Yet when I read the news that 11 of his former teammates testified against him and contradicted his repeated denials about cheating, it made me sad . . . and reflective.
(Before I go any further, there is no doubt that his battle against cancer was courageous and that he brought a greater awareness of cancer and hope to those who are fighting it. For that he should be commended.)
So why did he cheat? Perhaps the question is, why do any of us cheat? Is "succeeding" at something that important to us?
So people lie in an interview to impress the boss. Others "fudge" items on their resume; claiming degrees, certifications or experiences they don't really have as their own. We mislead a customer knowing that what they're buying won't really meet their needs, but justifying it by saying "I need to meet my goal." We treat employees like cattle so that we can save an extra buck or two.
But what if succeeding isn't always about just winning . . . especially at any cost? Before I go any further, I'll be the first to say that winning is important. As a business owner I strive everyday to shine brighter than my competitors. As a sports fan I'm happier when my team scores more points than the other guys. I know that few people really remember who lost the Super Bowl five years later.
But perhaps there is another dimension to winning that we need to consider:
- What if we also thought of winning as simply being the people we were created to be?
- What if winning also meant that we did our best with the gifts that God blessed us with?
- What if winning also meant that we lived our lives with character, passion, integrity and with a servant's heart?
- What if we thought of success not so much about what we get, but about who we are and who we are becoming?
We all know how it feels when we've received praise or accolades for something we don't deserve. The world may be singing our praises but deep inside we know when we're being frauds, don't we?
The great news is we don't have to be frauds! All we have to be is ourselves. Your story is good enough. You don't need to fake it!
How do you overcome the temptation to cheat?