Dave Lukas - Lessons for Hannah
355: Lessons For Hannah - The 7 Deadly Sins
Hello Misfit Nation! Welcome to another edition of "Lessons for Hannah!"
Many years ago, I introduced a new format that alongside our regular episodes called “Lessons for Hannah.” Hannah is my daughter and one of the main inspirations for the Misfit Entrepreneur. I wanted to have a place where she could go and learn from her daddy and his Misfit friends throughout her life….even after I am gone. If you haven’t listened to the first episode of "Lessons for Hannah," I urge you to as it gives some more background and tells the amazing story of how Hannah came to be in our lives.
Lessons for Hannah are short, very useful, and sometimes comical lessons, that I want to share with you and give to Hannah to help in your lives. Because I want Hannah to have these for her life, I’m going to speak as though I am talking directly to her. These episodes are a lot of fun and if you think there is a lesson that we should include in these episodes, please don’t hesitate to send it over to us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We’d love to share it.
This week’s Lesson for Hannah
I want to talk to you about the 7 deadly sins. You may have heard your mother or I mention this topic or a specific sin before. Why is it important to understand the 7 deadly sins? Because we all fall prey to them in our lives at some point. By understanding and being able to recognize when they are taking hold of us, we can be better prepared and be in a position to stop ourselves or at least, if we go down the path of one, recognize that we are and turn things around.
As humans, we are flawed, and we will commit these sins throughout our lives. What is most important is to correct the wrongs when we do and learn and work to better ourselves so as not to commit them in that same way again. And when we do commit one of them, we must also admit it, ask for forgiveness, and genuinely strive to improve.
The 7 deadly sins are as follows:
Pride is one we encounter a lot in our lives. I have been guilty of this sin throughout my life. It is hard to be truly humble and not tout yourself or when successful, not feel like you are in total control and better than others in areas. And pride is a stealthy sin, because even a little too much of it can get you into trouble. For example, a very successful person who flaunts their wealth and talks about it openly with pride may become a target for criminals. They may also create unnecessary enemies in life and business they did not have to when if they just allowed their success to stand on its own and approached life humbly and with sincere kindness. Pride is a sin that we constantly must keep on the lookout for and keep at bay as much as we can. Our society with social media and the constant push to stand out pretty much forces it on people. Don’t fall for this trick. But, when we do commit the sin, we must quickly realize it and work to rectify things as best as possible.
Envy is another one that is very prevalent in society today. Many leaders/politicians find it very expedient and helpful for them to create turmoil by pitting people against each other by class, race, wealth, gender, and on and on. They create envy and resentfulness within groups by telling them that one group is keeping them down or holding them back or that a group doesn’t have what they want because another group has it and is keeping it from them. While there may be isolated instances that could be found to prove one of these points, those are the 1%, not the 99%. The overwhelming majority of people have all the same opportunity and possibility in their lives. And if we realize that the power truly lies in each of us to make the most of our lives and not in some group or collective, the better life will be. God created us to be unique and make an impact on the world, not to be told our value or worth by some group or politician. Thus, we must recognize envy in our lives and decide if it is truly warranted. Should we really hate or resent someone because they have what we don’t? Or should we instead recognize the fact that if they could reach those levels that we are jealous of or have the things we want, that we have the capability to do so as well. Instead of putting energy into envy, put it into reaching your potential and tune out all the noise. Never let someone or something, other than God, dictate your potential, value, or worth.
Next is wrath. The definition of wrath is a strong vengeful anger or indignation. We all get angry and will do so throughout our entire lives. Wrath is when we take that anger to a whole new level and use it to extract vengeance or get even. It is one thing to get angry, it is another to act on it. And when we act on it, we usually make things much worse and create more problems. Again, I’m no saint in this area either. I’ve gotten angry and acted on it many times in my life. Sometimes I’ve done that with you as you’ve grown up and just about every time I do, I feel terrible afterward and most of the time, it doesn’t resolve the issue. There is a great story of Abraham Lincoln where he was so angry with one of his generals after that Battle of Gettysburg because they neglected to pursue General Lee and end the war. He wrote a scathing letter firing the general, but he never sent it. It was found in his desk. That general went on to be instrumental in winning the war. We can all learn from Lincoln in that we must recognize our anger and not shy away from it, but not act with wrath or impulse. This is something I’ve spent a lot more time working on as I’ve gotten older.
Gluttony is often thought of when it comes to excessive indulgence in eating or drinking. But gluttony is overindulgence in really anything. The lesson of this sin is to find harmony and balance. When we get out of harmony or balance in our lives or stray too far in a direction, it will cause problems for us. I’ve had many times in my life where this sin has gotten the best of me in the traditional way of food and drink, but also in work and play. I’ve had to develop rules and systems in my life that help me to keep my balance and harmony and staying disciplined to these rules and systems helps me tremendously. It also helps to know when I may be straying too far in one direction or another, so I can correct. Hannah beware of gluttony and overindulging in things in life. As they say, everything in moderation. This is very hard to do, but well worth the effort.
The next sin is Lust. The definition of lust is intense or unbridled desire. When most hear this, they think of sins of the flesh, but you can “lust” after anything. You can lust after money, power, and a great many things. As with gluttony, we have to find balance and harmony and not allow ourselves to go too far in lusting for things. Instead, we must recognize when are going too far and stop ourselves. I admit, this is not easy to do – especially in the moment. If you feel as though you are becoming obsessed with something and willing to violate what you know is right and/or know is wrong to get it, that is sign that you are on the path of lust.
Sloth is a deadly sin that has become more pervasive in my lifetime. Sloth is laziness or the disinclination toward action or labor. Work is a great thing. It gives purpose. It produces results. It challenges us and helps us to improve ourselves. To me, sloth is when a capable person decides to not use the gifts given to them, their mind and body, to be productive and instead leach off of others and create a false dependency. As you go through life, you will meet people that confound you. People that are smart and perfectly capable that for whatever reason, waste their talents and their potential and live a life of sloth. It is a choice for them and the wrong choice. Sloth destroys human potential and creates a ripple affect on those surrounding it. This does not mean there is not a place for relaxing and leisure. But these things are earned through hard and smart work. If we don’t do the work to earn the right to enjoy the finer, leisure things in life like nice vacations and a solid retirement, then the ability to do and have these things won’t last. This may be why the average lottery winner goes broke in 5 years. People can get away with being slothful for a period of time, but eventually their actions and choices will catch up with them causing greater challenges. Instead, we must choose to work, work smart and hard, and work on the right things/vehicles to help deliver the life we want and give us the ability to enjoy it. We must also be careful not to work for work’s sake which is why I say we must work in and on the right vehicles to deliver the life we want. In doing so, we become the best versions of ourselves and can be our best to those around us.
The last of the 7 deadly sins and really a sin that weaves through all the others is greed. Greed leads to being prideful. It causes us to envy others. It causes us to have wrath and lash out when we don’t get what we want. Greed causes us to overindulge and be gluttonous. It causes us to lust after things – many times things we don’t need. Greed can create sloth in that it makes people cut corners or cheat or break the rules of society instead of doing the work needed to get what we want. Greed drives humans to do awful, evil things. And make no mistake, there is a difference between setting a goal for something great and working hard and smart to get it vs. being greedy and achieving it by any means necessary. Greed is the opposite of being humble and having virtue.
Hannah, of all the sins, this one may be the hardest to keep out of our lives. We live in a time and society where everything is available, almost at a moment’s notice. We can order something online and have it at our house same day. This is a blessing and curse because our society is designed around wants and greed. Marketing, advertising, social media, regular media, etc. is all working to condition us to want everything and want it now – even if we don’t need it. It is very tough to balance the pressures of society with the things that truly matter.
It is critical that we take the time to know ourselves and what we stand for, our principles and learn to recognize when these sins creep into our lives. We will commit them. But the important thing is not that we commit them, but how we move forward when we do, learning from those instances and bettering ourselves as well as asking for forgiveness. And above all, learning to recognize when we fall prey to the 7 deadly sins in our lives and stopping them as early as we can.
I love you,