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Choosing Integrity Over Dishonest Success: A Holy Week Reflection

Happy Easter Loves!

This Lenten season has been reflective for me; I spent it at home with my children, telling them stories about past holidays. I hope they understand the essence of love and sacrifice, which is the heart of Lent. It was not as strict as my childhood traditions, but it felt significant nonetheless.

Reflection was not just for my kids. Without my usual film retreats, I reflected on life’s lessons—insights that will help me make future business and career decisions.

And in those quiet moments, a question arose, one that humanity frequently considers despite knowing the answer: What is success? What is success to you?

In my bare mind, it says: it depends on the person and what is important to him. 

But what does it mean for you? 

Personally, I see it as a mirror that we hold up in moments of victory and adversity to determine the true extent of our achievements.

And success is a subjective concept, a very personal measure that is influenced by our values and ambitions.

For some, success means reaching career milestones or achieving financial stability, whereas, for others, it means personal development, contentment, or having a positive impact on others.

Consider career success to be the process of creating a masterpiece by honing your skills and leaving your mark on the world. The true reward lies in your enthusiasm for your work, the celebration of your accomplishments, and the pursuit of your highest potential, regardless of your field.

Financial success, on the other hand, is the result of your hard work—it is more than just accumulating wealth; it is achieving the freedom to pursue your dreams without constraints. It is about transforming hard work into the lifestyle you want.

However, at the end of the day, the essence of success is a balance between professional accomplishments, and personal fulfilment. It is not just about reaching new heights; it is also about the experiences and growth you gain along the way, about cultivating relationships, enjoying life’s journey, and leaving a legacy that goes beyond financial rewards- honesty in all dealings.

In pursuit of success in career or money, a shortcut may seem appealing or tempting, but if wealth or career is built on dishonesty is as fragile as a house of card in a storm.

These I learned from the movie I watched online, entitled “The Billionaire Boys Club” it is a movie that shows a captivating story about ambition, betrayal, and the game of power.

Joe Hunt and Dean Karny, driven by their desire for success and recognition, are charismatic young men with big dreams and even bigger egos. Collaboratively, they establish an exclusive investment group, alluring affluent young men to join by promising unimaginable riches and a lifestyle beyond their wildest dreams. 

Their empire grows as a result of desire and the promise of infinite wealth, but their strategy eventually results in terrible financial losses for those involved due to internal disputes that erupt as dubious actions and power struggles arise. Greed, jealousy, and ruthless ambition threaten to tear apart their friendship and ambition.

Despite the rising internal conflict, they continue to live in glamour without any resolution to existing issues. As a result, a web of deception and treachery grows, culminating in a surprising and sad ending. 

In the end, “The Billionaire Boys Club” is a cautionary tale about the temptation of wealth and the dangerous consequences of unchecked ambition—may led to a pursuit of power and riches, but it can come at a steep price.

There are lines in the movie that I would like to share while I still remember and may be will be retained in my memory for awhile.

Joes Father: “Joe, it’s been my experience that if you’re honest in your business, things don’t happen this fast.”

Joe: “It all got away from me. All these little choices. Not even my choices…”

Joe: “I am asking you to save me.”

Too sad to have an ending like that, and too painful to learn a lesson. It all comes down to making good choices. We can not escape the monsters we created. And, as my parents used to say, “your lies and deception will catch up with you.” It will… take, for example, one of the sensational copyright issues on social media involving a Filipino social media artist who allegedly copied melodies for her songs without prior permission from the original creators, putting her integrity into question. Some said it was not her decision to use the said melodies; and yes, she may have gained a large number of followers after that scandal, but this will leave an impression on her identity. 

Little decisions that were not entirely your own, but which you entertained, will be yours alone. However, this does not mean that we cannot change things for the better; all we need to do is instill honesty and goodness in our hearts the next time we have the opportunity.

It is alright to struggle at one point, but what matters is that you continue to pursue your dreams. What makes you appreciate success is the hard work that builds the groundwork for your new life.

And this gives me an opportunity to leave you with this:

“Fortune built on deceit is but a fleeting shadow; it gathers fast and dissipates like mist, leaving naught but the truth in its wake.”


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