Few things in life are black and white. That’s why we have to learn to Grapple with the Gray.
This episode's ethics challenge:
A noted psychologist had just finished his address to a group of professionals when a member of the audience approached him and introduced himself. The psychologist immediately recognized the name. Before him stood a world-famous doctor, once featured on the cover of Time Magazine, whose medical innovations had transformed treatments and revolutionized curative procedures.
The esteemed doctor proceeded to confess that he had suffered his entire life from depression. As a boy, he loved to draw, and he had possessed a natural talent for artistic design. Growing up, he dreamt of one day becoming a successful architect.
But his parents had other ideas. “Architecture?” they asked. “No. You need to use your intelligence to support a family. You are going to medical school.”
And so he did, with almost unparalleled success. Nonetheless, despite his extraordinary contributions to medicine, the doctor felt unfulfilled in life for not having pursued his passion.
Sometime later, the psychologist lamented the insistence of the doctor’s parents, how they had deprived him of the life he had wanted and the sense of purpose that he had never realized. When he finished, the psychologist found himself confronted by several doctors from the audience.
“We know who you were talking about,” they said. “Do you have any idea how many lives were saved through his procedures and inventions? How dare you suggest that his own personal gratification outweighs the contribution he made to the world and the people he benefited.”
The psychologist later expressed his ambivalence. Were those other doctors right? Was the cost of personal satisfaction outweighed by the value to society? He admitted that he did not have an answer himself.
Meet this week’s panelists:
Kimberly Davis is an author, TEDx speaker, and founder of the Brave Leadership University, leading development programs world-wide, around authentic leadership, purpose, presence, and influence.
Lieutenant Colonel JC Glick, LTC (R), U.S. Army, MA Glick is a retired Army Ranger. He is a leadership, strategy, and culture advisor, as well as an author and TEDx speaker.
Stewart McClain is a speaker, author, and president of All Hoods Unite, providing mentoring, mental health support, and advocacy for the homeless.