Column: What lack of boundaries leads to in society

Jim Roher
Posted 8/23/22

I am the current speaker chair for my Rotary club. I try hard to get exceptional speakers who our members will want to hear. Good attendance results from having worthwhile speakers.

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Column: What lack of boundaries leads to in society

Posted

I am the current speaker chair for my Rotary club. I try hard to get exceptional speakers who our members will want to hear. Good attendance results from having worthwhile speakers. We don’t do politics and we avoid those who are trying to sell us something, so that narrows the field.

Recently I thought it would be interesting to have a practicing psychiatrist tell us why we have such widespread mental illness and what we might do to address it. The psychiatrist who accepted our invitation told us that what is behind the rise in mental health issues is the lack of boundaries in our lives. He explained that the lack of boundaries leads to a high level of mental-health problems among our citizens.

I am not a mental-health expert, but it makes sense that as we operate without boundaries and rules to guide us, we know deep down that this approach is dangerous. Like driving normal speeds on an icy road, a little voice is telling us to slow down.

Our expert speaker further pointed out that a world without rules results in a lack of focus on character. He defined character as decision-making that puts acting ethically above acting in one’s self-interest. He proposes that we all need a set of rules to guide us towards doing what’s right verses what’s easy.

I have been thinking about boundaries that were once there but are long gone. Here are a few: the influence of churches and parents, the lessons we received serving in the military, and strong policies and rules at work. It seems we live in an “anything goes” world. We have legalized substances and practices because we want the tax revenue, not because they are good for us. Even our laws seem to be subjectively enforced.

I kept listening to our speaker hoping he would share the one thing that would install some new guardrails. That didn’t happen. There is no magic solution, no medicine we can take. He suggested that society will not provide the solution to improve our mental well-being. He referred to the Rotary Four-Way Test hanging on the wall, suggesting that it may be the answer we are seeking. Here is that Four-Way Test:

In all the things we think say and do:

Is it the truth?

Is it fair to all concerned?

Will it build good will and better friendships?

Will it be beneficial to all concerned?

It’s a tough standard by which to live, but by striving to reach such standards, according to our expert, America can improve its mental-health. 

Jim Rohrer of Evergreen is a business consultant and author of the books “Improve Your Bottom Line … Develop MVPs Today” and “Never Lose Your Job … Become a More Valuable Player.” Jim’s belief is that common sense is becoming less common. More about Jim at www.theloyaltypartners.com.

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