Just this once: The trap of marginal thinking

Column-Dr Anthony Leachon photoPreventive Health Education

By Anthony C. Leachon, MD

MOST of us think that the important ethical decisions in our lives will be delivered with a blinking red neon sign:

Caution: important decision ahead.

Never mind how busy we are or what the consequences might be. Almost everyone is confident that in those moments of truths, one will do the right thing. After all, how many people do you know who believe they do not have integrity?

The problem is, life seldom works that way. It comes with no warning signs. Instead, most of us will face a series of small, everyday decisions that rarely seem like they have high stakes ahead. But over time, they can play out far more, more dramatically.

It happens exactly the same way in our government and in our organizations. They are seemingly harmless decisions that were made before that led down that path.

We have no way of knowing that’s where it was going to end, but as soon as we take the first step, there’s no longer a boundary where it suddenly makes sense to turn around. This is the peril of marginal thinking, of doing just this once. The costs of taking the high road are always like that.

Preventive Health Education

There’s no way VP Binay, SC Justice Corona, Sen. Revilla, Jinggoy, or JPE or any decent public official or a professional in the private sector could have imagined that one small mistake would result in losing everything they value in life – happiness, freedom, honor, and career.

But that’s exactly what is unfolding now.

– Thoughts from the Book “How Will You Measure Your Life” by Clayton M. Christensen (2012)

Vital Signs Issue 71 Vol. 4, January 1-31 2015