We are all born with a clean slate. Our brain is a blank paper, which starts filling up quite quickly with the squiggles of growing up. Come our teenage years and young adulthood, and we are so full of zest and noble intentions. We are flexible in our ways, we are giving, we are forgiving...... absolutely idealistic !
And then 'Life' happens..........
We all start bending our principles and ideals a bit, to compromise and adjust to the realities of life. We try to paint ourselves in colors that our peers will like, not realizing that sometimes our own natural hue is all we need to impress others. Social pressures probe us at different times to do or say things our core values don't agree with. But as a result of these pressures, sometimes we give in. But before folks will do something that obviously is not aligned to their character, there is a lot of rationalizing, a plenty of "just this time", and some "I'll make up for this later." But once principles are bounced like a Yo-Yo, it's never "just this time" and the damage to one's image can be hard to make up.
You know why we really bounce our principles and ideals like a Yo-Yo? Its because all of us (or at least most of us) believe that 'wrongs' are not really 'wrongs' if performed by honest, upstanding individuals like ourselves!
But to be fair, most of us, will stick to our principles and do the right thing, most of the time! Life functions at the level of actions, not intentions. Our religion is what we do after the sermon is over. We are all experts at practicing virtues in our living rooms, at meetings, at conventions-- all from a safe distance, but the real test is, as they say -- "Walking the talk!" In the final analysis, we are judged by our deeds, rather than thoughts.
"The best way to succeed in life is to act on the advice we give to others!" ~ author unknown