As we explore the topic of morality and the markets in our spring blog contest, we will highlight John Templeton’s favorite “Laws of Life” as referenced in The Templeton Plan in our next few posts.
The world operates on spiritual principles, just as it does on the laws of physics and gravity. These principles, or laws, are as important for our welfare as stopping for a red light at a busy intersection. Our inner life is saved or lost to the extent that we obey or disobey the laws of life.
Truthfulness is a law of life. In the farming community where John Templeton grew up, there was a general saying that your word was your bond. People of character would never promise something and then go back on their word. A contract between two parties did not have to be put into writing; there was no need for a court or a judge to enforce it. Civilization, as it was then perceived by many, was a place where the handshake was sacred.
Reliability is a law of life. The shopkeeper or professional who prospers today is the one whose word you can depend on. If he says he will have a certain product available for you Tuesday afternoon, he will have it Tuesday afternoon. If she tells you the product is genuine leather, you can rest assured that genuine leather is what you’ll get.
Faithfulness is a law of life. You expect people not to cheat you or put themselves ahead of you. Faithfulness means that they will be faithful to their trust. You can rely on them not to cut corners or try to deceive you.
Perseverance is a law of life. You will always give your business and your trust to someone who will see a project through even if difficulties arise—and they usually do. In everything we do, there are problems to solve, and the person who gives up or turns to an easier task is not the kind of person who will find success.
Thirty-six years ago, John Templeton helped to found the Young Presidents’ Organization, a worldwide club. Each of the thousands of members, though they come from a wide range of cultural and economic backgrounds, before age forty became president of a company employing over a hundred people. What do these men and women have in common? “Perseverance,” Templeton explains. “When they undertake to accomplish something, they accomplish it. The program may change along the way, but they don’t give up.”