How Much Do You Want It To Be?

Our words for the week are from Michael Josephson of Character Counts.

The founder of a company needed to choose his successor. He studied resumes and talked to references, but he decided to ask only one question during the final interview: “How much is 2 + 2?”

Ann, the first candidate, worried there was a trick, but she answered straightforwardly. “There’s only one correct answer: four.”

Terry, who had an engineering background, was more creative. “Depending on whether you’re dealing with positive or negative numbers,” he said, “the answer could be plus four, zero, or minus four.”

Chuck, the last candidate, looked the founder in the eye and whispered, “How much do you want it to be?”

While Ann and Terry took different approaches, their intention was to give an honest answer. Chuck, on the other hand, wanted the founder to know he was willing to say or do whatever it takes to succeed. Some employers may find this combination of creativity and moral flexibility highly attractive.

I’d show him the door.

You see, Chuck is a manipulator and rationalizer, and they don’t make good employees. They search for excuses rather than solutions. They’re more concerned with looking good than doing it right.

People like Chuck, who are adept at inventing justifications that sound good but aren’t true, are simply clever liars. Eventually they’ll be found out. Remember, an employee who will lie for you will lie to you.

Without conscience there’s no credibility; without credibility there’s no trust; and without trust there’s no future.

This is Michael Josephson reminding you that character counts.

© 2009 Josephson Institute of Ethics. Josephson, one of the nation’s leading ethicists, is the founder of the Josephson Institute of Ethics and the premier youth character education program, CHARACTER COUNTS! For further information visit

THOUGHT TO REMEMBER: Success doesn’t depend on your past or current circumstances. Success depends on your willingness to do what’s required to become successful, and the day you act on that willingness is your first step toward success. — Joachim de Posada


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About wisdomfromafather

I'm just an ordinary guy walking along the journey of life.
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2 Responses to How Much Do You Want It To Be?

  1. Bruce R. Matthew says:

    I wholeheartedly agree. Perhaps I’m old fashioned in some ways, but I believe honesty is the best policy. I cannot stand someone who attempts to manipulate me, or lies to me. I would “show them the door”. also.



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