of his business success. They include:

  • Compete fiercely and fairly — but no cutting in line
  • Set the example — risk, responsibility, reliability
  • Revenge is unproductive: Learn to move on
  • Operate businesses and organizations as if they are family-owned.

Huntsman also stresses, among other principles, the importance of surrounding oneself with associates who listen to their conscience and act accordingly; of treating customers, colleagues, employees and competitors with respect; and of returning favors and good fortune by helping out those less fortunate.

There are no moral shortcuts in the game of business — or life. There are, basically, three kinds of people: the unsuccessful, the temporarily successful, and those who become and remain successful. The difference is character.

Just Enough is Plenty

This post is inspired by the essay, Why the simple life is not just beautiful, it’s necessary, published on Aeon Magazine.

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Detail from Interior with Two Girls by Peter Ilsted, 1904. Photo courtesy Flickr

Apparently, ballpoint pens don’t work in space because of the lack of gravity. It is said that NASA, troubled by this realization, spent many millions of dollars designing a ‘space pen’ that could function in the absence of gravity. The Russians used a pencil.

Whether or not this story is true, it raises interesting questions about how technology is used in modern society. Are we, like NASA, complicating life and wasting money on superfluous technology?

To what extent could we, like the Russians, find much ‘simpler’ solutions to the problems we face?

What role should technology play in living the simple life? In the 21st century, are there times when our lives could be improved by using less technology, not more? Or by using technology smarter?

My love/hate with technology is around communications. I love my computer/internet connection and have acquiesced to having a mobile phone, but the trick is not feeling like you have to be available 24 hours a day to people. They’re just tools, not the master you’re enslaved to.

To be sure, there is no ‘rule’ to follow, as such, that can tell us when technology is appropriate and when it is not. There is much, much more to say on the question of technology in future posts. But for now I will  close this post with following comment:

The simple life is not just beautiful, it’s necessary. Technology can play an integral role to simplify our lives.

Life is about choices. Making the choice to live life in a simpler way is something that is becoming a necessity.